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Spruce Kings season comes to an end

Vicki Brown photo

The Penticton Vees earned a 3-2 victory in Game #4 of their Interior Conference Semi Final series and swept the series over the Prince George Spruce Kings on Tuesday night at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

As was the case 24 hours earlier in Game #3, the score after the opening period was knotted at 1-1 with the Vees once again opening the scoring for the seventh time in nine playoff games as this came from Bradly Nadeau, who pushed Penticton ahead by a 1-0 score just under five minutes into the opening period of play.

Adam Eisele made a strong play from his own zone as he worked the puck out on the right-wing side and chipped it past a Spruce Kings forward before moving into the offensive zone on a partial two-on-one attack, sending a pass to the left face-off circle where Bradly one-timed a shot past the blocker side of Spruce Kings netminder Aaron Trotter for his fourth goal of the playoffs and a one-goal lead for the Vees in Game #4.

The Spruce Kings ramped up the pressure from then on and that’s where Kaeden Lane stood in place, turning aside 13 shots in the opening period of play and keeping the Vees lead at a goal before Prince George was able to get the game even courtesy of a redirected puck.

Nick Marciano had his left point shot directed off the stick of Rowan Miller and past the blocker side of Lane at the Spruce Kings evened the score at the 15:13 mark of the middle frame to head into the 2nd period all square at 1-1, just as Game #3 was a night before.

The 2nd period saw no scoring between the two sides with chances coming from the Vees in the middle stanza as Stefano Bottini, back after missing the first three games of the series due to suspension, was close to giving Penticton the lead.

Bottini made his way down the right-wing side as he chipped the puck past a Spruce King defender and walked in on a breakaway shorthanded as he moved in and sent a puck to the glove side of Trotter but the Spruce King goaltender came through with a big save to keep the game at 1-1.

Eisele made another strong play down low as he tied up a Spruce King defender in the left corner as Bottini came off the bench and gathered the puck before sending a pass to the front of the net where Aydar Suniev chipped it to the goal where Trotter made a blocker side stop to keep the game tied into the 3rd period.

The Vees were first to strike in the final period and it came from Thomas Pichette as Penticton gathered a 2-1 lead. The Spruce Kings turned the puck over deep inside of their own zone as Luc Wilson centred a pass to Thomas Pichette as the Vees forward sent a shot over the glove shoulder of Trotter for his 2nd goal in as many games as the Vees took a 2-1 lead at the 1:56 mark of the final period.

Penticton gathered a two-goal lead with just over 10 minutes to go in the 3rd period as Adam Eisele pushed the Vees lead to two goals. The puck was moved back to the left point as Mason Poolman zipped a shot to the net that was deflected by Eisele and past the glove side of Trotter for his 4th goal of the playoffs and a two-goal lead at the 9:44 mark of the third frame.

The Spruce Kings, just as they were in Game#3, tried to get themselves back in the game and pulled Trotter with just under two minutes to play and were able to cut the deficit in half. The puck came to the left side of Kaeden Lane off a play from the middle of the ice as Rowan Miller beat Lane on his blocker side to get the game with one with 1:41 remaining in the third period.

The Spruce Kings pulled their goaltender once again following the goal as the Vees stood tall and kept the puck out of the net to preserve the win and the sweep as the Vees took Game #4 by a 3-2 score.

Kaeden Lane turned aside 27 of the 29 shots thrown his way in his eighth win of the playoffs while Aaron Trotter made 27 saves on 30 shots in his 4th loss of the playoffs.

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