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Vees bit by Vipers in Game 1
Colton Sparrow put a dagger into the Penticton Vees in Game 1 of the Interior Division finals by netting the 4-3 game winner.
Sparrow did so when he flew down the left side, and was able to get by a couple of Vees defenders then tucked a backhand between the legs of Vees goalie Hunter Miska who did his best to stop the puck. Sparrowls goal came just under three minutes after Vees captain Brad McClure cut the Vipers lead to 3-2.
The game started on the right foot for the Vees as Ben Dalpe scored on their first shot sending a long wrist shot over the blocker side shoulder of Austin Smith 29 seconds in.
The game started its shift just as early when Dylan Chanter scored 26 seconds into the second period. Thirty-seven seconds later the Vipers had a lead when Liam Coughlin beat starter Olivier Mantha. Mantha's night ended after 24 minutes and 37 seconds when Michael McNicholas took advantage of a Vees turnover the make it 3-1. The shots were 16-6 in the Vees' favour after the second period.
After McClure's goal, Max Coatta, making his playoff debut, beat Smith with a low shot past his glove hand. The Vees continued to pressure but they couldn't beat Smith, who earned the game's first star. He finished with 27 saves, while Mantha and Miska combined to make 14.
"I thought we played a pretty good game," said McClure. "We just let off for 10 minutes."
McClure added that the group kept pushing forward after his goal.
Vipers captain Ryan Renz said they gave the Vees good chances. The Vipers captain added that they made a point to be more physical in the second period, while pressuring the Vees defence and forecheck. Renz said by doing that allowed them to create more chances.
Game 2 is tonight at the SOEC at 6 p.m.
In other BCHL playoff action, Cody Boyd scored a pair of goals in the third period to lift the Coquitlam Express to a 4-2 road win over the Langley Rivermen in Game 1 of the Mainland Division finals. Canon Pieper and Cameron Bertsch exchanged goals in the first and Ryan Rosenthal and Boyd put the Express up a pair in the third. James Robinson had the final Rivermen goal, but Boyd added the insurance for Coquitlam. Gordie Defiel made 36 saves for the win.
After surrendering the opening goal to Powell River's Kurt Keats, the Victoria Grizzlies responded with four unanswered tallies in a 4-1 home win over the Kings. Kevin Massy tied the game in the first with Myles Fitzgerald, Leo Fitzgerald and Jesse Schwartz adding on in the second. Victoria held the Kings to 14 shots on goal and lead the Island Division finals 1-0.