For the first time in the 2017 BCHL playoffs the Chilliwack Chiefs trail in a playoff series.
A 5-2 loss to the Penticton Vees Tuesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre has the Chiefs down 2-1 in the best-of-seven Fred Page Cup final.
The Vees scored three in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie, handing Chilliwack its first road loss in nine post-season tries.
Game four will be tomorrow night back in Penticton, with the Interior conference champs looking to take a stranglehold on this series.
For the third straight game the Vees opened the scoring, with two rookies combining on a power play goal at 3:56
Playing in his sixth career BCHL game, 18 year old Cassidy Bowes picked up the assist on a goal by 16 year old Massimo Rizzo, making his seventh junior A appearance.
Steps inside the right point, Bowes fired a shot that hit the stick of a Chilliwack defender. Chiefs goalie Mark Sinclair lost sight of the puck as it rainbowed through the air and landed in his goal-crease. Rizzo found it first, popping it past the netminder on the backhand for his first career goal.
Chilliwack was gifted a glorious chance to tie when back to back minors to set them up with a five-on-three for 54 seconds, but they came up empty on the PP.
Shots were even at 9-9 through 20 minutes.
The Chiefs got another chance with the man advantage 6:44 into the second period and this time they made the Vees pay. With Will Calverley causing all kinds of chaos in front of Penticton goalie Matthew Robson, Jordan Kawaguchi was able to beat him with a shot that may have hit a Vees defender before going in.
Captain K struck again at six minutes later, this time with a shorthanded goal.
Olivier Arseneau started the play with a lead pass to Colin Bernard who was thwarted by Robson on an odd-man rush. Trailing the play, Kawaguchi ended up with the puck in the high slot, rifling a bullet into the top corner for his league-leading 15th of the playoffs.
Grant Cruikshank tied it up with 1:19 to go in the middle frame. Cruikshank led a two-on-one rush with Arseneau the lone Chief back. Arseneau cut off the pass leaving Cruikshank to beat Sinclair with a blocker-side shot.
Penticton brought their A game in the final frame and Gabe Bast collected what would be the game winning goal at 8:58. The Chilliwack line of Cole Poliziani, Ben Fanjoy and Aaron O’Neill were hemmed in their own zone for an entire shift by the Vees forecheck. A turnover eventually found its way to Bast as he pinched down from the point and the high-scoring blueliner was able to beat Sinclair.
Minutes later, another turnover by the Chiefs at their own blueline led to a pretty give-and-go between Taylor Ward and Jared Nash, with Nash finishing for a 4-2 Pencticton lead.
Sinclair came to the bench for the extra attacker with about two minutes remaining, and Chris Klack sealed the deal with an empty net goal.
Game time tomorrow is 7 p.m.