The Vernon Vipers used a two-goal third period surge to upend the Penticton Vees 3-1 Wednesday at Kal-Tire place in Vernon. The win snaps the Vipers four game slide and is their first on home ice; the Vees saddled with their second loss in as many games.
The Vees were looking to rebound after loss in Prince George last Friday but found themselves down a goal midway through the first period. Brendan Persley put the home team ahead just past the thirteen-minute mark when he bagged his first of the season. Persley was hit with a pass from across the ice and just got enough of his stick on the puck to get it up and over a sprawled Hunter Miska at 13:12.
The Vees had an opportunity to pull back even midway through the middle frame, when they had a run of three straight power-plays. The Vees best chance during the sequence was a play that led to their first man-advantage. Travis Blanleil got in behind the defenseman on the left-wing and cut to the goal on a partial break. The defender was forced take him down and did as he was about to shoot. The Vees would come up empty on the three power-plays but hit pay dirt in the dying moments of the frame.
Max Coatta finished off a quick passing play, as he rifled his team leading sixth goal of the season past the blocker of Austin Smith at 19:25. Cody DePourcq came over the blue-line and dropped the puck off to Josh Blanchard, who then left it in the right-circle for Coatta. He quickly got a shot of the he put underneath Smith’s arm on the far-side.
The deadlock wasn’t broken until midway through the third when the Vipers went ahead on a seeing-eye shot from the point. After a great penalty-killing sequence, the Vees failed to clear the zone and ended up being on the wrong end of a bad bounce. Mark Hamilton let a shot go from the blue-line that fluttered through a maze of bodies before catching a piece of someone in front. The knuckle-puck changed direction and darted past a surprised Hunter Miska at 9:58.
Riley Alferd had a great chance to bring the Vees back level in the third but was robbed by the Vipers Austin Smith. Travis Blanleil raced down a loose puck in the left-corner and fired a pass across the goal-mouth to a streaking Alferd. Smith though lunged to his left and just got his arm on the deflection to preserve the lead.
Dexter Dancs provided an insurance marker late in the third with a nice individual effort. Dances picked up the puck at the Vees blue-line, slipped through a check and danced around another before stick-handling around a sprawled Miska at 14:14.
Final Score: 3-1 Vipers
Shots: 27-25 Vipers
Power-Play: Vees 0/4 Vipers 0/4
Three Stars: 1) Mark Hamilton 2) Demico Hannoun 3) Max Coatta
The Vees now return to Penticton for their home opener on Friday, September 27th against the Merritt Centennials; puck drop is 7pm. The Vees are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the SOEC, and to mark the occasion tickets are just $5, with food and beverage specials as well. Also special guest Mark Donnelly will be singing the national anthem and fans are encouraged to come down to the SOEC before the game and attempt to set a Guinness Book of World Records for most simultaneous high-fives.