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Facchinelli plays hero as Vernon ekes past Salmon Arm, 5-4

The Vipers are now just one point back of the Silverbacks for third in the conference
Luke Pakulak (#29) scored on Saturday night to help lead his Vernon Vipers to a crucial 5-4 victory over rival Salmon Arm. (Vernon Vipers Photo)

In front of nearly 3,000 fans, Julian Facchinelli’s last minute marker in the third period sealed a 5-4 victory for the Vernon Vipers over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Saturday night BCHL action.

The Vipers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the opening frame, with goals from Luke Pakulak and Facchinelli on the power play.

In a ten second span, the Silverbacks were able to tie the game up, as Cole Cooksey and Tristan Allen scored, both off helpers from Maddux Martin.

Filip Krajcik’s first goal in the BCHL put the home team up in the second period, but Cooksey’s second of the night, this time on the power play, knotted the game at three.

Connor Elliott and Ryan Gillespie traded goals to end the frame, leaving it all to play for in the third.

A rare fight in the BCHL livened up the atmosphere, as Martin dropped the gloves with Nick Mikan two minutes into the period.

Both teams had power plays later on, but neither could find the back of the net until Facchinelli ripped home his second of the night with just 44 seconds on the clock to seal the 5-4 victory.

“What an amazing atmosphere tonight,” said Facchinelli. “We never gave up tonight and we’re happy to come away with the two points.”

Vipers goalie Ethan David stopped 27 of 31 shots for his 17th victory of the season. Salmon Arm’s Ryan Grout had a busier night, facing 40 shots.

Luke Bibby chipped in with three assists, Anthony Cliche with two, while Pakulak had a goal and an assist as the Vipers (25-15-1) are now just one point back of the Silverbacks (25-14-0-2) in the standings for third.

Next up for the Vipers is a Family Day game against the Cranbrook Bucks. Puck drop at Kal Tire Place is slated for 2 p.m.

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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