Already pretty famous for a goal which made TSN’s Top-100 plays of 2016, Jagger Williamson registered two more sweet snipes Friday night as the Vernon Vipers salvaged a 3-3 double overtime tie with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Down 3-1 late in the third period, the Vipers were awarded back-to-back powerplays and Williamson counted his eighth and ninth tallies of the B.C. Hockey League season with panache.
The Lumby product converted roof daddy past goalie Nic Tallarico from the right hashmarks at 13:14 with ex-Silverback d-man Cameron Trott and forward Hunter Zandee counting assists. Stellar rookie d-man Austin Chorney was off for holding.
Williamson, an alternate captain, brought the house down by going top shelf with a six-foot backhander 1:29 later. Trott got the helper.
“I was trying to draw the goalie to the left and then throw it across his body and thank God, it just got over his glove and went in the top corner,” smiled Williamson.
The Silverbacks were without five regulars, including captain Carson Bolduc and all-star Marcus Mitchell. They summoned Trey Thomas, Daine Dubois, Jacob Kennedy and 16-year-old d-man Cody Schiavon (Okangan Rockets) from various Major Midget programs and played the Vipers hard.
“You can’t disrespect any team in the league and if you’re not ready to play, it’s gonna be tough on you,” said Viper head coach Mark Ferner. “Give Salmon Arm credit, they were better than us. The first period, we gave up too many shots and defensively, we weren’t quick to pucks and they were winning the races and battles.”
Ferner was high on the character his group showed with the late comeback, giving Williamson big props for jumpstarting the rally.
The Silverbacks outshot the Snakes 18-10 in the opening 20 minutes and won most of the puck battles.
“They had four or five cages (underage affiliates) in their lineup but it doesn’t matter where they sit in the standings, they’re always gonna come and give their best effort,” added Williamson.
The Vipers stretched their undefeated streak to six games while improving to 22-13-3-1. The Silverbacks went to 16-21-2-1. Vernon won the season series 5-1-1.
Josh Latta supplied 2+1 for the Silverbacks, earning first star.
“Everyone stepped up and played a simple game,” said the West Vancouver native. “We did everything we talked about before the game and executed our game-plan. It’s too bad we couldn’t hold them off at the end. We got rid of four key veterans at the deadline and we got (Ryan Hogg) Hogger and (Trevor) Ayre and they were pretty huge for us tonight. We’re pretty happy with the tie; it sucks we couldn’t get the win, but it was a really good team effort.
“Our APS were fantastic. Trey Thomas out there in overtime, did a great job.”
Austin Adamson deflected a Michael Ufberg point shot past Tallarico at 8:41 of the first period to open the offence before 2,125 fans. Shane Kelly earned the secondary assist on Adamson’s eighth of the season.
Latta equalized eight minutes later on a gorgeous top-cheddar wrister from the left hashmarks past Darion Hanson, a shot that zoomed in and out of the top netting in a hurry. Second star Justin Wilson and Ayre pocketed assists.
After a scoreless middle frame, Wilson, a North Vancouver product, buried a wrister from the low slot at 8:13 after a nice feed from behind the net by Latta. Wilson has 10 goals on the year.
Just 10 seconds later, Latta connected from the mid slot with Jared Turcotte and Wilson drawing helpers. Latta has six snipes this season.
Said Salmon Arm head coach Misko Antisin, who was wearing his flashy Allan Cup ring: “We played great. Our APS were outstanding. I loved every one of them. They could play on a regular basis if we had the cards. With three big regulars out, we’re very happy the way the game was contested. It was too bad we didn’t hold the two-goal lead. There were a couple of powerplays that were a little suspect late in the game, but we gotta be better on our powerplay. Overall, we were very structured and it was a very solid, consistent effort.”
Vernon, who entertain the Merritt Centennials tonight at 6:00, outshot Salmon Arm 34-30 in regulation. Ryan Brushett of the Vipers misfired into a wide open net on a 2-on-1 with Zandee with two minutes and change remaining in the second overtime (3-on-3).
Thomas almost fooled Hanson with a long shot in the 4-on-4 overtime, while Hanson recorded a glorious glove stop off Elijiah Barriga 60 seconds into the 3-on-3 session.
Viper F Jesse Lansdell rated the Fortis Energy Player of the Game.
The Centennials upset the league-leading Penticton Vees 3-2 Friday night at Nicola Valley Arena. Merritt is fifth in the Interior Division at 15-17-2-2, three points ahead of Salmon Arm and three points back of the Trail Smoke Eaters. Vernon’s Brett Jewell is captain of the Cents.