Vees secure berth into RBC Cup semifinal round

The Penticton Vees defeated the Carleton Place Canadians to advance to the RBC Cup semifinals

PENTICTON VEES defenceman Miles Gendron fights to clear Bryce Van Horn of the Carleton Place Canadians from Hunter Miska during the RBC Cup national championship. The Vees defeated the Canadians 4-3 on Tuesday.

PENTICTON VEES defenceman Miles Gendron fights to clear Bryce Van Horn of the Carleton Place Canadians from Hunter Miska during the RBC Cup national championship. The Vees defeated the Canadians 4-3 on Tuesday.

Connor Chartier’s tap-in goal lifted the Penticton Vees past the Carleton Place Canadians 4-3 Tuesday afternoon.

With the win, the Vees improve to 2-1 in the RBC Cup national championship in Portage la Prairie, Man., and secured a berth in the semifinal round.

“I thought it was a great, hardworking effort by our group,” said Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson. “Obviously we had a couple of tough goals against us that you don’t usually see. Every time something went wrong, we pushed hard the other direction.”

Despite outshooting the Canadians 11-6 in the opening frame, the Vees trailed 2-1. The Canadians scored the first goals 30 seconds in on a power play as Andy Sturtz beat a screened Hunter Miska. Five minutes later, Cody DePourcq and Dante Fabbro set up Cam Amantea for the equalizer.  It was the first time in the national championship that Canadians goalie Guillaume Therien had surrendered a goal. Five minutes after that goal, the Canadians retook the lead on an Adam Lloyd shot that beat Miska over his shoulder.

Harbinson said that Miska was fine while making 15 saves, but added they need him to be better.

“He’s won enough games for us this year,” said Harbinson. “He’s the MVP of our team and he will be outstanding in our next game, I’m sure of it.”

In the second period the Vees got back on even terms with their first power play goal. With traffic in front,  Therien was beat by Steen Cooper as he fired a shot just inside the post. Dakota Conroy and Mike Lee were credited with assists. Three minutes later, at 7:49, the Vees took their first lead after Matthew Serratore put the puck on goal. Parked in front of the crease, Alferd was able to bury the loose puck. Jack Ramsey also collected an assist.

In the final frame, Chartier’s goal gave the Vees a 4-2 lead as Therien was beat five-hole. Cooper, who finished with two points, said it was a good play by their line to create the chance. Before even getting the puck, Cooper said Conroy was yelling to get ready for the pass. He then spotted Chartier on the opposite side.

Cooper added that their performance showed the character of the group against a good team. He also said getting the win was huge as they chase the top spot in the RBC Cup standings.

“The Canadians are a top team,” he said. “It boosts our morale and gives us confidence.”

The Vees have now won two straight after shutting out the Melfort Mustangs 4-0 on May 10.

The Vees benefitted from the returns of DePourcq and Amantea from injuries. DePourcq said it was exciting to get back in the lineup as he looked forward to returning and helping the team.

“I thought I played well, I just tried to keep things simple,” said DePourcq of his play against Melfort. “I didn’t try to do too much with the puck especially in the first period. As the game went on I started feeling more comfortable and confident.”

Vees notes: Hockey Canada game notes showed that in the 4-0 win over the Melfort Mustangs, Hunter Miska became the first goalie in 77 games, regular season and playoffs, to keep the Mustangs without a goal. Tyson Jost’s goal on May 10 against the Mustangs made him the only player to score in the Telus Cup, World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, World Junior A Challenge and RBC Cup.