Chilliwack Chiefs reeling against ropes after overtime loss to Vees

The Chilliwack Chiefs trail Penticton 3-1 in the best-of-seven Fred Page Cup final series.

The Chilliwack Chiefs coughed up a three goal lead to the Penticton Vees Wednesday night, falling 4-3 in overtime at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Ryley Risling capped Penticton’s comeback 2:06 into overtime, moving his Vees to within one win of a BCHL championship.

Penticton leads the Fred Page Cup final three games to one heading back to Chilliwack for game five Saturday night at Prospera Centre.

Hard to believe given how this game started.

For the first time in the series the Chiefs opened the scoring.

Though the SOEC shot clock didn’t reflect it, Chilliwack made a point of throwing pucks on net from every angle, a strategy that led to Kale Kane’s goal at 14:32. The Quebec native buried a rebound behind Vees netminder Matthew Robson, capping an effective and eventful period for No. 16.

Kane started the opening frame in the crankiest of moods, taking back to back minors for slashing and boarding. The second penalty helped set up a 59 seconds five-on-three power play for the Vees, but the Chiefs were able to kill it off. They took a 2-0 lead on a PP of their own late in the period.

Kane earned the assist and Connor McCarthy the goal as the big blueliner slammed a blocker side shot past Robson for his second of the playoffs.

Kane’s big night continued early in the second period as he played a role in the third Chilliwack goal. Carver Watson started the play with a shot that created a scramble around the Penticton net. Kane crashed the crease and had two whacks at the rebound. Robson stopped those but when Jordan Kawaguchi waded into the fray the Chiefs captain was able to finally push it across the line.

Penticton got one back off the stick of Grant Cruikshank. Chilliwack’s defenders got caught puck watching and chasing in their own zone. The Chiefs couldn’t clear the puck when they had the chance and seconds later Cruikshank rifled a top shelf shot under the crossbar past goalie Mark Sinclair for his fifth of the playoffs.

That sparked the home team and a power play goal by Taylor Ward got the Vees within one moments later.

With McCarthy in the box for cross-checking, Nicholas Jones made a great pass from the left corner for Ward to bury.

Penticton pressed hard for the equalizer as time ticked down, but Chilliwack escaped to the intermission with the one goal lead.

Shots in period two favoured the Vees 17-6.

Penticton completed the comeback 5:51 into period three.

Speedster Cassidy Bowes scored unassisted with a rocket shot that hit the back crossbar, coming in and out so quick the referees need to talk it over before pointing to center ice.

That sent the game to overtime, but the extra session didn’t last long.

Risling beat Sinclair just 126 seconds in, taking a Ward pass and sniping the puck past the netminder with a blocker-side shot from the slot.

The Chiefs will face elimination for the first time in the 2017 playoffs Saturday night while the Vees try to win their third title in the last six seasons.

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