TJ Dumonceaux of the Vernon Vipers battles Patrick Sexton of the Penticton Vees along the boards in Game 6 of the BCHL playoff Saturday at Kal Tire Place.

TJ Dumonceaux of the Vernon Vipers battles Patrick Sexton of the Penticton Vees along the boards in Game 6 of the BCHL playoff Saturday at Kal Tire Place.

Vees vanquish Vipers to force Game 7

Penticton upends Vernon 5-1 in Game 6 of BCHL Interior Division final in front of nearly 3,200 fans at Kal Tire Place

For the second straight year, the B.C. Hockey League’s Interior Division final is going to a seventh game in Penticton.

For the second straight year, it’s the Vees who forced a deciding game with a Game 6 win in Vernon over the Vipers.

Third-year forward Cam Amantea scored twice and goalie Hunter Miska stopped 36 of 37 shots as the Vees dumped the Vipers 5-1 Saturday night in front of a sell-out crowd of 3,196 at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place.

The win snapped Vernon’s three-game in-series winning streak, and came 24 hours after the Vipers rallied with two third period goals and scored in double overtime for a 4-3 win in Penticton.

“We needed a desperate game from everybody and everybody gave it their all,” said Amantea, the game’s first star, who will attend the University of Alaska at Anchorage next season.

“For some of us, it’s our last year as juniors and you don’t get a chance to be on a team like this. It’s a  special group of guys and we weren’t ready to say goodbye. We knew we weren’t going to go down without a fight.”

With the game scoreless midway through the first period, Miska made perhaps his best save of the night, stoning Vipers forward Liam Coughlin on a short-handed breakaway attempt, sliding across the crease to stop the puck with his pad.

With Vernon defenceman Ken Citron serving a high sticking minor, Connor Chartier opened the scoring at 18:49, his seventh goal of the playoffs.

Chartier beat a Vernon defenceman on his off wing and fired a wrist shot over Viper goalie Danny Todosychuk’s left shoulder.

Amantea would score his goals in the second period, the first coming 4:05 in on a beautiful set-up from behind the net by linemate Cody DePourcq.

The third would come after the Vees killed off a two-man Vernon powerplay, and Amantea would whip a wrist shot over Todosychuk’s shoulder from nearly the same spot as Chartier at 8:32.

Penticton made it 4-0 on a goal at 14:06, as Dakota Conroy one-timed a pass made by Steen Cooper off a Vernon turnover past Todosychuk, who would finish the night with 25 saves.

Vernon forward TJ Dumonceaux brought the capacity crowd back to life with a backhand shot that fooled Miska at 15:37. Then, off the ensuing faceoff, Miska made consecutive great saves in close on Dumonceaux and forward Thomas Aldworth.

Any hopes of a Vipers third period comeback, similar to Game 5 Friday, were dashed by Patrick Newell, who beat Todosychuk glove-side on a breakaway at 6:29. Newell was sprung by a great defensive effort and pass from former Viper Demico Hannoun.

The Vees were 1-4 on the powerplay, Vernon went 0-3.

“Well obviously tonight wasn’t our best effort,” said Vipers head coach Mark Ferner. “We didn’t have a good start. We kind of stood around and hoped good things were going to happen instead of initiating it.

“Give Penticton credit. Their backs were up against the wall. We won three in a row to give ourselves two opportunities to win it. We dropped the ball here today and our guys have earned the opportunity to play Game 7.”

In 2014, the Vipers went into the South Okanagan Events Centre and erased a 3-1 third period deficit to stun the Vees 4-3 in double overtime in Game 7. Amantea, of course, does not want to see history repeat itself.

“It’s going to be a war,” he smiled. “This whole series has been close every game. Some of the scores have been misleading. Both teams are giving it their all. I think tomorrow (Sunday), you’re going to get the A game from both teams. It’s going to be a pretty fun game.”

Game 7 goes at 6 p.m. Sunday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.