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Preview: Vees look for rebound in Vernon

Penticton, BC: The Penticton Vees (33-14-2-2) will have to quickly put a frustrating overtime loss to the Vernon Vipers (23-19-7-3) behind them as they head to Kal Tire Place for the sixth and final meeting of the season Saturday night.

Friday, the Vees lead 2-0 heading into the third period before the Vipers rallied to tie the game with just 17 seconds left before winning the game in overtime.

Eric Linell’s 26th goal of the season gave the Vees a 1-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes as he jumped on a loose puck following Peter Muzyka’s point shot. The goal ended an eight-game drought for the high-scoring winger.

Muzyka was then ejected from the game in the second period after levelling Ben Helgeson with an open-ice hit in-between the two benches. Muzyka was given a five-minute blow to the head penalty and a game misconduct.

The Vipers couldn’t score on the major, nor the minor penalty the Vees took shortly after, before Penticton went back to the man advantage.

Mason Snell’s centring feed from the left circle went off a Vipers skate and into the net for his fifth of the year, extending Penticton’s lead to 2-0 after two periods.

The Vipers comeback began early in the third following an undisciplined penalty in the offensive zone. Jack Judson ended a 0-for-33 power play drought for the Vipers 4:30 into the third to cut the lead to 2-1.

With the net empty and time running out, the Vipers held the Vees in their own zone for well over a minute before finding the back of the net as Lane Zablocki found a loose puck on Jack LaFontaine’s glove side with 17 seconds to go.

In overtime the two teams traded chances before the Vees defence was caught sleeping. Zablocki was behind the two Vees defenders, took a stretch pass and came in on a breakaway, sliding the puck past the left pad of LaFontaine to end the game.

The sixth and final meeting of the season series goes Saturday in Vernon for a 6:00 start. Penticton will look to finish the season series with a 4-1-1 record against the Vipers.

The Vees are 14-1-1 following a loss so far this season.

Team Statistics

Leading Scorers

Penticton Vees

James Miller – 18G 38A 51GP

Eric Linell – 26G 27A 53GP

David Silye – 15G 35A 47GP

Vernon Vipers

Josh Latta – 19G 20A 47GP

Matt Kowalski – 11G 23A 48GP

Teddy Wooding – 16G 17A 49GP

Special Teams

Penticton Vees

Power Play – 19.0 per cent (13th in BCHL)

Penalty Kill – 80.5 per cent (8th in BCHL)

Vernon Vipers

Power Play – 18.4 per cent (16th in BCHL)

Penalty Kill – 82.0 per cent (7th in BCHL)

Season Series

October 5, 2018 – Vees 3 vs Vipers 0 Boxscore

October 6, 2018 – Vees 1 @ Vipers 2 Boxscore

November 7, 2018 – Vees 3 @ Vipers 2 OT Boxscore

December 19, 2018 – Vees 2 vs Vipers 1 Boxscore

February 8, 2019 – Vees 2 vs Vipers 3 OT Boxscore

February 9, 2019 – Vees @ Vipers