Submitted by Fraser Rodgers
Turns out the Penticton Vees and Vernon Vipers didn’t need 60-minutes to decide things; 14 was more than enough. The two rivals combined for five goals in 14-minutes in the first period, as the Vee skated to a 4-2 win Tuesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Owen Sillinger, Grant Cruikshank and Griffin Mendel all scored in the opening frame, and Taylor Ward sealed the win with an empty-netter late in the third period. Mat Robson turned aside 15 of 17 shots to remain perfect in his two pre-season starts.
Michael Ufberg and Ethan Scardina scored for Vernon who dropped their pre-season record to 0-4.
Special teams dominated the game as the two teams combined for 13 power-plays. The Vees opened the scoring on one of their nine opportunities. Sillinger broke the ice three and a half minutes into the game when he squeezed a wrist-shot underneath the goalie’s arm from the right-circle.
Vernon then responded with a power-play goal, the first of two in just 69-seconds to quickly swing momentum in their favour. First Ufberg blasted a point-shot through a crowd to tie it at 10:03, then, at even-strength, Scardina was at the right place, at the right time, potting a rebound out front at 11:12.
Cruikshank tied the game a minute and a half after Vernon took their only lead. The Wisconsin native burst down the right wing and snapped a shot blocker-side at 12:41. Then Mendel got in on the act with a slap-shot from the point that was tipped by a Vernon stick at 14:15.
One of Robson’s better saves came in the third period and he didn’t even use his goalie gear. Vernon’s Jimmy Lambert let go a hard wrist shot off the rush that the goalie fought it off with his mask.
The Vees are in West Kelowna on Wednesday, then host the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday.