Jimmy Lambert of the Vipers battles Joshua Bruce of the Powell River Kings Saturday night at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)

Vipers shut down Kings

The Vernon Vipers shut down the Powell River Kings 2-0 in B.C. Hockey League play Saturday night

Jimmy Lambert is checking out the Ohio State Buckeyes campus. Josh Prokop is touring the UConn campus Huskies today and the Quinnipiac Bobcats Wednesday before visiting three more NCAA schools next week.

Those two starry Vernon Viper forwards are expected to commit to Division 1 universities soon. You can count on goalie Ty Taylor to earn some flydowns pretty quick here.

Taylor, a towering 18-year-old out of Richmond, garnered first star with a stellar 35-save showing as the Vipers shut down the Powell River Kings 2-0 in B.C. Hockey League play before 1,714 fans Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.

Taylor, also named first star in a 4-1 win over the Nanaimo Clippers Friday night, is undefeated with six wins and two ties. He has a 1.80 GAA and a .935 save percentage.

“He’s coming now,” said Vernon captain Jagger Williamson, of the sophomore net detective who was rated by NHL Central Scouting Bureau a year ago. “That’s what we expect out of him; he’s a hell of a goalie. Those saves we need and to back us up in two wins like that and put up a zero, it’s confidence and that’s what he needs so it’s good.”

Taylor, who was wooed hard by the WHL Prince George Cougars last summer, says he feels in a zone while being well prepared for each outing.

“I feel good in there and I feel like I give our team a chance to win every game. This is a fun team to play on and they’ve really been helping me lots. I guess a year in the league helps me too.”

Rookie defenceman Jack Judson converted 18 seconds into a Kevin Obssuth minor penalty at 8:02 of the second period Saturday. Judson fired a wrister past net detective Mitch Adamyk from the right slot after a feed by Williamson. Tanner Wishnowski drew the secondary assist on Judson’s fifth.

Brett Stapley added security nine minutes later on a bizarre play where he and a few others ended up inside the Powell River net alongside Adamyk, with the puck over the line. Stapley was being held by Nathan Kelly and there was a delayed penalty call.

“I went down to kind of just block him (Stapley) from coming in,” said Adamyk, the No. 3 goalie in the league ahead of Taylor. “I felt like he ran into me and the puck went in and I felt it was goalie interference but I guess the ref saw it otherwise. I wasn’t too happy.”

Adamyk, who recorded 34 saves for third star, shot the puck into the crowd to show his disapproval of the call.

Williamson earned the Fortis Energy Player of the Game, while Stapley was second star.

The Kings pulled Adamyk for a sixth attacker in the final 90 seconds and Connor Marritt of Vernon in the penalty box. The Vipers played a four-man box beautifully, getting one huge shot block by d-man Sol Seibel on a howitzer from Carmine Buono at the left point.

The Vipers had the best chances in the opening 20 with Keyvan Mokhtari getting beat by Adamyk on a backhand and their fourth line of Coleton Bilodeau, Marritt and Adam Panacci applying solid pressure.

Lambert struck the crossbar from the deep slot on a powerplay midway through the third stanza, while Adamyk delivered a fabulous pad save off Stapley on a late powerplay.

Vernon was without F Jesse Lansdell (third game of four-game suspension), F Niko Karamanis (mild concussion) and F Finn Evans (left team for personal reasons). The Vipers lead the Interior Division at 9-3-0-2, one point in front of the Trail Smoke Eaters and two ahead of the West Kelowna Warriors.

“I thought the weekend was awesome,” said Williamson. “Obviously, Wednesday (loss in Wenatchee) wasn’t the effort we wanted and we responded really good against two tough teams. We played a full 60 minutes in both games and we’re gonna think of next weekend coming up.”

The fast, physical and hard forechecking-Kings shaded the Vipers 2-1 at the Bauer Showcase in Chilliwack last month.

Adamyk, a Corey Crawford fan out of Manitoba, felt the Kings lacked an offensive push and lost too many battles along the sidewalls on an off night.

“They’re (Vipers) very good defensively. They kind of clog up the middle and do a good job of pushing you to the outside. They have some firepower on the front end to put pucks in the net.”

Vernon hosts the Surrey Eagles Saturday (6:00) and visit the Smokies Sunday at 3 p.m.

Powell River, who occupy the Island Division penthouse at 8-3-1, lost 2-1 to the Trail Smoke Eaters in a Sunday matinee.

SNAKE BITES: The Smokies added 19-year-old D Trevor Zins to their roster Monday. Zins played the past two seasons with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids Roughriders. The six-footer is a commit of UMass-Lowell. The Smokies released D Karsten Jang and Olson Werenka and traded F Corbyn Chabot to the Drayton Valley Thunder of the AJHL for future considerations. Vernon’s Blaine Caton has 5-7-12 with Trail.

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