Penticton Vees netminder Michael Garteig turned aside 20 shots to earn a shutout against the Soo Thunderbirds and launch his team into the RBC Cup finals.
The Vees handily defeated the Thunderbirds 3-0 with goals from Wade Murphy, Logan Johnston and Curtis Loik.
Murphy opened scoring in the first period and it wasn’t until the final frame when the Vees took a 2-0 lead with a powerplay marker by Johnston. Loik added an empty net goal with just over a minute left in the game.
The semi-final match up was a rematch of the opening game of the RBC Cup, where the Thunderbirds surprised the Vees with a 2-1 win. On that night Thunderbirds goaltender John Kleinhans made 44 saves. The goaltender had a valiant effort in the semi-final stopping 33 shots.
The Vees now will face the Woodstock Slammers in the RBC Cup finals on Sunday. The Slammers defeated the host Humboldt Broncos 4-3 in an overtime thriller. Ben MacSwain was the overtime hero just 35 seconds into the extra period. They are the first team from the Maritime Hockey League to reach the final.
The Vees first win at the RBC Cup tournament came against the Slammers as Joey Benk tallied the game winner in a 2-1 victory.
This is the first time the Vees have advanced to the RBC Cup final since 1986. The finals will be broadcast at 4:30 p.m. on TSN2 and at the South Okanangan Events Centre. The SOEC is showing the game on their jumbotron, free of charge, with the doors opening at 4 p.m.