Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vipers Lack Puck Luck In Loss:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers lack puck luck in loss

by Don Klepp | Added 2010-03-24

A 37-save performance by Sean Bonar highlighted a Penticton Vee 4-0 win over the visiting Vernon Vipers Tuesday.

Bonar was particularly sharp on deflections and scrambles around his net as the Vipers had several scoring chances in the first two periods. At the other end, Graeme Gordon did not have the puck bounce his way.

The Vipers opened the game with a flurry, spending much of the first five minutes in the Penticton zone. A Dan Nycholat shot beat Bonar and appeared to enter the net just under the crossbar where the bar meets the goalie’s left post, but neither the goal judge nor referee Jim Maniago noticed the strange way the puck exited. Also, they failed to register the fact that there was no pinging sound that would indicate the puck had hit iron.

Soon after, an innocent Matt Paltridge point shot eluded Graeme Gordon’s attempt at a stick save, and the Vees took the lead at 5:38 on the Vees’ first shot on goal. On the play, Denver Manderson recorded an assist, his first point of the series.

Manderson earned an assist on the next goal as well. He drove toward the Viper net and, like a magnet, he drew three Viper checkers. Out of the ensuing pileup, the puck squirted loose to Jake Johnson for an easy tap in at 11:12.

At 11:38, the Vipers swept the puck past a prone Sean Bonar, but Cole Ikkala was penalized for goaltender interference, nullifying the goal. The resulting power play gave the Vees some momentum, which they sustained for the next five or so minutes. However, the Vipers finished the period on a high note and had the overall territorial advantage in the opening 20 minutes, despite being down 2-0.

The lead was extended to 3-0 when a boxed-in Ryan Viselli shot from the corner and bounced the puck off Kevin Kraus past Gordon.

Again in the second period, the Vipers had the better scoring chances, but a lack of puck luck and two key saves by Bonar on Adam Thompson kept Vernon off the score sheet.

The third period was a desultory affair, as the Vees foiled Viper rushes with a solid defensive display. They blocked shots; they got sticks in passing lanes and they kept the Vipers to the outside for the most part. Many of the Vipers’ 13 shots came from the outside, as they tried to get pucks on net, hoping for rebounds.

Denver Manderson’s empty net goal at 18:49 officially put the game to bed for the Vees.

So, now the Vees have cut Vernon’s series lead to 2-1. With six wins in as many home playoff games, the Vees no doubt feel confident about their chances on home ice.

However, the Vipers have won two of four games in Penticton this year, so they also have reason for confidence. Game four will be Wednesday in Penticton and game five will be played in Vernon on Friday.

A healthy contingent of Viper fans made the trek to the South Okanagan for the game. Travelling the furthest distance were Blake Voth's parents from Saskatchewan and the exuberant Aussies in their yellow hard hats.

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