Texan Thomas Aldworth pulled the hat trick as the Vernon Vipers stuffed the Surrey Eagles 9-0 in B.C. Hockey League play before 1,475 fans Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place.
The Eagles, who have 13 rookies on their roster in a rebuilding year, gave up six goals on 18 shots in the first period.
Christian Shortt started in the Surrey net after being on injured reserve for almost seven weeks. The 19-year-old Ontario product, who recorded some stellar games earlier this season, was relieved briefly by 16-year-old Daniel Davidson after Vernon went ahead 3-0 just seven minutes in. Shortt played the final 40 minutes, earning a shutout in the third period.
The Vipers, coming off an 8-2 thumping to the host Nanaimo Clippers in a Sunday matinee, got 2+1 from alternate captain T.J. Dumonceaux, 1+2 from Liam Finlay and other goals from d-man Mitch Meek, Jagger Williamson and Riley Brandt.
Jarrod Schamerhorn pocketed the shutout with 33 saves, including a dozen in the evenly-played third period. Vernon went 1-for-4 on the powerplay, while Surrey did not enjoy a man-advantage opportunity.
The Eagles, who made the return bus trip in the same day, looked decent in the early going but lost energy forward Spencer Meyer at 4:01 after he checked Brandt from behind into the side boards in Vernon’s zone. That left Surrey with 10 forwards, including two 17-year-old affiliates. Meyer, who turns 19 in January, joined Surrey 16 games ago after playing 32 games with three teams in the Western League.
Vernon, not wishing to run up the score, played their young rookies a lot in the third period, trying hard to set up Linden Hora for his first career snipe.
The Vipers, who are 9-2 in their last 11 games, improved to 21-9-1-2, 10 points behind the Interior Division leading Penticton Vees, 5-1 losers to the Merritt Centennials Wednesday night at the Nicola Valley Arena. Jonah Imoo made 33 saves as the Cents (17-13-0-2) moved within three points of the third-place West Kelowna Warriors.
Vernon visits Merritt Friday night and then entertain the Powell River Kings Saturday night before taking a two-week Christmas break.
The Eagles dropped to 4-25-0-3, last in the 16-team BCHL. The Eagles have produced just 76 goals. Surrey hosts the Prince George Spruce Kings Friday night.