December 15, 2012, VERNON, BC (ISN) – The Penticton Vees continued their mastery of the Vernon Vipers Friday night as they picked up a 3-1 win in Vernon. The Vees have now won back-to-back games in Vernon by identical 3-1 scores, and are 4-1 against their divisional-rival this season.
Three different Vees scored, including Sean Flanagan getting his first in blue & black, and Chad Katunar was spot on in making 30 saves for his fourth win in five starts.
Travis Blanleil opened the scoring, short-handed, as he broke in on a partial break-away, and forced a shot through Austin Smith at 8:12. The goal was Blanleil’s first in 25 games, dating back to the Vees home opener on September 29th. Blanleil forced a bouncing puck away from the Vipers forward at the Vees blue-line and raced down and forced his 4th of the season through the legs of Smith.
Despite a bevy of scoring chances, Vees took a 1-0 lead to the intermission. The Vees had a their fair share of chances to blow the game wide open, during a run of three straight power-plays, including a four-minute man-advantage but came up empty; De Haas had the best chance and that was thwarted by the iron.
The second started as a feeling-out process between the two teams, but it was Vernon finding their scoring touch first. Pearce Eviston cut into the Vees lead midway through the frame, when he slid a puck underneath an out-stretched Chad Katunar. Eviston waited out Katunar and put a wrist-shot under his arm from the circle at 10:14.
The Vees didn’t take long to get their two-goal lead back, as Sean Flanagan rippled the mesh at 15:14. Flanagan broke down the left-wing, and fired a wrist-shot through a maze of bodies and off the far-post and past Austin Smith; Flanagan’s first as Vee and first since November 12th.
Wade Murphy added an insurance marker late in the second, finding the back of the net at 17:58. Murphy took a cross-zone pass from Sam Mellor and in stride fired a snap-shot that fooled Austin Smith at the near-post; Murphy’s 15th and second in three games.
That’s all the scoring the Vees would need, as goaltender Chad Katunar kept the Vipers off the score-sheet in the third period. Katunar turned aside all 11 shots faced in the final frame, including a few in-close scrambles. Calm, cool and collected from start to finish, Katunar finished with 30 saves for his 17th win of the year.
FINAL SCORE: 3-1 VEES
Shots: 31-29 Vipers
Power-Plays: Vees 0-4 Vipers 0-2
Three Stars: 1) Sean Flanagan 2) Troy Stecher 3) Pearce Eviston
The win moves the Vees record to 21-8-0-3, and pushes their lead to 11 point atop of the Interior Division. The Vees continue their dominance over their own division as well, improving their divisional record to 16-4-0-1.
The Vipers loss was compounded by the fact they lost both Geoff Crisfield and Brett Corkey to injury in the first two periods; both defenseman did not return to the game.
The Vees finish off their pre-Christmas schedule tomorrow, when they host the Nanaimo Clippers at the SOEC; puck-drop is 5pm. Fans are encouraged to come down early for a BBQ starting at 3:30pm. Tickets are available at the Valley First box office at the SOEC, or online at www.valleyfirsttix,com