The Vernon Sun Valley Source for Sports Vipers struck gold in the heart of the Cariboo.
Shanahan Gare’s goal at 4:57 of the third period snapped a 3-3 tie and lifted the Vipers to a 5-3 win over the Fort St. John Flyers in the final of a U15 Tier 2 minor hockey tournament Sunday, Jan. 29, in Williams Lake.
Samuel Balcaen’s sixth goal of the tourney at 8:55 was the insurance marker for Vernon.
Tylen Lewis, who scored nine times in the three-day event, had two goals in the final for the Vipers while Ataway Jewson added the other.
Vernon advanced to the final with a 4-2 win over the host Timberwolves on goals from Lewis, Balcaen, Asher Kuiken and Jacob Bennett, into an empty net.
The Snakes went 2-1 in the preliminary round, opening the eight-team event with a a 9-3 pounding of Okanagan rivals Kamloops Blazers.
Nixon Whieldon, Balcaen and Lewis had two goals each while singles went to Kalin Frick, Jace Nemirsky and Bennett.
In Game 2, Vernon walloped the Prince George Cougars 14-3 behind four goals from Lewis, three from Frick, two from Balcaen and singles from Whieldon, Bennett, Kuiken, Cohen Hogberg and Lucas Vandervelde.
Vernon’s only blip in the tournament was a 6-1 defeat to the Quesnel Thunder. Preston Sutch had the lone Vipers goal.
Emma Ward and Cohen Bailey split the goaltending duties for Vernon.
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