Niko Karamanis of the Vipers is tied up in front of West Kelowna goalie Nik Amundrud in BCHL play Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place. ( Julie Pringle/Snap Photography)

Taylor boosts Vipers past Warriors

Vipers shut down West Kelowna 5-0

Scouts checking out Vernon Viper goalie Ty Taylor pretty much agree he’s going to be in the NHL one day.

The Richmond product keeps getting better by the day and drawing more attention from the pro bird dogs. He stopped 26 shots for his seventh shutout of the season as the Snakes smothered the West Kelowna Warriors 5-0 before 800 B.C. Hockey League fans Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place.

Taylor, who had his Western League rights traded from Prince George Cougars to the Portland Winterhawks last week, leads the league at 18-3-0-3 with a dazzling .935 save percentage and 1.75 goals against average.

The Vipers started the game on a five-minute powerplay after Cavin Tilsley was ejected for fighting 29 seconds after the anthem. Jagger Williamson was given an unsportsmanlike minor on the play.

The Vipers converted once as Keyvan Mokhtari was set up by Jesse Lansdell at the side of the net, at 2:47. It was Mokhtari’s 13th of the year. Jesse Lansdell and Josh Prokop earned assists.

The Vipers enjoyed some quality scoring chances and tested Nik Amundrud often before Brett Stapley banged home a rebound for his 18th of the season, at 9:17. Linemates Jimmy Lambert and Jordan Sandhu collected helpers.

Less than two minutes later, Connor Marritt recorded his fifth of the season, from Coleton Bilodeau.

The Warriors used their powerplay to get some chances of their own, but Taylor and the Viper penalty kill were strong to get to the intermission leading 3-0.

The energy and emotion from the first period didn’t quite project into the second period as the defence started to take over. There were frequent stoppages and lots of neutral zone play.

Both goalies were solid when called upon. The only goal in the period came while the Vipers were up a man as Williamson outwaited Amundrud and buried his 17th of the year. Assists went to Cam Trott and Lansdell.

Alex Swetlikoff completed the offence midway through the third with his third of the year, from Williamson.

Amundrud registered 37 saves as the fifth-place Warriors dipped to 21-20-1-1.

The Vipers improved to 29-10-1-4 atop the league and the Interior Division, five points in front of the Wenatchee Wild.

Jasper Weatherby’s 30th goal with 1:57 left gave the Wild a 5-4 win over the Merritt Centennials before 350 fans at Nicola Valley Arena. Weatherby is the BCHL’s second player to hit 30 snipes.

The Vipers face the Spruce Kings Friday night in Prince George and visit the Coquitlam Express in a Sunday matinee.

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