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Vipers With Big Rally to Force OT, Smokies Prevail in Extra Time

Vernon, BC:  The Vernon Vipers scored two goals in 31 seconds in the final minute of regulation to force overtime, but Owen Ozar scored 12 seconds into the extra period as the Vipers fell 5-4 in Game 2 of the best of seven series.

In the first the Vipers PK was thrust into action early as they had to kill off a 5 on 3 for the second straight night.  For the second straight night the Vipers PK was the difference as they erased those man advantages.  The period was penalty filled as both teams found themselves in the box.  The Vipers were the next on the PP, but couldn’t find the back of the net.  The Smokies opened the scoring as Braeden Tuck tapped in a back door pass at the left post to make it 1-0.  Shortly after, the Vipers found themselves on the powerplay as it was expiring, Teddy Wooding tapped in a centering pass from Carver Watson to tie it at 1.  The Vipers went back to the powerplay in the final minute and a slap shot from Michael Young was redirected in by Matt Kowalski to give the Vipers a 2-1 lead after 1.

In the second period, Carter Jones nearly tied the game up but rang a shot off the cross bar.  Ben Sanderson had a chance shortly after and he hit the goal post on the blocker side of Donovan Buskey.  The Smoke Eaters equalized on a scramble in the Vipers zone as the puck bounced off the post, sat in the crease and Trevor Zins jumped in to deposit it into the goal to make it 2-2 after 2 periods.

The Vipers had a lot of pressure in the third, but weren’t rewarded for that effort as the Smoke Eaters took a lead as Braeden Tuck set up Carter Jones for a tap in to make it 3-2.  Shortly after that, Kyle Budvarson’s seeing eye wrist shot made it 4-2.  The Vipers had to work hard to generate much as the Smokies tightened up.  It wasn’t until the final minute where the Vipers chipped in.  With the game 4 on 4, the Vipers pulled Porter and Connor Marritt tipped in a shot from the high slot to make it 4-3 with just over a minute left.  On the next shift the Vipers utilized the goalie pull to perfection as Michael Young let a rocket go from the left circle that found its way through Donovan Buskey to make it 4-4 with just 36 seconds left to force overtime.

In overtime it takes just a shot and thats exactly what happened as Owen Ozar walked into the Vipers zone and snapped a laser to the blocker side of Porter to give the Smoke Eaters the 5-4 win and a 2-0 series lead.

The series now moves to Trail for games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday night from the Trail Memorial Centre.