Photo credit: Garrett James Photography
Penticton Vees – 5
West Kelowna Warriors – 4 (OT)
The Penticton Vees are moving on to the second round thanks to late-game heroics from Carson Kosobud and Jackson Niedermayer as they beat the West Kelowna Warriors 5-4 in overtime to take the series in five games.
The Vees defencemen provided much of their offence on this night, starting with first-period goals from Conner Hutchison and Steve Holtz, but the Warriors got one of their own in the opening frame, Carter Wilkie’s second of the postseason, to make it 2-1 after one.
West Kelowna tied things up with an early second-period goal from John Evans and eventually took the lead late in the frame on a Levi Stauber marker that made it 3-2 heading to the third.
Colton Kalezic knotted things up with a shorthanded goal for Penticton before Jake Harrison scored later in the period to regain the lead for the Warriors. That score held up until 1:30 left in regulation when Jackson Niedermayer scored to send it to overtime.
In the extra frame, the winner came from an unlikely source as Kosobud’s wrist shot from the point beat a screened Johnny Derrick to give Penticton the series win. Kosobud had just four goals in the regular season and this was his first-career playoff tally.
With just one outcome left to be determined in the Interior Division, Penticton will play the winner of the Wenatchee Wild and Vernon Vipers series in the second round.
Coquitlam Express – 5
Langley Rivermen – 4
Massimo Rizzo scored twice and Will Margel chipped in with three assists as the Coquitlam Express outlasted the Langley Rivermen 5-4 to complete the first-round series sweep and advance to Round 2. Coquitlam’s Connor Gregga scored the lone first-period goal, before the game broke open in the second with each team scoring three times. It was Sean Bunting, Ryan Helliwell and Tanner Versluis for the Rivermen and Rizzo, Ethan O’Rourke and Steven Bellini for the Express which made it 4-3 Coquitlam after two. Rizzo put Coquitlam up by two midway through the final frame before Helliwell notched his second of the game, but that would be as close as Langley would come. The Express will await the winner of the other Mainland Division semifinal between the Chilliwack Chiefs and the Surrey Eagles.
Cowichan Valley Capitals – 2
Powell River Kings – 1
Matthew Crasa scored the game-winning goal in the third period and Zach Borgiel had by far his best game of the postseason, making 33 saves in a 2-1 victory for the Cowichan Valley Capitals to give them a 3-1 series lead over the Powell River Kings. Michael Abgrall gave Powell River the lead late in the first period, but Austin Chorney tied things up for Cowichan in the second and we were tied at one heading to the third. Crasa got his third of the playoffs under seven minutes into the final frame and that stood up as the winner as the Kings couldn’t solve Borgiel the rest of the way. Derek Krall also put in a solid performance in the Powell River crease, making 26 saves in a losing effort. The Caps have a chance to win the series back at home on Friday night for Game 5.
Vernon Vipers – 6
Wenatchee Wild – 4
Cameron MacDonald had a hat trick and one assist, Dawson Holt had a five-point night and Connor Marritt chipped in with four helpers as the Vernon Vipers beat the Wenatchee Wild 6-4 to put themselves one win away from the second round. Wenatchee got off to a hot start in this one when Quinn Emerson and Noah Lugli put them up 2-0 in the first period, but Connor Sleeth answered before the horn to make it 2-1 Wild. The second period was all Vernon as Holt scored twice before MacDonald got his first of the game and the Vipers went up 4-2 at intermission. Brian Adams’ shorthanded goal brought Wenatchee back to within one, but MacDonald replied shortly after to restore the two-goal advantage. Wild forward Tyler Young made things interesting with a goal in the last minute, but MacDonald sealed the victory and his hat trick with an empty netter seconds later to make it a 6-4 final. Wenatchee will look to stave off elimination at home on Friday night in Game 5.