Home ice was key as the Vernon Vipers and Penticton Vees split their B.C. Hockey League home-and-home series this weekend, both teams winning at home.
The Vees salvaged the split Saturday, Dec. 14, at the South Okanagan Events Centre, with a 4-1 decision, 24 hours after the Vipers blanked Penticton 2-0 at Kal Tire Place.
After the Vipers dominated the first eight minutes Saturday, it was Penticton who opened the scoring when Connor Hutchison’s point shot seemed to change direction on the way to the goal and beat Vernon goalie Reilly Herbst.
The Vees made it 2-o on a powerplay goal from David Silye late in the period, and Lukas Sillinger made it 3-0 home side early in the second.
Vernon got its only goal, and put some life back into the squad, early in the third period when Ben Helgeson spotted Logan Cash who put the puck past Penticton netminder Yaniv Perets. Penticton closed out the scoring at 7:45 when Carson Kosobud’s point shot dipped through a maze of bodies and past Herbst, who finished with 31 saves. Perets stopped 20 Vipers shots.
The Vipers close out their pre-Christmas schedule Wednesday, Dec. 18, with a home game against the Trail Smoke Eaters (7 p.m. Kal Tire Place) on Pacific Assistance Dog Society (PADS) Okanagan Night at the game. Volunteers and dogs will be on hand to answer questions about their service.
* Vernon’s Powell Connor played in all four games as Canada West failed to advance to the semifinals at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek.
Connor, a defenceman with Trail in the BCHL, had no points as Canada West went 1-3. Their only win was a 1-0 shootout decision against Russia. Canada West lost 3-2 to the U.S., 5-1 to Canada East and 4-3 to the Czech Republic.