The Penticton Vees have a stranglehold on the Interior Conference final following a 3-2 double-overtime win against the Merritt Centennials.
The Vees lead the series 3-1 after Wade Murphy scored at 7:05 in the second overtime period when he was setup by Travis St. Denis. The game went sent into extra time when Vees foward Joey Beniik tied the game at two shortly after Brayden Low had given the Centennials a 2-1 lead. Vees forward Steven Fogarty opened the scoring at 13:05 of the second period. Two minutes later, Billy Marshall tied the game with a shorthanded tally. It was just the second shorthanded goal the Vees have allowed all season. Vees goalie Chad Katunar made 39 saves for the win, while Lino Chimienti stopped 42 shots.
Centennials coach Luke Pierce said that Chimienti was outstanding in Game 4.
“He really wanted another shot at them after a lacklustre team effort in game one,” said Pierce to the Merritt Herald.
And as for the controversial calls in that game, Pierce said they don’t matter.
“The Vees’ fans are going to say they were the right calls, and Merritt’s fans are going to say they were the wrong calls,” he added. “That’s just sports. There’s nothing we can do about it.”
For Game 5 today, the Centennials will be counting on Evan Stack, Chad Brears, Billy Marshall and Chimienti, “who are so desperate, who are real, real hungry. With those kinds of players leading the team, I don’t see us just fading away into the background.”
The Centennials will have a lineup change as Tyler Martin replaces Brandon Pfeil.
“He really helped in Game 4, with some good physicality and puck smarts,” said Pierce. “He’ll be on defense [replacing Pfeil] in Game 5.”
Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson wants to see his players continue to keep their feet moving. He felt they were good with their focus and didn’t have lulls.
“We executed well and that starts with moving our feet,” said Harbinson. “I thought we were really solid and had some good road wins.”
Heading into tonight’s game, he expects to see two desperate teams.
“We should be desperate to want to finish,” he said.
In the Coastal Conference, Powell River defeated Surrey 2-1, also in double-overtime. They lead their series 3-1.
For more Vees coverage, check the Penticton Western News online and Wednesday’s paper.