Vees take a commanding lead on Centennials in Interior semifinal

Brad McClure delivers for the Vees downing the Centennials in overtime

Brad McClure’s fifth goal of the playoffs has given the Penticton Vees a 3-0 strangle-hold on the Merritt Centennials.

The Vees captain scored the overtime winner on a setup by Erik Benoit midway through overtime on Friday at the Nicola Valley Arena in Merritt. The victory puts the Vees one win away from clinching the best-of-seven series.

The Vees opened the scoring in Game 3 of the Interior Division semifinal on a goal by Riley Alferd. Sam Johnson of the Centennials tied it at one with just over two minutes remaining in the opening period.

The teams traded goals in the final two periods with Centennials forward Scott Patterson tying the game at four with 41 seconds remaining in the third. Along with McClure and Alferd, Paul Stoykewych scored twice, while Nic Pierog scored the other Vees goal.

Olivier Mantha made 30 saves for the win, while Devin Kero also turned aside 30 shots.

The Centennials were without leading scorer Diego Cuglietta for the third straight game. Defenceman Dane Birks also missed his second game of the series for the Centennials, while Rhett Willcox made his playoff debut.

Game 4 will be in Merritt today at 7:30 p.m.