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Vipers Kick Off 2019 With 4-3 Win Over West K

Vernon, BC:  Brendan Kim had a pair of goals and Aidan Porter stopped 32 shots as the Vernon Vipers edged the West Kelowna Warriors 4-3.

This was an entertaining one from start to finish as the opening 20 minutes was played at a frenetic pace.  There was a total of 28 shots with only one of those finding the back of the net.  The Vipers hit a goal post in the first minute, the first of four goal posts they would hit on the night.  Connor Hopkins made 4-5 fantastic saves as the Vipers were able to generate some great opportunities off the rush.  The Warrior forecheck caused some havoc forcing Aidan Porter into action stopping all 14 shots he faced in the period.  The Vipers got on the board late in the first as a breakout resulted in a Josh Latta goal as he finished off a nice passing play from Connor Marritt and Matt Kowalski.  That score would hold up after 20 minutes.

In the second, the Vipers continued to press, but it was the Warriors drawing even as Cavin Tilsley found Bennett Norlin in front of the net and he slipped home the tying goal.  The Vipers powerplay restored the lead as Brendan Kim snuck in from the left side to finish off a pass from Connor Marritt to make it 2-1.  The Vipers hit a pair of goal posts in the middle period, but always had some clutch work while shorthanded as they killed off a 5 on 3 and then the 5 on 4 penalties.  The Vipers outshot West K 16-10 in the middle period, but couldn’t increase their lead by more than 1, it was 2-1 after 2.

The Vipers were able to find some separation early in the third as Coleton Bilodeau finished off another great passing sequence as Nick Cherkowski laid out a brilliant pass to make it 3-1 in the first minute of the period.  The Vipers capitalized on turnover shortly after that as Brendan Kim kept on a 2 on 1 and ripped home his second of the night to give the Vipers a 4-1 lead.  The Warrirors cut the deficit to two as Parm Dhaliwal deflect home a centering pass to make it 4-2.  The Vipers had two chances on powerplays to extend their leads, but couldn’t find the twine.  The Warriors used that momentum to get the game within one as Chase Dubois was sprung on a breakaway and snapped home a wrister to make it 4-3.  The Vipers defended well the last 6 minutes to keep the Warriors from getting the game tied as the final buzzer sounded for the home side to skate away with a victory.

Here’s the scoring summary:

1ST PERIOD

VER – Josh Latta (14) – Connor Marritt (15), Matt Kowalski (18) – 15:21

2ND PERIOD

WK – Bennett Norlin (17) – Cavin Tilsley (12), Sam Anderson (3) – 3:59

VER – Brendan Kim (3) – Connor Marritt (16), Josh Latta (11) – 5:54 (PP)

3RD PERIOD

VER – Coleton Bilodeau (5) – Nick Cherkowski (6), Elan Bar-Lev-Wise (14) – 0:23

VER – Brendan Kim (4) – unassisted – 5:40

WK – Parm Dhaliwal (11) – Lucas Cullen (12) – 7:23

WK – Chase Dubois (17) – Mike Hardman (23) – 13:32

The Vipers will welcome the Merritt Centennials to Kal Tire Place for Aussie night, Saturday night.  Puck drop is 6pm