PENTICTON, BC-The Penticton Vees rode a hot power-play to a 4-2 win Saturday over the Vernon Vipers in Game Two of their Interior Division Final in front over 3,007 fans at the SOEC.
Mitch Meek, Nicholas Jones and Taylor Sanheim all scored on the power-play and Jared Nash added an even-strength marker in the third, as the Vees bounced back from Friday’s 3-2 loss in Game One.
Speaking of bouncing back, Mat Robson was sharp in goal, stopping 25 of 27 shots and even tried his luck at an empty-net goal in the final moments.
Jesse Lansdell and Cameron Trott scored for Vernon, who at one point did erase a two-goal deficit before the Vees pulled away. Darion Hansen made 26-saves in a losing effort in the Vipers net.
For the first time in four games, the Vees opened the scoring and did so halfway through the opening frame. On their second power-play of the game, The Vees’ James Miller was thumped by Hunter Zandee back in the neutral zone, but Mitch Meek quickly picked up the loose puck, walked down the middle and fired over Hanson’s glove at 10:48; Meek scoring his second of the post-season. Miller did leave the game after that body check but ended up returning in the second period.
Penticton added to their lead late in the first and again it was with the power-play. Chris Klack showed some great vision by firing a slap-pass from the wall to Nicholas Jones in front, who tipped the puck over the goalie’s arm at 17:28; the Captain bagging his sixth of the playoffs.
Vernon got back into the game midway through the second period and in a hurry. First it was Jesse Lansdell redirecting a shot from the boards past Mat Robson at 11:34 to make it 2-1. Then a couple of shifts later, they were handed a five-minute power-play after Gabe Bast picked up a checking-from-behind major penalty and an automatic game misconduct.
Half a minute into that power-play the Vipers tied it, after Cameron Trott hammered a one-timer that blew by Robson’s glove into the top corner at 13:55; Trott’s goal a near carbon copy of his power-play marker in Game One.
The 2-2 tie didn’t last for long, as Vernon ran into more penalty trouble late in the frame. 45-seconds into the Vees’ sixth power-play, it was Taylor Sanheim in the right spot, at the right time at the side of the net. Jones had his one-timer from the slot nick the cross-bar, deflect off the glass behind the net, and right to Sanheim, who whacked it in past Hanson near the post at 18:48.
Penticton got an insurance marker in the latter half of the third, as Jared Nash went hard to the paint and shoveled in a loose puck from inside crease, and past a pile of red jerseys at 12:28. Off the face-off the puck came to Turner Ripplinger on the wall and he threw it to the net and it was Nash getting to the rebound and willing it across the goal-line.
Final Score: 4-2 Vees
Shots: 30-27 Vees
Power-Plays: Vees 3-8 Vernon 1-2
Three Stars: 1) Nicholas Jones 2) Taylor Sanheim 3) Cameron Trott
Notes: Saturday was the first time the Vees’ opened the scoring since Game Four against Merritt in the second round; they’re now 4-0-0 when doing so in the playoffs. Including The regular season, the Vees are now 4-0-1-0 against Vernon when scoring three or more goals. They were 36-2-1-2 in the regular season when scoring three plus goals. Jones finished with a team high two points (1-1-2) in Saturday’s win.
The series shifts to Vernon for Game Three on Monday, April 3rd; puck drop is 7 pm at Kal-Tire Place. Game Four is the following night, Tuesday, April 4th.