Vernon Coca Cola Vipers advanced to the Okanagan Mainline Tier 3 Midget Rep Hockey League regional final with a thrilling two games to one series win over the Merritt Centennials.
After dropping the opener at home Friday at the Priest Valley Arena, 5-1, (lone goal by Damian Coljee-Fehr, goalie Kieran Watts with 33 saves), the Vipers rallied on the road.
Facing a tough crowd and a piercing siren at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena Saturday, Vernon spotted the hosts a 1-0 lead before roaring back for a 3-1 victory.
Josh Evans was outstanding in goal while Joe Eggert scored all three goals for the Vipers.
In Sunday’s deciding game, Vernon jumped out to a 3-0 lead then held off the Centennials for a 3-2 decision.
Jacob Alexis, from Bryce Stillborn and Caden Bracken, Zach Agar and Bracken, from Lucas Halvorson, scored for Vernon. Evans picked up the win in net.
“Once again, the guys found a way to battle back and win the series after losing a tough first game at home,” said Coca Cola head coach Sam Mowat.
“Our backs were against the wall going into Merritt, but there was no quit. The team’s success to date is because the guys know how to work hard, stay focussed and believe in one another.”
Vernon Home Hardware Centre Vipers need a win in the Shuswap tonight to extend their Okanagan Mainline Midget Tier 2 rep hockey best-of-three playoff series.
Salmon Arm Silvertips rallied from a 4-0 first-period deficit Saturday at Civic Arena to stun the Vipers 6-5.
Two goals each from Jason Shaigec and Carl Main staked Vernon to the 4-0 lead, and the game seemed to be getting away from the Silvertips, who lost two players to game misconducts and their coach to an ejection.
But after a couple of ill-timed Vipers penalties, the Silvertips got one back on a powerplay later in the first period, then tied the game in the second.
Vernon took a 5-4 lead midway through the third on a goal from Connor Johnston, before the Silvertips scored twice in the final five minutes.
Vernon Nixon Wenger Tier 3 Pee Wees were swept in their best-of-three playoff series with the Penticton Vees.
Penticton took the opener 8-3. Bennett Kuhnlein, Jayden Veit, with an assist to Chris Reinhardt, had goals for Vernon.
Kuhnlein scored the Vipers’ only goal in a 7-1 game two loss. Cash Anderson and Maddux Minard drew assists.
In Atom C play, the Vernon H&L Glass Vipers fell 2-1 to Salmon Arm in a close, could-have-gone-either-way game.
Luke Walsh had the lone goal for Vernon.