The Vipers offensive caught fire thanks to three goals from Niko Karamanis as the Vernon Vipers shutdown the high octane Wenatchee Wild 7-1 in game 1 of their best of seven series.
The Vipers had a great first period as they brought the pace to the Wild. On a delayed penalty, Brett Stapley fresh off the bench found the captain Jagger Williamson back door for his 4th of the playoffs just past the three minute mark. The Vipers kept up the pace as they jumped out to a 9-1 shot advantage. Austin Park was tested often and looked very solid in the Wild goal. The Vipers would add to their lead late in the period as Alex Swetlikoff set up Coleton Bilodeau for his first of the playoffs to give the Vipers a 2-0 lead after 1 period. Shots finished 15-6 in favour of the home side.
The Vipers weathered a push from the Wild in the middle period. The Vipers were able to increase their lead thanks to Alex Swetlikoff who tracked down a rebound in front of the goal to make it 3-0 with his first of the playoffs. The Wild then had the edge in shots, but again most were from the outside and Ty Taylor looked locked in not allowing much in the way of second and third chances. The Wild got a powerplay in an attempt to get back into it, but the Vipers had some timely saves and shot blocks and were able to kill it off. Jesse Lansdell put on a show shortly after with a fantastic individual effort to set up Niko Karamanis for this 3rd of the playoffs to give the Vipers a 4-0 lead after 2 periods.
The Wild got on the board early in the 3rd as Sam Morton potted home his first of the playoffs just 21 seconds in. The Vipers didn’t stray from their game plan for long as Niko Karamanis finished off a nice 2 on 1 set up again by Jesse Lansdell to make it 5-1. Karamanis added his hat trick goal 2 minutes later, again off a pass from Lansdell to make it 6-1. The Vipers powerplay was put to good use as Cameron Trott rifled home his 2nd of the playoffs to make it 7-1. After that, the Vipers locked it in defensively and got some nice saves from Ty Taylor as they skated away with a game 1 win, 7-1.
Game 2 of the series goes Saturday night at Kal Tire Place with a 6pm puck drop.