Black Press Sports
Vernon’s Jedd Soleway collected the winner as the Penticton Vees shaded the Surrey Eagles 3-2 in Game 4 of the B.C. Hockey League’s Fred Page Cup final Tuesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Soleway’s linemate John Siemer gathered a loose puck in the neutral zone, then squeezed past Drew Best into the Eagles’ zone. He put on the brakes and feathered a pass to Soleway trailing the play. The ex-Vernon Viper power forward beat Michael Santaguida stick side for his fifth post-season goal.
The best-of-seven series, now tied 2-2, returned to Surrey for Game 5 Thursday.
Vees’ head coach Fred Harbinson said his players began to pick up the pace after Anthony Brito gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead with 4:30 remaining in the first period. A talk during the second intermission triggered the comeback jumpstarted by a Wade Murphy powerplay goal 58 seconds into the final frame.
Ryan Gropp scored again at 2:26 to give Penticton its first lead.
“A huge power play goal for us kind of springboarded us,” said Harbinson. “Even when they pushed back, got the second goal (Nicolas Pierog at 5:40) to tie it, we came right back at them and I’m really proud of the guys.”
Murphy said the Vees were confident despite trailing after 40 minutes.
“I was just trying to get shots on net. He can’t save them all, right?” said Murphy, of Santaguida, who finished with 33 saves. “I think it went through his arms. It was nice to get that one through.”
Eagles’ coach Matt Erhart said his players battled hard.
“I thought we had a pretty good first two periods,” said Erhart, a former defenceman who won the 1998 RBC Cup with the Eagles.
“Made a few mental mistakes in the third that cost us and I said to our team ‘some of the mental mistakes we made earlier against different teams doesn’t come back to haunt you, but it does against a team like the Penticton.’ I guess we have to tidy up a few of those areas.”
The winner advances to the inaugural Western Canada Cup, hosted by Mike Vandekamp’s Nanaimo Clippers, April 27-May 5.
n Kyle Murphy was named the Vernon Vipers’ Unsung Hero in 2011, and now he’s back at it with the NCAA Division 1 Providence Friars.
The Fairhaven, N.J. product wrapped up his senior season by receiving the NCAA Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award.
Hines played at Army from 1999-2003 and was a four-year letter-winner as well as a co-captain his senior season. He was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 1, 2005 in Afghanistan.
“Derek was a great hockey player, but more importantly, he was an extraordinary person,” Murphy said in a statement.
“Derek’s infectious personality, natural leadership ability and genuine spirit truly embody the perfect teammate and I will strive each day to live my own life as Derek so selflessly lived his.”
After de-committing from the University of Notre Dame, Murphy joined the Vipers for their 2011 championship run.
He took 36 credit hours in order to graduate with an Associate’s degree, maintaining straight-A’s. He will graduate this spring with a degree in finance.