Brett Stapley rang up a hat trick and the Vipers offense exploded in the regular season finale defeating the Trail Smoke Eaters 8-3 at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers came out with a strong effort in the first period and used their powerplay to get on the board. After a missed chance for Trail while shorthanded, Jagger Williamson set up Jesse Lansdell to make it 1-0 with his 17th of the year. The Viper powerplay would get another shot and after a handful of important plays to keep a puck onside Niko Karmanis teed up a shot from the slot to make it 2-0. The Vipers dominated the shot clock lead 19-4 in that department and had a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Smokies struck early in the second as a penalty was expiring, Andre Ghantous sprung himself on a breakaway and snapped home his 19th of the year to make it 2-1. Shortly after that Jimmy Lambert stole a puck along the wall and lobbed a back hand at the net that was deflected home by Brett Stapley to make it a 3-1 game. The Smokies got their first powerplay of the game, but it worked to Vernon’s benefit as Lambert set up Stapley again to make it 4-1. Just under a minute later, Karamanis sent Mokhtari away on a shorthanded break and made no mistake to make it 5-1. Trail goaltender Tanner Marshall made some spectacular saves in the last half of the period and his offense helped out as well as late in the period, Daine Dubois cut the deficit to 5-2 with his 6th of the year. That’s the way the 2nd period would finish.
With the finish line of the regular season in sight, the Vipers added to their lead as Jimmy Lambert ripped home his 23rd of the year on a partial breakaway to make it 6-2. Mitch Andres added another powerplay marker with his 3rd of the year making it 7-2. Levi Glasman tipped in a powerplay goal for his 24th of the year making it 7-3 at the 12 minute mark of the frame. Brett Stapley finished off his hat trick performance following a great set up from Jimmy Lambert and the game finished 8-3.
The Vipers will start the BCHL postseason against Salmon Arm starting Friday and Saturday for games 1 and 2. Note the start times as both games will be at 7pm.
Playoff tickets go on sale Monday at the Viper office.