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Special teams lift Vernon Vipers over Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Two Vipers scored their first career BCHL goals in a 6-5 win Friday night at Kal Tire Place
Vipers defenceman David Brandes celebrates his first BCHL goal in a 6-5 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. (Lisa Mazurek photo)

The Vernon Vipers staved off a Salmon Arm Silverbacks comeback to earn a 6-5 win at home in B.C. Hockey League action Friday night, Oct. 7.

Backs forward Isaac Lambert kicked off the scoring at Kal Tire Place, 7:26 into the first period.

On a powerplay, Lee Pakulak got the Vipers on the board 14 minutes into the period, deflecting home a centering pass from Lee Parks to make it 1-1.

Effective special teams proved to be important, as the Vipers’ powerplay went three for six while the Silverbacks went zero for four on the man advantage. In the second period, Luke Lavery scored the Vipers’ second powerplay goal of the game to give the home team a 2-1 lead, assisted by Griffen Marr and Seiya Tanaka-Campbell.

Later in the period, two Vipers scored their first career BCHL goals. The first came off the stick of Kurt Gurkan on a rush down the left wing, while the second came from defenceman David Brandes, who jumped on a puck in the slot to make it 4-1.

The Backs responded a few minutes later as Lambert set up Owen Beckner to make it 4-2. Then Lambert factored into the offence again, scoring his second goal of the game by deflecting a shot from the point to make it a one-goal game heading into the third period.

In the final frame, the Vipers scored their third powerplay marker of the game as Reagan Milburn drove to the net and slid the puck through the legs of goaltender Carter Richardson. Silverbacks’ Hayden Stavroff got his team back within a goal, converting on his own rebound by knocking the puck out of mid-air and into the net.

Ayden Third restored the Vipers’ two-goal cushion with a seeing-eye point shot, but the Backs wouldn’t go away quietly as Nathan Mackie scored with the goalie pulled with just over two minutes left to play.

But that’s as close as Salmon Arm would come.

Vipers head coach and general manager Jason McKee said he liked his team’s resolve on the night.

“It wasn’t perfect, but to score six was good for our group and we did a lot of good things on the offensive side. There are things to work on from a defensive standpoint, but overall it was nice to get the win,” he said.

The Vipers return to action Saturday night, hosting the Victoria Grizzlies at Kal Tire Place. Puck drops at 6 p.m.

The Silverbacks are on the road in Penticton Saturday to take on the Vees, with the game also starting at 6 p.m.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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