The Penticton Vees took the first of their six-round battle with Interior Division rivals the Vernon Vipers with a 3-2 decision.
It didn’t come without some controversy, though. With Jonny Tychonick in the box for a roughing penalty after slashing the stick out of a Vipers hands with 23.9 seconds left in regulation, the Vipers, No. 12 in the Canadian Junior Hockey League pressure the top team. A battle for the puck ensued in the corner to the right of Vees goalie Adam Scheel. When the puck came free, the Vipers quickly fired the puck as the clock ticked down and it found a way into the net as time expired. They celebrated thinking they had the 3-3 equalizer. After meeting near the time keepers box for a few minutes, officials waved the off and the Vees spilled onto the ice.
“What I saw is the green light go on before the red. That means the period ended and it’s no goal,” said Vees co-captain Owen Sillinger.
Vipers captain Jagger Williamson said the explanation from the officials is that they couldn’t quite see it.
“It’s not up to them to look up at the replay and we can’t really watch the camera so it’s kind of unfortunate that’s the way the game ended,” said Williamson. “I thought it was a really good game. I thought we had a really good effort, but we will worry about tomorrow now.”
Leading 2-1 in the third, the Vees were given a power-play, but it was Vernon capitalizing. Jesse Lansdell won a battle for the puck and flipped it high in the air from his own zone hitting the stick of Nico Karmanis coming off the bench. Using his blazing speed, Karamanis came in on Scheel and beat the Vees goaltender on a backhand-forehand move tying the game. On the same penalty, the Vees regained their lead. Jackson Keane had the puck at the right circle and fired a shot on goal. It was blocked by the Vipers defender and came right back to Keane, so he threw it on goal again. His second chance hit a body in front, but Keane followed the puck to the net and was able to slide his third chance past Anthony Yamnitsky for his first B.C. Hockey League goal to restore the lead. The goal came at 8:22.
Outshot 12-6 in the middle frame and 23-14 in total, the Vees grabbed the lead as Cassidy Bowes showed off his hand-eye co-ordination by deflecting a shot by Massimo Rizzo on a play started by Tychonick.
|Penticton Vees forward Jack Barnes couldn’t stop Vernon Viper Jordan Sandhu from getting the puck in the neutral zone during the B.C. Hockey League match Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Emanuel Sequeira/Western News
In the opening period, the Vees took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Jack Barnes, his first in the BCHL as Yamnitsky fell back in his crease and Barnes was able to jam it in. Jared Nash and Luke Reid each collected assists. Yamnitsky finished with 25 saves.
The Vipers replied about three minutes later while on a two-man advantage when Brett Stapley found Jimmy Lambert on Scheel’s back door and he was able to fire the puck in a gap about three inches wide between the goalie and post.
Sillinger said they took a lot of penalties as the Vipers went one-for-seven on the power play. The Vees went one-for-four.
“We can’t do that they are a good team,” said Sillinger. “That’s the whole reason why they hung in there. Our penalty kill was unbelievable tonight. Probably won us the game honestly. Adam Scheel played unbelievable again. Our D-core battled it the whole night.”
Sillinger was named the FortisBC Energy Player of the Game, while Scheel was named first star for his 31 save performance, second star was Reid with two assists and Keane the third star.
Ice chips: Vees defenceman Ryan O’Connell did not play as he missed the game due to family reasons. The Vipers were without Connor Marritt, Adam Panacci and Mitch Andres. Attendance was 3,132.