Penticton Vees claim BCHL crown

Down 0-2 to the Nanaimo Clippers in the BCHL championship, the Vees stormed back with four straight wins to take the title.

Dakota Conroy capped off the Penticton Vees’ series comeback with the Fred Page Cup-clinching overtime winner in a 3-2 road win over the Nanaimo Clippers.

“You’re so excited for your teammates,” said Patrick Sexton, Vees captain, describing the moment. “You fight for six, seven, eight months with these guys just to be able to accomplish this championship. It’s such a great feeling.”

Perhaps tentative owing to what was at stake, the teams were scoreless through 40 minutes.

Dante Fabbro opened the scoring for the Vees at 9:18 of the third but Nanaimo’s Spencer Hewson had an unassisted reply just 14 seconds later.

Riley Alferd had his second goal in as many games to put the Vees up 2-1 but with just 3:22 remaining, Brett Roulson converted a Cole Maier setup and forced the game to overtime.

Just 2:06 into the extra session, Conroy finished an unassisted effort to win the game and the BCHL title for Penticton.

He was able to steal a puck that was caught up in an opponent’s skates and had time and space to make a move on the goalie and score the winner.

“That’s a feeling you can’t really explain,” he said. “I just tried to get in the corner and get my stuff off and hope that I didn’t get mauled by my teammates there.”

The Vees lost the first two games of the series on home ice but won four-straight from there to take the best-of-seven set.

The title is Penticton’s second in four years. In 2012, the Vees set a CJHL record with a 42-game win streak on the way to the BCHL crown and an RBC Cup national title.

This year’s Vees will have to first go to the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup in Ft. McMurray, Alta. April 25 to May 3. That event sees the winners of the four Western CJHL leagues plus the host Ft. McMurray Oil Barons do battle for two berths into the RBC Cup.

The national championship this season is in Portage-la-Prairie, Man. May 9 to 17.