Three first period goals and a 37-save performance by Ty Taylor gave the Vernon Vipers a 4-2 win over the Penticton Vees in the South Okanagan Events Centre Saturday.
Taylor said the Vipers played really well blocking shots, getting pucks deep and stuck to what they needed to do to win.
And his performance?
“Good. I got lots of help from my defenceman,” said Taylor, who made 12 first-period saves.
Taylor said this is a big win for the Vipers who are on a roll and improve to 21-13-3-2.
“We want to catch Penticton. It was good to steal a few points from here,” said Taylor, who is 11-7-1 with a 2.97 goals against average and .907 save percentage and will play in the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game in Cornwall, Ont., on Jan. 25.
The Vees, now 29-8-1-0, pushed throughout the night and got to within a goal four minutes into the third when Jamie Armstrong snapped a shot from the slot beating Taylor on his blocker side. Chris Klack and Griffen Mendel collected assists on his first as a Vee.
“It was a funny game. After what we experience in the third period last game where we didn’t play hard, I thought the first period was such a whole. It’s hard for any team to get out of,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “It was weird, I thought we were playing really well and then we would make one little minor error and it ends up in our net. We make another one and it ends up in our net. At one point I think the shots were 12-3 and they got a power play there and started to get a few more at the end. I thought their goaltender (third star) was outstanding tonight. Their goaltender was the difference. They get the power play goal where it’s a six on five and they make the play.”
“I thought the compete was there. It was a different kind of loss than we had last game,” said Vees captain Nicholas Jones. “Any time you give a team a three-goal lead, it’s pretty hard to come back. In terms of compete level, I thought we competed hard for the last two periods there.”
The Vipers iced the game at 14:25 when Niko Karamanis, the game’s first star, scored his second of the night. He buried the game winner in the first period during a scramble in front of the Vees net in which defenceman James Miller was hit by a shot. The rebound went to Karamanis who was able to get it past Robson.
Taylor Sanheim scored his first goal as a Vee and in the BCHL at 18:14 of the second period when he blasted a shot past Ty Taylor. Samheim’s goal cut the Vipers lead to 3-1.
The Vees generated a few good chances in the middle frame as they outshot the Vipers 13-8. Owen Sillinger tipped a shot that Taylor was able to stop. With the Vees applying pressure, and some heat on Taylor, Grant Cruikshank misfired with the net open. Nicholas Jones also wired a shot just wide of the net.
The Vipers built their lead by striking first at 13:15 of the opening frame on a goal by Jesse Landsdell, assisted by Shane Kelly. Kelly also set up Austin Adamson, who snapped a shot high glove on Robson.
Attendance was 2,959.