A serious Vernon Viper prospect two years ago, Chase Stevenson was a major Viper pest Saturday, scoring twice as the Surrey Eagles shaded the Vernon Vipers 2-1 in a B.C. Hockey League overtime tilt at the Prospera Centre.
The win, Surrey’s first against five losses, came before a neutral crowd in the annual Chilliwack Bauer Showcase designed for NHL and college scouts. Vernon, who earlier lost in overtime to the Nanaimo Clippers in Chilliwack, dropped to 2-2-2 as they prepare to face the defending champion Wenatchee Wild (Friday night) and Merritt Centennials (Saturday) at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers enjoyed a solid first shift as the new line of Logan Cash, Alex Swetlikoff and Josh Prokop generated multiple chances. After third star Aidan Porter reeled off three or four big saves on Surrey powerplays, the Vipers connected first off a lucky bounce as Austin Chorney’s point shot deflected off Eagle defenceman Riley Hayles and ricocheted behind goalie Daniel Davidson.
The Vipers killed off four power plays while giving up just six shots in the second period. Davidson recorded 35 saves for the second star.
Surrey levelled the score late in the third as Stevenson, a West Kelowna product who badly injured his shoulder in Vernon’s 2016 training camp and missed much of the season before joining the West Kelowna Warriors, was set up off the rush for a glove-side shot with two minutes left in regulation. Ty Westgard and Eric Linell drew assists.
The Vipers had a stellar chance on the power play to start 3-on-3 overtime with Surrey skating back the other way for Stevenson’s winner, assisted by Mack Gray, who jumped out of the penalty box and fed a loose puck in front to Stevenson, who was initially forced to the outside by Viper d-man Mitch Andres before driving the net.
“We had a great chance in overtime with Carvs (Carver Watson) just missing short side,” said Vernon captain Jagger Williamson, who didn’t play due to a lower-body injury. “Good teams find ways to score and we have to learn how to bear down on our chances. We put 40-plus shots up in both games so the effort is there.”
Swetlikoff went into the boards hard Saturday and is doubtful for the weeekend.
The Vipers have acquired D Landon Fuller from the Coquitlam Express in exchange for F Nicholas Wildgoose.
Fuller, 19, of Williams Lake, pocketed four points with the Express last season. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder protects the crease well.
“He’s the type of player who is extremely hard to play against,” said Viper head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “He’s a body we’re familiar with and it was a trade we needed to make.”
Wildgoose, an 18-year-old rookie from Nortmh Carolina, had a pair of goals this season.
Lucas Sowder, a Florida product with the Wild, is the points derby leader with one goal and 10 points.