Thomas Aldworth recorded his third hat trick of the season as the Vernon Vipers rallied to upend the West Kelowna Warriors 6-3 in a wild B.C. Hockey League tilt Friday night at Kal Tire Place.
With Vernon trailing 3-1, Aldworth pulled his team within a goal with a sneaky wraparound on Warriors’ netminder Andy Desautels late in period two. The hard-skating Texan then earned the equalizer 3:23 into the third frame by tapping home the rebound of TJ Dumonceaux’s shot from the left circle.
Aldworth’s 32 snipes are second-best in the BCHL. The Vipers will face the league No. 1 in Corey Makin (38 goals) when he and the Coquitlam Express visit the Big Wheel Saturday night.
Aldworth opened Vernon’s account on a second-period 5-on-3 man advantage after singles by Liam Blackburn and Josh Bly had the Warriors leading 2-0 earlier in the frame.
Brayden Gelsinger recorded West Kelowna’s other goal in the second period, while third-period strikes by Blaine Caton, Liam Finlay and Luke Voltin, with an empty netter, capped Vernon’s attack.
Vernon’s Danny Todosychuk made several tremendous stretch saves among his 27 stops. Desautels stopped Aldworth on a pair of first-period breakaways, and finished with 31 saves.
The Vipers, winners of five straight, have a comfortable hold of second place in the Interior at 27-11-1-2. The Warriors (21-16-0-5) slipped to fourth after they were overtaken by the Merritt Centennials (23-15-0-2), 4-1 winners over the league-leading Penticton Vees Friday.
Check out Sunday sports in the Morning Star for a full rundown of Friday’s action.