The Penticton Vees did something over the weekend no other team has done during the B.C. Hockey League playoffs — defeat the Nanaimo Clippers.
Thanks to a pair of wins against the visiting Clippers on May 13 and 14, Fred Harbinson’s squad is now just two wins away from capturing the Fred Page Cup for the second time in five years.
The Vees and Clippers will play the third game of the championship series on Tuesday (May 17).
A 4-1 victory on Friday, followed by a 3-1 triumph the next night pushed the Vees ahead in the series in front of an electric South Okanagan Events Centre crowd.
“There’s definitely a lot at stake, there’s lots to be grateful for to be in this final and you have to enjoy the moment,” said Harbinson, the Vees president, general manager and head coach, prior to the start of the series.
Over 8,300 people combined to attend the first two games of the Fred Page Cup Finals in Penticton. The series will now shift to Vancouver Island for games three and four.
The Clippers entered the series with a 12-0 playoff record, slightly edging out the Vees’ 12-1 postseason showing prior to Friday night.
Multi-point showings from Luc Wilson on Friday and Beanie Richter on Saturday, however, have put Penticton in a position to return home as champions.
Wins in the series’ third and fourth games this week on the road will clinch the Fred Page Cup Finals for the Vees, discarding the possibility of a fifth game at the SOEC on Friday night (May 20).
“For so many different reasons, it would mean a lot,” Harbinson responded when asked about the importance of winning the title. “(Penticton) cares so much about this team.”
Puck drop for the finals’ third game is slated for 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Game No. 4 will go on Wednesday. A fifth game, in Penticton, will only be played if the Clippers could win one of the two next matchups.