The Vernon Vipers are getting hot at just the right time.
On Saturday night, a 2-1 shootout victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters in BCHL action pushed the team’s winning streak to five.
It was also the final home regular season game, and the Vipers were determined to send their crowd of 2,137 fans home happy.
All of the scoring happened in the first period, with Josh Schenk of Trail getting the visitors on the board first with his 15th goal.
Four minutes later, Luke Pakulak scored his 17th of the year for Vernon, short-handed, after Walker Erickson was sent to the box for tripping.
Overtime was dominated by the Smoke Eaters, firing four shots on Ethan David, who stopped them all while Vernon was unable to generate any offence, but hung on to force the game to a shootout.
After back-to-back misses from Trail, Hank Cleaves potted a goal, which was all that was needed, as David stopped the final Smoke Eater attempt.
David made 27 saves for his 12th win of the year, while Trail’s Keegan Maddocks made 26 saves in the loss.
The win was the second straight over Trail (19-26-3-4), after thumping them 6-1 on Friday night.
Vernon (26-20-2-4) is now in a tie for fourth in the Interior Conference with 58 points. The West Kelowna Warriors and Prince George Spruce Kings are equal on points while the Wenatchee Wild are just one behind.
Trail is locked into the eighth and final playoff spot at 45 points.
Just two games remain in the regular season for Vernon, as the Vipers are in Penticton on Friday before finishing up the year against the lowly Centennials in Merritt on Saturday.
For more information, visit vernonvipers.com.
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