Penticton Vees Massimo Rizzo kicked off the scoring for the team in Game 3 of the Fred Page Cup finals at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Tuesday night. The Vees beat the Chilliwack Chiefs 5-2. Mark Brett/Penticton Western News

Rizzo fires up Vees to win Game 3 of BCHL finals

Penticton Vees defeat Chilliwack Chiefs in Game 3 of Fred Page Cup final

Massimo Rizzo.

Get to know the name. On Tuesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre the Chilliwack Chiefs sure did.

The 15-year-old put the Penticton Vees on the board first as they skated to a 5-2 win in Game 3 of the Fred Page Cup finals. Playing in just his fourth game for the Vees, Rizzo scored his first BCHL goal and helped the team take a series lead 2-1.

“You don’t want to make comparisons but he is in that same Tyson Jost level as far as his hockey sense and his offensive ability. It is going to be exciting to coach him over the next couple of years,” said Vees head coach Fred Harbinson.

That was put on full display just 3:56 into the game as Rizzo came barelling into the Chiefs zone on the powerplay. Driving straight to the net he caught a saucer pass as he cut in front of goalie Mark Sinclair at the last minute. Rizzo lost his edge and in full flight managed to wrangle the puck on his backhand and tuck it around a sprawled out Sinclair over the goalline.

“You can see tonight he has got the vision and the playmaking ability is outstanding,” said Harbinson.

Related: Vees depth players a game-changer

The Vees built off the youngster’s energy killing off two penalties just minutes later that gave the Chiefs the five on three advantage for just over a minute.

The first half of the second period belonged to the Chiefs Jordan Kawaguchi, who has points in six straight games. Er, make that seven. He evened things 1-1 while on the powerplay after getting a pass at the top of the circle and firing a quick shot past the screened Vees goalie Mathew Robson at 6:48.

Kawaguchi then struck again, this time shorthanded, at 11:45. Kawaguchi standing unmanned in front of Robson lasered the puck over his blocker to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.

Killing off three penalties late in the second period, the Vees capitalized on the worn out Chiefs. The Vees caught the Chiefs lagging and entered in on a two-on-one. Grant Cruikshank’s quick release shot tied things back up 2-2 at 18:41.

The third period was all Vees as Robson continued to shut the door on the Chiefs. Three unanswered goals from Gabe Bast, Jared Nash and Chris Klack (empty net) finished off the visitors.

The Vees face the Chiefs again on Wednesday night at the SOEC at 7 p.m. in Game 4.

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