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NHL draft pick scores hat trick, leads Penticton Vees past Vernon Vipers

Penticton extends its lead atop the Interior Division over third-place Vernon
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Penticton Vees forward and Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick James Fisher scored a hat trick Friday, Oct. 28, leading the Penticton Vees past the Vernon Vipers at the South Okanagan Events Centre. (Photo- Cherie Morgan Photography)

James Fisher scored a hat trick, Will Ingemann made 31 saves and the Penticton Vees held off a late Vernon Vipers comeback to win their seventh game in a row Friday night, Oct. 27, at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Fisher, a seventh-round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, completed his hat trick on the power play 1:53 into the second period, leading the Vees (10-1-1-1) to an eventual 5-3 victory over their Interior Division rival.

Co-captains Callum Arnott and Thomas Pitchette also scored for Penticton, who extended its lead atop the division’s standings to six points over Vernon (8-4-0-0).

Ingemann recorded his eighth win in the crease and has yet to lose in regulation in 10 games this season.

Vipers forward Adam Csabi scored twice in the middle frame, jumpstarting a comeback bid that would see the North Okanagan squad get as close as within one to Penticton.

Csabi’s offensive output was aided by a pair of assists from Owen Kim.

Anthony Cliche found the back of the net on the power play five minutes into the third period to make it a 4-3 game, capping off the Vipers’ goal-scoring for the night.

Pitchette scored an insurance marker for the Vees less than three minutes later.

“We played hard tonight,” said Jason McKee, Vernon’s head coach and general manager. “We had lots of chances and the bounces just didn’t go our way. I’m proud of the effort.”

Goaltenders Ethan David and Colin Reay both appeared in the crease for the Vipers.

Vernon will visit the Merritt Centennials on Oct. 29, before kicking off an extended home slate at Kal Tire Place on Nov. 1, when the Cranbrook Bucks come to town.

Penticton, meanwhile, has yet to lose on home ice this season, winning its first four at the SOEC in 2023-2024.

The defending Fred Page Cup champions will return to the ice on Nov. 3, when they host Cranbrook.

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