Portage la Prairie, Man.
NEWELL’S FOUR POINTS HELP VEES TO PRELIM-ENDING WIN AT RBC CUP
JASON LA ROSE
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – Patrick Newell scored twice and added two assists to power the Penticton Vees to a 5-2 win over the Soo Thunderbirds in the preliminary round finale for both teams Thursday at the 2015 RBC Cup.
The victory pushes Penticton into first place, depending on the outcome of Thursday night’s Portage-Melfort game; a win in regulation by the host Terriers will leave them first and drop the Vees to second place, but any other result will give Penticton top spot heading into Saturday’s semifinals.
Steen Cooper, Tyson Jost and Dakota Conroy scored the other goals for the Vees, who won three in a row to finish the round robin after a tournament-opening loss to Portage on Saturday afternoon.
Demico Hannoun added three assists, while Cooper had a goal and a helper.
Brett Jeffries had both goals for Soo, which finished without a win in four games and saw its season end.
Penticton scored the lone goal of the first period; Cooper stripped a Thunderbirds defenceman in the neutral zone and broke in alone, going to the backhand to beat Soo goaltender Mario Culina at 7:28.
Newell needed just 1:28 of the second period to double the lead, slamming on the brakes at the face-off dot and snapping a shot past Culina, and finished off gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing on a Vees power play at 6:23, with Cooper and Connor Chartier providing the assists.
Jeffries pulled the Thunderbirds back within two at the 13-minute mark of the middle frame, taking advantage of a turnover at the Penticton blue-line and going five-hole on netminder Hunter Miska.
He then added a second just 88 seconds into the third period, tipping in a Caleb Boman point shot to make it a one-goal game.
But Jost buried a feed from Newell on a Vees power play less than three minutes later, and Conroy finished off another ridiculous passing play on a two-man advantage at 16:45 to cap the scoring.
Penticton will wait for its semifinal opponent, while Soo finishes a successful season with a 53-13-1-7 (W-L-T-OTL) record, a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League championship a Dudley Hewitt Cup title.