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Recap: Vees, Vipers play to 2-2 draw

Vernon, BC: The Penticton Vees (6-0-0-1) and Vernon Vipers (7-2-0-2) met for the second time in less than 24 hours Saturday night at Kal Tire Place in Vernon, but 70 minutes wasn’t enough to find a winner as the teams tied at two.

Despite five power-play opportunities between the two teams in the first period, neither one of them was able to find the back of the net in the opening 20 minutes. The shots were 11-10 in favour of Penticton.

Early in the second period the Vees went to their third power play of the game. Nicky Leivermann had the puck at the right point and moved towards the middle of the ice. He made his way around one defender, almost got pick pocketed by Keyvan Mokhtari, but stayed with the play and found the puck in his skates before firing it into an open cage from the left face-off circle.

Adam Scheel came up with maybe his biggest save of the night shortly after on a cross-crease feed. Niko Karamanis threw the puck from the left wing corner across the ice for Connor Marritt who was all alone on the near side of the net, but Scheel slid across and made a left-pad save to keep the score 1-0 Penticton.

The save proved to be even bigger, as the Vees extended their lead not long after. While on another power play, Owen Sillinger had the puck below the goal line in the Vipers zone. He spotted Grant Cruikshank busting towards the net, and slid a pass to the right face-off circle where Cruikshank was able to lift it over an out-stretched Ty Taylor to make it 2-0 Penticton.

Vernon was able to cut into the lead late in the period. Off a face-off on Scheel’s glove hand side, Karamanis gathered the puck at the top of the circle before spinning and firing. The puck hit something on it’s way to the net and deflected under Scheel’s blocker to make it 2-1 Penticton after two.

Already playing shorthanded, the Vees defence core was reduced to four after Joe Leahy took a heavy hit from Jesse Lansdell below the Vernon goal line with seven minutes left in the second period.

In the third, the Vipers attack became relentless. They would pressure the Vees inside the zone for what seemed like over a minute at a time, and anytime the puck was cleared out, it was back in Penticton territory just seconds later.

Massimo Rizzo had a chance to restore the Vees two-goal lead on a penalty shot, but Taylor made a huge right-pad save on the goal line to keep it 2-1. The save turned out to be a key play, as Vernon would tie the game a few minutes later.

It all built up to Mokhitari tying the game off a mini two-on-one rush. Mokhtari took a pass at the left face-off circle a fired a wrister under the arm of Scheel to knot the game at two.

The two teams went to double overtime, and despite Vernon having a power play in double overtime, the game ended in a 2-2 draw. Penticton went a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty kill. The next game action for Penticton is Friday night when they travel to Merritt, before returning home for a 6:00 start against Victoria.

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