The Powell River Kings returned to the Sunshine Coast down after two straight losses, but they weren’t about to concede the Fred Page Cup on Saturday night. The Coastal Conference champions bounced back and found secondary scoring to beat the Vernon Vipers 5-2 and extend the BCHL Championship series.
Even after a pair of frustrating 4-2 losses to the defending champions, the Kings played with little panic in their game and were rewarded with four second-period goals to secure a trip back to the Wesbild Centre for the all-important Game 7 showdown on Monday night.
Brenden Forbes skated out of nowhere to put up a goal and an assist for the first star of Game 6. After a scoreless first period at Hap Parker Arena, Forbes scored the icebreaker for Powell River 11 seconds into the middle frame — one of three Kings’ goals in a 4:07 span.
The second came with Vernon looking to capitalize on a Cody Rainaldi tripping penalty. Instead of the Vipers tying the score, captain Mat Bodie, the game’s second star, finished off a pass from Ben Schmidt to score arguably the biggest goal of the game shorthanded and help save his helpless teammate in the box.
Mitch Labreche then took his turn to shine in the spotlight for Powell River. An assist on the opening goal was followed up with a strong contribution to the scoring barrage in the second with the 3-0 marker four minutes into the period. Daniel Carr finished off the four-goal span with a power-play marker at the midway point of the middle frame with Andrew Pettitt and Matt Garbowsky providing the assists.
The Vipers, who had a relatively quiet evening on the road, picked it up in the third period, scoring two goals in 1:44 to close the gap to 4-2 — with Bryce Kakoske and Garrett Noonan providing the offence. Kings’ netminder Josh Watson, who turned aside 25 shots, did not allow another puck past him and Chad Niddery added an empty-netter to preserve the Game 6 victory and secure a one-game showdown in Vernon on Monday.
Powell River, who experienced heartbreak a year ago, will have the chance to redeem themselves and capture the Fred Page Cup for the first time in franchise history. Vernon can win the BCHL Championship for the second straight season in front of their home fans at the Wesbild Centre.