Though the Penticton Vees (35-11-2-3) battled back twice to cut the Vernon Vipers (35-13-1-4) lead down to a single goal, they couldn’t find the net in the third period of Saturday’s game, finishing with a 5-2 Penticton loss at home.
The Vipers opened the scoring halfway through the first period after a shot from the right-wing boards deflected up in the air and landed right in front of Adam Scheel. Niko Karamanis was in the right place at the right time and fired the puck over Scheel’s glove 9:51 into the period.
Early in the second the Vipers came out flying and pressured the Vees until Cameron Trott’s shot from the right circle went off Michael Campoli and barely over the goal line just 1:15 into the second.
The Vees answered back off a turnover in the Vipers zone. Massimo Rizzo intercepted a clearing attempt by the Vipers and centred for Cassidy Bowes in the slot. Bowes took the feed and fired a wrist shot through the legs of Ty Taylor with 9:20 to go in the period.
A few minutes later, the Vipers got a power play when Marcus Mitchell was sent to the penalty box, with an extra two minutes for instigating, after a fight with the Vipers Shane Kelly.
It took Vernon just 14 seconds to score with the man advantage when Michael Young shot from the left circle to beat Scheel blocker side.
Less than a minute later the Vees found themselves on a power play, and Owen Sillinger walked out from the right wing corner before sliding a puck through the five hole of Taylor to cut the lead down to 3-2.
Vernon answered back when another bouncing puck ended up at the side of the Vees net for Derek Brown to shoot it past Scheel with less than two minutes remaining in the second.
The vees managed to kill off a four-minute penalty after Sillinger was called for spearing in the last seconds of the period, with the penalty carried over into the third.
Vernon capped off the scoring as a clearing attempt by the Vees got deflected into the slot and Jesse Lansdell jumped on the rebound to make it 5-2 with 11:29 to go. Shots on goal ended with Vernon ahead 34-33.
The Vees are still in first place in the league with the loss, as they’re tied with Vernon at 75 points but have two games in hand.
The Vees are set for a home-and-home series against the Coquitlam Express (14-35-1-3) starting at home Wednesday night in the South Okanagan Events Centre.