BCHL PLAYOFFS – Vipers clip Vees to go up 2-0

The Vernon Vipers knew the Penticton Vees would redouble their efforts after their dismal performance in Game 1 of their best-of-seven B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference finals. But they didn’t flinch, even when Vees’ defenceman Bo Dolan pegged Penticton to an early lead with a point shot through traffic in Game 2 Saturday night at Wesbild Centre.

Instead, the Vipers turned to their relentless forecheck, wreaking havoc in the Vees’ zone and wearing down their defenders. Proving that the series opener was more an aberration than anything, the two talented teams went to overtime, with Viper veteran Robbie Short pocketing the winner as the Vipers clipped Penticton 3-2 before 1,850 fans.

The Vipers’ Jonathan Milhouse orchestrated the play, making a clever chip pass to send Short in behind Penticton’s defence, after which the stocky Vernon product beat netminder Sean Bonar with a quick shot blocker side.

Both netminders were stellar in this one, with Bonar collecting third star with a 33-save showing. While not as busy, Graeme Gordon looked equally sharp in facing 20 Penticton shots.

The recently reunited line of Sahir Gill and twins Connor and Kellen Jones accounted for the rest of Vernon’s offence. Gill put Vernon on the board midway through the first period, finishing a gorgeous three-way passing play that looked like it could have come from an EA Sports video game.

Gill’s hit on Andrew Pickering in the corner was the catalyst for the other goal, as Kellen scooped up the loose puck, wheeled behind Penticton’s net and spotted Connor in the slot for a one-timer later in the period.

The Vees responded 39 seconds into the second period as Derik Johnson one-timed a quick feed from Eric Filiou to silence the Wesbild crowd.

Meanwhile, the Powell River Kings have mugged the Alberni Valley Bulldogs two nights in a row, stealing a 3-2 OT win in Game 2 of the Coastal Conference final Saturday night at Weyerhauser Arena in Port Alberni.

Trailing by a goal after 40 minutes, the King’s Reid Campbell netted a powerplay goal at 6:28 of the third period to force the extra frame. Mitch McMillan collected the winner at 8:38 as the Kings take a 2-0 series lead back to Powell River.

Check out Wednesday’s sports section in the Morning Star for more in depth analysis of Game 2.