VERNON, BC-For the third time in four years, the Penticton Vees and Vernon Vipers will need a seventh and deciding game to decide a winner, after the Vipers toppled the Vees 5-1 in Game Six Saturday night at Kal-Tire Place in Vernon.
Five different Vipers scored in the win, including Steven Jandric just over two-minutes into the first period on the power-play. Darion Hanson was sharp again at home, stopping 37 of 38 shots and was named the game’s first star.
Vernon led 1-0 after the first, then scored twice in 16-seconds in the second to pull ahead by two, before adding two more late in the third period to seal the win, forcing Game Seven in Penticton on Monday.
Former Viper Mitch Meek was the only Vee to get a puck by Hanson, and Mat Robson suffered the loss in goal, stopping 25 of 29 shots, as the Vees dropped their second straight game in Vernon.
It was a chippy affair, especially late, as six game misconducts and four fighting majors were dished out inside the final two and a half minutes of the third period.
Penticton got into penalty trouble early, as Vernon was handed a power-play 79-seconds into the game after a high-sticking call against Chris Klack. Steven Jandric gave the neat capacity crowd something to cheer about right away, as from inside the crease, he tapped-in a Cameron Trott pass from the wall at 2:15.
The Vipers took that 1-0 lead into the second period and quickly added to it, scoring goals on back-to-back shifts. First, after Vernon was pressing down-low, Cooper Watson banked the puck in between Mat Robson and the post from the goal-line at 6:40. Then, after the Vees turned it over just outside their blue-line, Niko Karamanis showed great hand-eye coordination, batting in a waist-high pass over Robson’s blocker on the quick counter-attack at 6:56.
Down 3-0 late in the second, the Vees dug in their heels and Meek got the visitors on the scoreboard with under two-minutes left. Duncan Campbell fired the puck out to the slot from just below the net, and Meek fired a wrist-shot underneath the cross-bar on the glove side at 17:11; Meek’s third of the series cutting the deficit to two.
Trailing 3-1 to start the third, the Vees did push hard but couldn’t manufacture a second goal despite a lot of pressure and outshooting Vernon 11-4 at one point.
Vernon sealed it with an empty-net goal, during a Vees power-play with five and a half minutes left. With the goalie pulled for the extra-skater, the Vees bobbled the puck at the blue-line, allowing Jimmy Lambert to fire it into an empty-net from centre ice at 14:19 to make it 4-1.
Emotions boiled over with two-minutes left, after Jesse Lansdell scored on a breakaway to make it 5-1. After Lansdell scored on a deke five-hole, both teams got mixed up in the Vees’ end along the boards. The skirmish resulted in three misconducts and six penalties handed out on the play, as Nicholas Jones and the Vipers’ Connor Clouston and Riley Brandt were all shown an early exit.
After the dust settled, the Vees were given a four-minute power-play as Clouston was called for a double-minor spearing penalty. The bad blood didn’t end there however.
Things got even more heated with just half a minute left in the game, as two separate fights broke out in the Vernon end between Taylor Sanheim and Shane Kelly, and Chris Klack and Chris Jandric. All four were given fighting majors and game misconducts.
Final Score: 5-1 Vernon
Power-Plays: Vees 0-5 Vernon 1-2
Shots: 38-30 Vees
Three Stars: 1) Darion Hanson 2) Cooper Watson 3) Mitch Meek
Notes: Vernon improved their home playoff record to 5-1 with the win, whereas the Vees have now won just two of six road games in the playoffs. With his goal Saturday, Meek now has two goals and four points against Vernon in six games. The two teams split the previous two Game Sevens, with the Vees winning in 2015 and Vernon in 2014.