Penticton, BC: Max Palaga turned aside 33 of 34 saves including 10 in the final period, but it wasn’t enough as the Vernon Vipers fell 1-0 to the Penticton Vees at the BCHL Showcase Festival.
The Vipers penalty kill was a key point in this hockey game and was needed right away The Vees had a great chance early in the man advantage but Lukas Sillinger clanked one off the goal post. It was the Max Palaga show from there as he and the rest of the penalty killers killed the remainder. Connor Marritt had the Vipers best chance to score shortly after the penalty expired, but Yaniv Perets flashed the leather to keep it scoreless. Matt Kowalski would get a nice chance on an individual effort, but couldn’t lift it over the shoulder of Perets. Palaga stopped 11 of 12 in the period. The only one to get behind him was a Cade Webber breakaway that squeaked under his left pad to make it 1-0 late the period.
Again the Vipers penalty kill had to come up big early in a period as the Vees worked the puck around well, but the PK unit from the goalie out were strong to kill it off. The Vees put another 12 shots in the middle period that Palaga was perfect on. His best of the period came on a centering pass from his right to left flashed the glove to rob Sillinger and keep it 1-0 after 2.
The Vipers pushed in the third after weathering a flurry of Penticton chances. Logan Cash had a great chance to tie the game on a wrap around but Perets kept the left pad up against the post to keep it 1-0. With Palaga on the bench for the extra attacker again the Vipers pushed but simply ran out of town as the final buzzer sounded.
The Vipers are back in action Saturday at 4pm when they take on the West Kelowna Warriors for the 2nd of 7 meetings