PHOTO: Lisa Mazurek/Lisa Mazurek Photography
VERNON, B.C. – The Penticton Vees threw 42 shots on goal but couldn’t get anything past James Porter Jr. as they fell to the Vernon Vipers by a 2-0 score on Friday night at Kal Tire Place.
Scoring came early in the hockey game as the Vipers came out with an energized start and took the opening lead just 1:48 into the contest. Matt Kowalski led the rush through the neutral zone, getting inside the blue line before deferring to the right-wing where affiliate player Seiya Tanaka-Campbell took the pass and put a shot past the glove side of Vees netminder Carl Stankowski to give Vernon a 1-0 advantage.
The Vees responded well to the goal, bringing pressure to the net and forcing pucks to the goal but Vipers goaltender James Porter Jr. stood tall in the crease, making saves on each of the 13 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes to help him team to a one-goal lead heading into the intermission.
18 shots on goal in the 2nd period had the Vees all around the Vernon net but, once again, James Porter Jr. was the difference in keeping the Vipers ahead by a 1-0 score. Porter made a strong save on Liam Malmquist early in the period as the Vees forward worked his way into the left face-off circle before seeing his shot fought off by the blocker shoulder of Porter.
Jackson Niedermayer had a couple of good cracks to get the Vees on the board, standing in front of the Viper goal after receiving a pass from the left-wing corner off the stick of Danny Weight but Porter denied him with each try with the right pad that kept the game at 1-0 and would remain that way into the 3rd period.
With a lopsided advantage in shots, the Vees continued to pepper the Vipers net in the 3rd period, outshooting them by an 11-4 margin the game’s final period with Porter again standing tall as the difference. Penticton had a few opportunities with the puck near the front of the net but the Viper goaltender reacted well and made each stop.
The best chance to score in the final period for the Vees came on a one-time shot from the right face-off circle as Conner Hutchison was fed from the left point and put the puck towards goal with Porter coming over and making a glove stop to keep the game in favour of the home side.
Vernon added an insurance marker late in the 3rd period at the 18:06 mark as Trey Taylor gave the Vipers a 2-0 advantage. Seiya Tanaka-Campbell cut in across the blue line and laid a pass ahead for Taylor, who was fighting a defender as he went to the net and beat the blocker side of Stankowski to give Vernon a 2-0 lead that would hold up for the eventual final score.
James Porter Jr. was the difference in the hockey game, turning aside all 42 shots he faced in his 2nd win of the season while Carl Stankowski stopped 20 of the 22 shots thrown his way in his 3rd loss of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 2-0 Vipers
SHOTS ON GOAL: 42-22 Vees
VEES PP: 0/1
VEES PK: 1/1
1) James Porter Jr. (42 save-shutout)
2) Seiya Tanaka-Campbell (1-1-2)
3) Matt Kowalski (0-2-2)
Fortis Energy Player of the Game: Brett Fudger (0-0-0)
The Vees (25-10-1-0) conclude their weekend home-and-home set with the Vernon Vipers (19-12-1-1) at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Saturday night. Puck drop is slated for 6:00 PM with tickets available for purchase at the SOEC Box Office as well as ValleyFirstTix.com.