The first goal Salmon Arm netminder Angus Redmond gave up against the Vernon Vipers in more than eight periods, he never saw.
The second shot that beat him, Redmond never had a chance.
T.J. Dumonceaux one-timed a Thomas Aldworth beauty of a pass from the slot past a helpless Redmond at 18:12 of the third period Friday, lifting the Vipers to a huge 2-1 win over the visiting Silverbacks in B.C. Hockey League action in front of 2,362 fans at Kal Tire Place.
“TJ just came down the left side, was driving to the middle, he chipped it, making a really good play,” said Aldworth of Dumonceaux’s 24th goal of the year. “I picked it up and I heard him yelling for the pass back-door so I spun around and luckily it found his stick and he put it in.”
The win moved second-place Vernon 12 points ahead of the Gorillas, who had a six-game winning streak snapped, and the Merritt Centennials in the Interior Division.
Vernon played host to the Island Division champion Nanaimo Clippers Saturday night. The Clippers fell 4-2 Friday in Penticton.
The Cents, 4-2 winners Friday in Powell River, and Salmon Arm both have 58 points with Merritt holding a game in hand.
West Kelowna, 8-7 overtime losers at home to Trail Friday, is fifth with 56 points.
The Silverbacks, who shut out the Vipers 3-0 and 1-0 in a home-and-home series Jan. 30 and 31, opened Friday’s scoring.
Three seconds after Dumonceaux was whistled for roughing Redmond, Ross Heidt won the ensuring face-off draw in the Vernon end cleanly to towering defenceman Phil Middleton at the left point.
The Vail, Col. native sent a wrist shot that found its way through the legs of Vipers goalie Danny Todosychuk for Middleton’s eighth goal of the year at 13:24 of the opening frame.
The goal held up through two periods, and extended Salmon Arm’s and Redmond’s shutout streak against Vernon to 160 minutes, though the Vipers thought they had equalized early in the second on a power play.
Luke Shiplo’s point shot hit Vernon native Jordan Burns in the back and the puck was headed toward the goal line. Though the puck was covered by Redmond, the red light went on but, after talking with his linesmen about the play, referee Duncan Brow declared no goal.
With Brandon Wagner in the penalty box for hooking just over a minute into the third period, Shiplo got another shot from the point on a powerplay. Dumonceaux and Liam Coughlin created havoc in front and Redmond never saw the puck go past him as the Vipers tied the contest at 1:53.
“Our powerplay was going tonight and we had some chances throughout the entire game,” said Shiplo, who thought Dumonceaux might get credit for the goal. “It might have gone off T.J. but it doesn’t matter how it went in.”
Redmond had stopped 80 consecutive Vernon shots, including Dumonceaux and Coughlin from in-close on the same powerplay before Shiplo’s sixth goal of the season, over eight-plus periods – 161 minutes and 53 seconds of action – in the teams’ last three meetings.
“I thought it was a playoff-like game tonight,” said Silverbacks’ head coach Brandon West. “It was really tight-checking, limited chances for and against for both teams. I thought they carried the play, especially in the third period. When you sit on your heels against a really good hockey club, they’re going to score on you or make you play a lot of defence.”
Salmon Arm lost not only game but arguably its MVP, possibly for the rest of the year. Defenceman Andrew Farny, who has a scholarship to Air Force, suffered a serious cut to the back of his leg above his skate boot in a second-period collision with Viper forward Colton McCarthy.
A blood trail could be seen from the blueline in front of the Silverback bench to the gate at the bench.
Farny, from Steamboat Springs, Col., who has 14 goals and 47 points in all 53 Salmon Arm games, was taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital for treatment and the severity of his injury was not known after the game.
Burns has been Farny’s blueline partner since arriving in Salmon Arm in a mid-season deal with the Powell River Kings.
“It will be a serious loss for us if he’s out for any extended period of time,” said Burns. “He’s an offensive guy and good skater, he and I like to work the puck back and forth and he’s got a good shot from the point.”
Added West on the injury: “I know it’s a real deep cut on the back of his leg. We’re just hoping and praying he has a speedy recovery and that nothing is damaged near the achilles (tendon).”
The two teams have each won three games in the season series and there has been one tie. The two rivals, who could meet in the first round of the playoffs, will tangle one final time Saturday at the Shaw Centre.
SNAKE BITES: On Friday the 13th, neither team had a player wearing No. 13…Anthony Latina, Blaine Caton and Luke Voltin were Viper scratches. Vernon product Logan Mick, Jack Berezan and Anthony Gardner were scratched from the Salmon Arm lineup.