The Penticton Vees have lived to fight at least another day.
Massimo Rizzo led the charge with two goals and two assists as the Vees won game five of the Interior Division quarterfinals against the Cowichan Valley Capitals 4-1 Saturday night.
A scoreless first period saw the Capitals outshooting the Vees 13-9. The Vees had two power plays in the first but couldn’t generate much towards the net.
A brutal turnover opened the scoring in the second period. Peter Tabor tried to fire the puck across his own zone but put it right onto the stick of Rizzo. Rizzo fired the puck before the goaltender Pierce Diamond could put his mask on to give the Vees a 1-0 lead.
Nearly four minutes later, the Vees were pressuring heavily in the Capitals zone before David Silye fed the puck to Evan McIntyre. McIntyre was skating down the slot before sliding the puck to Rizzo who was nearly on the goal line.
Rizzo dropped down to one knee to fire the one timer past Diamond’s glove hand for his second of the game. The Capitals called their 30-second time out after the goal.
The Vees gave up too many shorthanded opportunities Saturday night, and it eventually cost them. David Melaragni carried the puck into the Vees zone on a two-on-one and beat LaFontaine over the blocker to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Vees would get their lead back before the period was up as the Capitals had a parade to the penalty box with five penalties in the second period. Rizzo skated down the left wing wall off the rush into the Capitals zone and fired a perfect pass to Silye back door for the tap in to make it 3-1 Vees through 40.
Lukas Sillinger showed off some nice hands early in the third as he toe dragged around Dimitri Mikrogiannakis and beat Diamond on the blocker side just 1:04 into the third for the Vees second power-play goal of the night.
No other goals were scored throughout the game, but tensions boiled over as the period wore on. The Capitals took three more penalties in the third, including one for checking from behind that led to Olivier Gauthier and Miller getting tangled up and both being ejected from the game.
In the final minute, Sillinger caught Vincent Millette with a hit as he gained the Vees line and Sillinger was immediately jumped by two Capitals players.
Peter Muzyka came in to defend his teammate, and he and Mikrogiannakis dropped the gloves. Nearly every other player on the ice was wrestling with someone and the clock ran down to zero during the scrums.
The two teams left the ice and the Vees celebrated the win, before the officials brought both teams back and put 19.6 seconds back on the clock. Sillinger was given a five-minute blow to the head major on the play and faces a possible suspension.
With the win the Vees will play at least one more game this season as the travel back to Vancouver Island for game six at the Island Savings Centre Monday night at 7 p.m.
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