At one point, it looked like neither team was going to score, with some fantastic goaltending and a few goalposts on display. It was an early 3rd period marker from Jimmy Lambert that proved to be the difference and Darion Hanson stopped all 26 shots put his way as the Vipers opened the Interior Division Semi-Final with a 2-0 win over the Trail Smoke Eaters.
A relatively uneventful first period saw the Vipers jump out to an 8-2 shot advantage around the media timeout. The momentum swayed back in the Smokie favour for a handful of minutes but neither team was able to get on the board as it was scoreless after 1.
The Vipers had a really good effort in the 2nd period and controlled the play for a good chunk of it. Darion Hanson made a crucial save early on a deflection and combined with a strong looking powerplay, the Vipers took over in shots and scoring chances. Linden Marshall was spectacular stopping all 15 shots in the period, two of the highlight reel variety. Emotions ran high late in the period as the Smokies tried their luck on two late powerplays. The PK was up to the challenge and the period would end scoreless.
After another successful PK the Vipers were able to finally get one passed Marshall on their 31st shot of the game as Jimmy Lambert went against convention and ripped one short side, just inside the post to open the scoring. The period became more methodical as the Vipers clogged up the neutral zone slowing up the Smoke Eaters through the neutral zone. Hanson stood on his head stopping 11 shots before Steven Jandric sealed the game into an empty net.
Game 2 between these teams goes 7pm at Kal Tire Place. The Vipers will look to continue to improve as they looked a little rusty at times with the 20 day lay off.
The Vipers coaching staff will most likely continue to roll 4 lines as they did in Game 1.
The Smoke Eaters offense was stymied for the first time in the playoffs, not only being shut out, but heading into the series they hadn’t scored fewer than 4 goals.
You can catch all the playoff action of game 2 starting at 6:45 with the pregame show on 107.5 KissFM and on HockeyTV