Vernon, BC: The Vipers continued their strong start to 2019 thanks to two even strength goals, a powerplay marker and a shorthanded goal as they defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 4-1 at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers pushed the pace early on generating a number of good opportunities from Latta, Bilodeau and Ben Sanderson, just to name a few. Matthew Armitage was solid early on keeping the Vipers at bay. Not to be out down, Aidan Porter stopped Justin Wilson and Matthew Verboon to keep the game scoreless. The Vipers struck first as Coleton Bilodeau blocked a shot and sent himself away on a breakaway. After a slick deke, he ripped the puck upstairs to make it 1-0. Shortly after, the Vipers found themselves shorthanded, but turned the tide as Connor Marritt set up Josh Latta who ripped home a low shot for the shorthanded goal to make it 2-0. On the same powerplay, Matthew Verboon scored to make it 2-1 after 20 minutes.
The Vipers essentially dominated the middle frame outshooting Salmon Arm 13-3. The Backs registered just one shot through the first 14 minutes of the period. The Vipers generated a number of great opportunities. They used the man advantage to increase their lead after a weird sequence led to a puck squeaking across the line. Connor Marritt would get credit as he was the last Viper to touch it. The powerplay goal made it 3-1 Vernon.
In the third, the Silverbacks pushed the pace early on thanks to a broken stick. The Vipers survived the early onslaught and tightened up their defensive end. Their defensive play really stood out in the third, keeping the Silverbacks in the two goal deficit. The Silverbacks had a powerplay chance, that the Viper PK killed off successfully. Following the kill, Nick Cherkowski set up Elan Barlevwise to make it 4-1. From there, the Vipers kept the puck far from their net. When there were chances, Porter was up to the challenge and received a lot of help from the team when it came to shot blocking. The final buzzer sounded with the Vipers taking the 4-1 win.
Here’s the scoring summary:
VER – Coleton Bilodeau (6) – unassisted – 13:51
VER – Josh Latta (16) – Connor Marritt (19) – 16:50 (SHG)
SA – Matthew Verboon (14) – John Little (7), Akito Hirose (18) – 18:16 (PPG)
VER – Connor Marritt (8) – Josh Latta (14), Landon Fuller (3) – 8:26 (PPG)
VER – Elan Bar lev wise (4) – Nick Cherkowski (8) – 13:34
The Vipers will welcome the Powell River Kings on Sunday afternoon at 2pm.