Vipers 4-0 headed to Showcase

The Vernon Vipers are 4-0 heading into the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.

High after a 5-1 win over the Wenatchee Wild Saturday night before 2,619 fans at the Town Toyota Centre, the Vernon Vipers now turn their attention to the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.

The Snakes face the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (1-2) Thursday night and battle the Powell River Kings (3-0-0-1) in a Friday matinee. More than 200 college and pro scouts will be in attendance.

Brett Stapley scored twice and former Wild goalie Anthony Yamnitsky recorded 36 saves as the Vipers improved to 4-0. Wenatchee did not lose a game in regulation at home last year.

“We talked before the game about this being a good hockey team in Wenatchee and our guys were pretty focussed and ready to go,” said Viper head coach Mark Ferner. “Our kids played hard and Anthony was great in net. All four lines worked hard and our dee was great and moved pucks by guys. I’m proud of our group.”

Wenatchee outshot Vernon 9-6 in a scoreless first period. The Vipers struck first early in the second stanza with goals 1:44 apart.

Jimmy Lambert made a nifty move and went backhand under the crossbar after taking a slap pass from d-man Chris Jandric at 2:47.

Alex Swetlikoff converted on a two-on-one with Josh Prokop to make it 2-0 before Jasper Weatherby replied seven minutes later for the Wild after Yamnitsky recorded two big saves.

The Vipers went in front by a deuce 22 seconds into the third period on a powerplay when Lambert sped to the right corner, retrieved a set-play dump in and fed Stapley for his second snipe of the season.

Speedster Keyvan Mokhtari managed his first as a Viper by using his wheels for a shorthanded tally at 5:10.

Stapley tipped in a shot by blueliner Shane Kelly to finish the offence with 4:02 remaining. Tanner Wishnowski drew the secondary assist.

“It was a lot different than Merritt (2-0 on small ice Friday) playing on the big ice surface,” said Viper captain Jagger Williamson, who turned 19 Monday. “We’ve got speed and skill and we used that to our advantage. He (Yamnitsky) made some really, really big saves; he was on fire.”

SNAKE BITES: The Vipers went 10-for-10 on the penalty kill, ending the weekend 18-for-18…Jandric (2A and dynamic defensive play) took first star ahead of Yamnitsky and Wild F Lucas Sowder…D Sol Seibel (injured) and rookie forwards Coleton Bilodeau and Connor Marritt were the Viper scratches…Viper alternate captain Jesse Lansdell and Weatherby tangled in the game’s only scrap late in the third, a spirited affair with Lansdell winning a close decision…Powell River leads the league with 27 goals in four games, putting up 18 in two weekend wins…Vernon’s Cole Woodliffe scored once as the Weyburn Red Wings clipped the host Yorkton Terriers 3-2 in overtime Sunday…The Princeton Posse shut out the North Okanagan Knights 4-0 in KIJHL play Saturday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre.

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