The Vernon Vipers will enter the Christmas break with a bit of a cushion in second place in the B.C. Hockey League’s Interior Division thanks to a 5-2 win over the Powell River Kings Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.
The Snakes improved to 22-10-1-2 and are six points clear of the West Kelowna Warriors (18-12-0-5), who fell 7-2 at home to the Penticton Vees Friday.
Leading the Viper attack was 20-year-old forward TJ Dumonceaux (first star), who fired the winner 13:56 into the second period, and added insurance four minutes into period three. Liam Coughlin (third star) set up both goals, the first with a sweet backhander to the front of the net, where Dumonceaux was able to pounce on a rebound.
Vernon outshot Powell River 49-25, and had already fired seven pucks at netminder Stefan Wornig by the three-minute mark. However, the Kings (15-12-0-7) opened the scoring with their first shot of the game at 4:23 when Jarid Lukosevicius ripped a shot past Jarrod Schamerhorn from the high slot.
Thomas Aldworth replied later in the first on a Viper rush with Coughlin, using a great release to beat Wornig high gloveside.
The momentum really swung in Vernon’s favour after they killed off a charging minor to Riley Brandt early in period two. On the next shift, forward Luke Voltin charged into the Kings’ zone and fired a beauty toe-drag-snapshot to give the Vipers their first lead.
Lukosevicius wired his second of the night with a slick top-shelf snipe through traffic during a powerplay midway through the third period.
Less than a minute later, Liam Finlay redirected Aldworth’s shot in front of Wornig to complete the scoring at 11:12.
Schamerhorn recorded 23 saves for his 15th win. Wornig made 44 stops for the Kings.
Vernon returns to action against the Penticton Vees (28-5-2-1) Friday, Jan. 2, at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Check out Wednesday sports in The Morning Star for a recap of Saturday’s action.