Vees finish off Silverbacks in 4

Ninety-one seconds highlighted the effort and sacrifice of the Penticton Vees in their four-game sweep of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Score-less in the early stages of the first, the Vees killed-off a lengthy Salmon Arm five-on-three, highlighted by great goaltending and blocked shots. The kill seemed to turn the tide in the Vees favour.

Soon after, the Vees scored their own power-play goal, and added three more in the first period, en route to a 5-1 victory in game four of their best-of-seven Interior Division semi-final.

Penticton swept the series four straight.

Unlike the Silverbacks, the Vees were able to convert on their first power-play of the game. James de Haas scored his second of the series after ripping a point-shot over the glove of Adam Clark at 8:45. Brock Balson spun a backhand pass from the corner up top to de Haas who found daylight past Clark.

The game drastically turned in the Vees favour when Alex Gillies was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game-misconduct at 12:36. Gillies stuck his knee out on Cam Amantea in the Vees zone as he was trying to move up ice.

The Vees made the most of the extended power-play, scoring twice to put the game out of reach. 

Ryan Gropp put the Vees up by two at 14:06 when his shot from the slot beat Clark between the legs, Gropp’s first career playoff goal and first in eight games.

Another Vee snapped a lengthy goal-less drought with another power-play goal 2:23 later.

Sean Flanagan found the back of the net at 16:29 when his point shot found its way through traffic and past the Salmon Arm goaltender - Flanagan’s first goal in 19 games dating back to January 18th.

Continuing on the theme of breaking out of scoring slumps, Wade Murphy scored his first in five games inside the final two minutes of the first. Murphy took a sweet dish from Louie Nanne in stride and tapped-in his first of the playoffs at 18:27.

The Vees tacked-on one more in the middle frame as Jedd Soleway scored his second in as many games. Soleway corralled a puck in the circle at centre, broke down the right-wing and squeezed a shot through the arm of Adam Clark on the far-side at 16:48. It was an impressive second period for the Vees, out-shooting Salmon Arm 14-5.

The third period was merely a formality, and the only blemish  was Ryan Schwalbe breaking up Chad Katunar’s shutout bid. Schwalbe had a centering pass go off his leg and pass Katunar at 3:19.

The Vees now await the winner of the other Interior Division semi-final between the West Kelowna Warriors and Merritt Centennials.

The Interior Division final will begin a week from Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

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