Sanderson’s OT heroics give Vernon 2-1 win, series lead

Vernon Vipers take back home-ice advantage from Salmon Arm Silverbacks

The Vernon Vipers have a 2-1 series lead on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in their B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference best-of-seven quarterfinal following a 2-1 overtime win in Game 3 Monday. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)

In the regular season, the Vernon Vipers and overtime did not get along well.

In the post-season, however, they’ve become best-of-friends.

Ben Sanderson’s rebound goal at 9:58 of the first overtime period gave the Vipers a second straight 2-1 OT win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference quarterfinal action Monday night at the Shaw Centre in the Shuswap.

The Vipers now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one. Game 4 is Wednesday in Salmon Arm.

Vernon lost eight overtime games in the regular season, tying them with the Trail Smoke Eaters for most OT losses in the league.

Sanderson scored his first playoff goal by banging in a rebound of a shot by Matt Kowalski past Silverbacks goalie Ethan Langenegger, who was sensational in Game 3.

The Vipers peppered Langenegger with 45 shots. Aidan Porter made 30 saves for Vernon. Both goalies came up with huge stops in the minutes leading up to Sanderson’s winner.

The winning goal was the first in the series for the Vipers that didn’t involve 20-year-old veteran forwards Jesse Lansdell and Jagger Williamson.

The pair set up defenceman Jack Judson for a second-period powerplay goal at 13:34 that snapped a scoreless tie. It stayed 1-0 Vernon until 10:31 of the third period when Justin Wilson scored his first of the series to tie things up for the Gorillas.

Game 5 in the series will be back in Vernon Friday night at Kal Tire Place.


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