PENTICTON, BC –The Penticton Vees would like to have a redo on the first 21-minutes of Friday’s game. The Vees dug themselves a three-goal hole that they never climbed out of, in their 3-2 loss to the Vernon Vipers Friday at the SOEC.
Niko Karamanis scored twice in the first for the Vipers, once short-handed and again on the power-play, to stake the visitors out to a two-goal lead. Steve Jandric scored early in the second for Vernon and that’s all they needed, as they snapped a three-game losing streak.
The win was a long-time coming for the Vipers, as they picked up their first victory in Penticton since the 2014-15 season; the Vees had won the previous eight meetings.
James Miller and Chris Klack scored power-plays late in the second to spur on a comeback attempt but the Vees couldn’t muster up an equalizer in the final 20-minutes, as their three-game win streak was ended by their Okanagan rivals.
Vipers’ rookie goaltender Ty Taylor was very sharp, making 26 saves for his first win against Penticton, and Mat Robson was tagged with the loss, stopping 22 of 25 Vernon shots.
The Vipers hushed the capacity crowd early and during a Vees’ power-play. Jagger Williamson stole the puck in the neutral zone and sprung Karamanis the other way. The Viper forward made a nice move to his backhand to beat Robson along the ice at 4:28; just the second short-handed surrendered by the Vees this season.
Karamanis and the Vipers were at it again late in the first but this time using their power-play to sting the Vees. During the final seconds of a four-minute power-play, the Vipers worked the puck around quickly near the goal-line, before the puck was centered for Karamanis for the quick one-timer at 17:34.
Vernon picked up in the second where they left off in the first, scoring just over a minute into the middle stanza, to push their lead to 3-0. Steve Jandric followed a shot to the net and pounced on the rebound off of Robson’s pad, smacking it into an open goal at 1:14.
Penticton woke up midway through the middle frame, using their much maligned power-play to get them back into the contest. First, James Miller hammered a rocket from the blue-line for his first as a Vees to make it 3-1 nine-minutes in. Then, on another power-play Chris Klack made things interesting.
Duncan Campbell threw the puck out front into the crease from the side of the goal, and Chris Klack beat everyone to it, shoveling it in off a defender’s skate at 18:22; his seventh cutting the deficit to one.
The Vees pressed for an equalizer in the final frame but Taylor stood tall in the Vernon net, making key saves off of Jared Nash, Owen Sillinger and Jonny Tychonick to preserve the win. His best was a point-blank stop on Sillinger from the top of the crease.
Final Score: 3-2 Vernon
Shots: 28-25 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 2-4 Vernon 1-5
Three Stars: 1) Niko Karamanis 2) Chris Klack 3) Jagger Williamson
Tonight was the Vees first loss against Vernon, in the regular season, since February 11th, 2015, when they dropped a 2-1 decision at the SOEC. Friday also marks the Vees’ first loss against an Interior opponent; they’re now 8-1-0-0.
Canadian rock band The Trews performed a touching rendition of “Highway of Heroes,” prior to the game in honour of Remembrance Day. They also sung the anthem before puck drop.
The Vees (18-4-0-0) look to return the favour tomorrow night back in Vernon at Kal-Tire Place; puck drop is 6 PM.