The Penticton Vees on Friday night erased an early two-goal deficit and rallied for a 6-4 win over the West Kelowna Warriors in Game 1 of the BCHL Interior Conference final.
Wade Murphy led the charge for Penticton with a pair of goals, and 10 Vees hit the scoresheet in the win. Louie Nanne, Sam Mellor and Brad McClure also had two-point nights.
The Warriors jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first three and a half minutes. Danny Gayle opened the scoring at 2:11 when he walked out from the corner and stuffed his own rebound past an outstretched Chad Katunar. Not even a minute and a half later, the Warriors captain Max French doubled the visitors lead.
The Vees regrouped after the Warriors goals and cut the deficit in half on a power-play blast from Wade Murphy. The Vees leading scorer from the regular season bagged his second goal in as many games with a rocket from the top of the left-circle.
The Vees continued to press and found the equalizer late in the frame off some great hustle from Louie Nanne, who poked in a loose puck at 18:35 for his second of the post-season.
The late first-period rally carried over into the second as the Vees scored three straight to take a 5-2 late.
Down three goals in the third period, the Warriors started to push back and were rewarded just past the 8:00 mark when the visitors’ capitalized on a turnover and David Pope fired a shot over the glove of Chad Katunar to cut the deficit to two.
The Warriors pulled within one when French jumped out of the penalty-box, and scored his second of the game on a partial breakaway.
The Vees survived the late game push by the Warriors and Brad McClure sealed the win with his empty-net goal at 19:31.
FINAL SCORE:6-4 VEES
Shots: 29-27 Warriors
Power-Plays: Vees 1-6 Warriors 0-3
Three Stars: 1) Wade Murphy 2) Louie Nanne 3) Max French
The two teams go at it again for Game 2 on Saturday night at the SOEC. Puck drop is 7pm. The Vees are looking to win their sixth straight and fourth in a row on home ice. Tickets are available at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC, or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com