The Penticton Vees opened up their season at home against the Vernon Vipers to a smaller crowd than usual, but one that was still full of enthusiasm as the Vees finished up 4-2.
Even though the 2,500 attendees were required to be vaccinated, and to wear masks, the cheers and boos from the crowd were barely diminished.
The Vees didn’t let their fans down, putting up four unanswered goals over the first two periods, with two goals in each.
Finlay Williams opened up the scoring with two minutes 30 seconds left to go in the opening period, assisted by Luc Wilson and Frank Djurasevic.
Just over a minute and a half later, Josh Niedermayer picked up his first goal as a Vee, with assists from Williams and Djurasevic.
The Vees held a one shot advantage at the end of the period, with eight to the Vernon’s seven on goal.
Less than two minutes into the second, the Vees picked up their third goal from Casey McDonald, assisted by Anthony Allepot.
At the nine minute and eight second mark, Neidermayer picked up his second goal of the night, assisted by McDonald and Stefano Bottini.
Shots in the second period were in the Vees’ favour, as they poured 16 on goal compared to three shots from the Vernon Vipers.
With 11 minutes and 10 seconds gone in the third period, the Vipers got past Vees’ goalkeeper Kaeden Lane to get themselves on the board.
A high-sticking penalty to Williams gave the Vipers the advantage they needed to halve the Vees’ lead with just over three minutes left to go in the game, but despite their efforts it would be the final goal of the night.
The final tally of shots on goal ended with 14 for the Vipers and 28 for the Vees.
Penalty killing was key for both teams, as the Vees killed off seven of eight opportunities and the Vipers killed off all six chances for the Vees to pick up a powerplay goal.
The Vees were also dressed in the jerseys of the 1986 Champion Penticton Knights. Members of the original team were recognized ahead of the game and dropped the ceremonial first puck, in honour of their 35th anniversary.
On Saturday, Oct. 9, the Vees take on the Wenatchee Wild for the second home game of the opening weekend. The puck drops at the South Okanagan Events Centre at 6 p.m.
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