The BCHL finals have come down to a best of three.
The Nanaimo Clippers and the Penticton Vees play Game 5 tonight (April 16) in Penticton, and the series lead is on the line, with each team having won two games apiece.
Tonight’s game is unpredictable after a couple of 2-1 overtime games were followed by an 8-5 barnburner on Tuesday.
“You can’t really guess what a game’s going to be. Sometimes it’s tight checking and sometimes it opens up a little bit…” said Dakota Conroy, Vees forward. “We’ve put ourself in almost every situation throughout these playoffs so I think we’re ready for anything.”
Lots of goals aren’t likely again, with the league’s two all-star netminders, Penticton’s Hunter Miska and Nanaimo’s Guillaume Decelles, tending goal tonight. Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach, said he’s not at all worried about his goalie after the team surrendered seven goals last game.
“He’s played well all playoffs, all year, and [Game 4] wasn’t his best game either, so it all kind of compiled all into one night there,” Vandekamp said. “So he’ll bounce back, no question.”
Devin Brosseau, Clippers alternate captain, said his team needs to play to its defensive system, use its size, strength and speed and play hard-nosed hockey.
“We’ve just got to stick with it and go back in their rink and do what we did a few days ago,” he said.
The road team has won every game in the series so far, so the Clippers won’t be intimidated as they step on the ice at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
“If anything, it gives us confidence that we can win Game 5 in their building; we’ve just won some games there … so that’s the good thing about it,” said Vandekamp.
GAME ON … The Clippers and Vees play tonight at 7 p.m. Game 6 will be Friday at 7 p.m. at Nanaimo’s Frank Crane Arena and Game 7, if necessary, goes Sunday at 6 p.m. back in Penticton.