Summerland’s Michael Betz helped the Penticton Vees avoid being swept from the BCHL playoffs.
Losing 2-1 in Salmon Arm on Friday, the SilverBacks were unable to get rid of the Vees on Saturday night in a 4-3 loss.
Betz, who was a healthy scratch 12 times during the regular season and in four playoff games, scored on the power play at 15:03 of the second when he beat Kris Moore with a rocket up and under the crossbar from just off the goal line.
“Personally for my confidence, it was a really big boost,” said Betz of his winner. “I was mostly just glad to be able to contribute. I was able to give us a three-goal lead. In the end it proved to be a pretty good goal.”
Leading by two within the first 10 minutes of the first period on goals by Garrett Milan and Carter Rigby, the Vees outshot the SilverBacks 13-7. Leading 2-1 in the second period, Rigby fed Joey Holka to give the Vees a 3-1 lead. In the third period, the SilverBacks put pressure on the Vees outshooting them 15-10 and scored twice but couldn’t net the equalizer. Vees goalie Joel Rumpel made 29 saves for his first win in the series.
“We found a way to win and we had great goaltending, which is always needed,” said Vees captain Derik Johnson, who felt Game 4 was their worst of the series. “We kept their top scorer to no points and that’s always helpful but they had other guys in their lineup step up and make big plays.”
Leading the SilverBacks offensively were Brett Knowles, played played physically both games in Penticton, with a goal and an assist along with David Killip. The other SilverBacks goal came courtesy of Dustin Cave. Moore finished with 27 saves on the night.
Game 5 goes tonight at the South Okanagan Events Centre at 7 p.m. Johnson anticipates an intense atmosphere and game and feels the Vees will be ready for the challenge to push the series to a sixth game. For the Vees to do that, Johnson said a good start in the first five minutes are important.
“If we can be physical and play below their circles like we have the rest of the series I think we are going to be in good shape,” said Johnson. “They really can’t handle us down low and if we’re able to do that we’re going to be in pretty good shape after the first period tonight.”
The Vees captain said it was important that they received offence from other players such as Rigby and Betz.
“You need that this time of year,” he said. “You can’t always rely on your top guys to put the puck in the net and those guys stepped up. Guys like Joey Holka and Mike Betz scored big goals for us in that game. We are going to need more of that come tonight.”
Other Vees collecting their first points in the series were McCauley with two assists, Milan, Mark Hall and Joey Laleggia. Logan Johnston leads the Vees with two goals in the series. In Game 4, the Vees power play went 1-for-2, while the Silverbacks were never given one.