Penticton tops Soo to end Thunderbirds RBC Cup run



Release Date: Thursday, May 14, 2015

Penticton tops Soo to end Thunderbirds RBC Cup run

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. –  Patrick Newell tallied twice and added a pair of assists to help lift the Penticton Vees to a 5-2 victory over the Soo Thunderbirds Thursday afternoon at the RBC Cup in Portage la Prairie, Man.

A neutral zone turnover allowed Penticton to get on the board first seven and a half minutes into the contest as Steen Cooper stole the puck off a Soo defender and broke in on a partial break, deked to his right and lifted his attempt over the pad of Mario Culina in the Thunderbirds net for an unassisted effort.

The Vees added to their lead early in the middle session as Newell skated down the right side, cut in and snapped one past Culina at 1:29 of the second.

A pretty three-way passing play allowed the BCHL and Western Canada Cup champions to extend their cushion as Newell had a tap-in on a power play attempt at 6:23.

Splitting netminding duties, Brian Kment came in to replace Culina at the midway point of the contest and manned the net the rest of the way for the T-Birds.

Sault Ste. Marie cut into the deficit at 13:02 as a pinching David Radke kept the puck in the Penticton zone to Brett Jeffries, who drove to the middle and fired a shot through Vees goalkeeper Hunter Miska.

After successfully killing off a penalty to start the third, the Thunderbirds pulled to within one 88 seconds into the stanza as Boris Katchouk pulled down an airborne puck and fed it back to Caleb Bowman at the point, who fired it towards the front of the net where it was deflected by Jeffries past Miska to make it 3-2.

The Soo came close to an equalizer moments later on an Nathan Hebert effort only to see his blast hit the goal post.

Penticton countered on the power play at 3:55 with Newell feeding an open Tyson Jost in the slot as he wristed one past Kment to make it 4-2 Vees.

A two-man advantage allowed Penticton to close out the afternoon’s scoring with Dakota Conroy knocking one in from in close at 16:45.

Final shots on goal in the contest were 42-22 in favour of the Vees.

Player of the game honours went to Penticton’s Newell and Jeffries of the Thunderbirds.

The Soo finished 0-4 in round robin play as their season comes to a close, which included a NOJHL regular season and playoff title and a Dudley-Hewitt Cup crown.

Penticton is now 3-1 and await their RBC Cup semifinal opponent.

The Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) 2-1-1, Portage Terriers (MJHL) 2-1 and Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) 1-1-1 are also semifinal bound with the host Terriers meeting the Mustangs in the final round robin game tonight at 8 p.m. to finalize the standings and determine who plays who on semifinal Saturday.

RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship
PCU Centre – Portage la Prairie, Man.
Dates: May 9-17
Competing Teams
Host: Portage Terriers (MJHL)
Central: Soo Thunderbirds (Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion)
East: Carleton Place Canadians (Fred Page Cup champion)
West 1: Penticton Vees (Crescent Point Energy Cup champion)
West 2: Melfort Mustangs (Crescent Point Energy Cup finalist)

Saturday, May 9
Portage 3 Penticton 2
Carleton Place 4 Soo 0
Sunday, May 10
Penticton 4 Melfort 0
Carleton Place 3 Portage 0
Monday, May 11
Melfort 5 Soo 3
Tuesday, May 12
Penticton 4 Carleton Place 3
Portage 7 Soo 2
Wednesday, May 13
Melfort 4 Carleton Place 3 (OT)
Thursday, May 14
Penticton 5 Soo 2
Portage vs. Melfort 8 p.m.
Friday, May 17
CJHL Awards Banquet
Saturday, May 16
Semifinal 1: 3 p.m.
Semifinal 2: 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 17
Final: 8 p.m.