West Kelowna Warriors rally to beat Vernon Vipers

Conner Sodergren scores winner 29 seconds into overtime as defending Royal Bank Cup champs score 3-2 win in West Kelowna

Brett Stapley

Brett Stapley

For the second time in three meetings – all at Royal LePage Place – the West Kelowna Warriors got the better of the Vernon Vipers.

Conner Sodergren scored 29 seconds into overtime to cap a rally from a 2-0 first-period deficit, lifting the reigning Royal Bank Cup champion Warriors to a 3-2 B.C. Hockey League win Friday night in front of 966 fans.

The Vipers (11-11-3-0) take on the Cowichan Valley Capitals (12-10-2-1) today at 2 in an afternoon tilt at Kal Tire Place.

“It was a good start for us, then we fell asleep for two periods,” said Vernon head coach Mark Ferner. “We made a bad change on the winner, gave them an odd-man rush, they threw it at the net, puck hit a body and went in.”

Brett Stapley, with his second of the season, opened the scoring for Vernon at 11:10 of the opening period.

Steven Jandric, with his team-leading 10th, on a powerplay, stretched the Vernon lead to 2-0 five minutes later. Stapley finished with 1+1.

The Vipers outshot West Kelowna 16-5 in the opening 20 minutes.

The Warriors (10-11-1-0) reversed that trend in the second period, outshooting Vernon 14-4 and getting the only goal from Chase Dubois at 10:32 on a powerplay.

Michael Ryan forced overtime with a goal midway through the final period.

West Kelowna outshot Vernon 18-13 in the third, and 39-36 overall.

Shane Farkas (6-5) collected the win in goal while Ty Taylor (8-6) took the loss for the Vipers, who used the single point to move into a tie for second in the Interior Division with the Trail Smoke Eaters, 2-1 losers Friday in Powell River.

Vernon and Trail are 13 points back of the league-leading Penticton Vees, and two points ahead of fourth-place Merritt.

The Warriors moved into fifth place in the Interior, one point ahead of Salmon Arm and two back of the Centennials.

Vernon and West Kelowna will play four more times this season, including three times at Kal Tire Place.

The Silverbacks hosted Cowichan Saturday. The Capitals, third in the Island Division, began their three-game weekend road swing Friday with a 6-2 loss to the Chiefs in Chilliwack.

Vernon’s Powell Connor had an assist for the Chiefs.

Vernon’s Spencer Hewson had the lone goal for Nanaimo Friday in a 6-1 loss to the Spruce Kings in Prince George.