Penticton native Tyrell Buckley has forced a Game 7 against the Vees.
The Merritt Centennials defenceman beat Vees goalie Mat Robson with a shot at 10:23 of overtime. That sets up a deciding game in the BCHL’s Interior Division semifinal at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Monday at 7 p.m. The goal is Buckley’s second of the playoffs, which earned him the first star.
“It was a good playoff game,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “I thought both teams played real well. We had chances to win it at the end of the third. Had a great chance in overtime and we missed the net. They end up getting their chance and they score. It’s a game of inches right now. They’re a very good hockey team.”
Robson, the games third star, finished with 50 saves, including 24 on 25 shots in the opening frame.
For a second straight game, the Centennials opened the scoring when Zachary Zorn scored with 2:27 remaining. Assists went to Nick Fidanza and Cade Gleekel. The Vees were outshot 25-16 in that period. The Vees evened the score near the midway mark of the second with Matt Gosiewski’s first of the post season. Chris Klack and Jamie Armstrong set him up. Klack has collected a point in every game this series.
The Vees outshot the Centennials in the second and third period 25-17. Berger earned the second star with a 47-save performance.
Harbinson said the series has been back and forth.
“We fought all year to get home ice advantage and now we get one game at home on Monday,” said Harbinson.
The Vees coach feels there isn’t much that needs to be tweaked for Game 7.
“The biggest thing is we’ve had a couple of young guys first year in the league that have made costly mental errors that have ended up in the back of our net,” said Harbinson. “Things that we haven’t done all year. They just have to realize that you can’t get swarmed by the pressure of the situation. We’ve played in so many one-goal games all year, so I was hoping that would help us through those type of moments. We just need to limit our mistakes and when they make their errors, we have to jump on it.”