Vipers, Vees play to draw

Single point lifts Vernon into first place in B.C. Hockey League Interior Division

Jordan Sandhu’s eighth goal of the season midway through the third period gave the Vernon Vipers a 2-2 draw with the Penticton Vees in B.C. Hockey League action in front of 3,053 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre Friday.

The two rivals, who have played three times with Penticton winning once and the other two games ending in draws, met again Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.

The single point moved the Vipers (15-4-0-4) into sole possession of first place in the Interior Division with 34 points, one point ahead of the Trail Smoke Eaters, 3-1 losers at home to the Prince George Spruce Kings. Vernon is unbeaten in eight games.

Penticton (10-5-1-2) sits fifth in the division with 23 points.

Sandhu’s goal came at 9:17, set up by Michael Ufberg and Brett Stapley, as the Vipers rallied from a 2-1 second-period deficit.

There was no scoring in the opening frame.

Ufberg, the game’s second star, scored the opening goal, his fifth of the year, with newly acquired Brandon Whistle and Jesse Lansdell drawing assists, 95 seconds after the ice clean.

The lead lasted less than 40 seconds as Grant Cruikshank scored his sixth for the Vees at 2:09.

Penticton took the lead at 15:36 with Jack Finley scoring his first.

Ty Taylor stopped 34 of 36 shots for the Vipers while Adam Scheel was named the game’s first for making 31 saves on 33 shots for the Vees.

In the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Friday, Alec McLeod scored twice as the North Okanagan Knights dumped the Summerland Steam 4-1 at the Nor-Val Sports Centre. Ben Jossinet and Brady Marzocco had the other goals for North Okanagan, who received a 32-save performance from Zac Willms.

North Okanagan (4-11-1-3) took on the Grizzlies in Revelstoke Saturday.

SNAKE BITES: Vipers forward Alex Swetlikoff and Canada White played the Czech Republic for bronze Saturday at the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek. The U.S. pounded Canada White 9-1 in semifinal play Friday. Vees forward Massimo Rizzo had a goal and an assist as Canada Black doubled Sweden 4-2 in the seventh-place game. Penticton defenceman Luke Reid also played for Canada Black.

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