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Vernon Vipers blank Trail 2-0 in 1st game of the BCHL playoffs

Owen Kim scored with three minutes left in the third to break a scoreless tie
Owen Kim looks to the camera after scoring the go-ahead goal late in the third period against the Trail Smoke Eaters Friday night, April 5, 2024. The Vernon Vipers won the first game of the first-round series between the two teams 2-0. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)

It was a goaltending duel to start the BC Hockey League first-round playoff series between the Vernon Vipers and the Trail Smoke Eaters Friday night, and Vipers netminder Ethan David came out on top.

The teams went scoreless through 57 minutes at Kal Tire Place until Owen Kim broke through the defensive wall, scoring a shorthanded goal to give the Vipers a 1-0 lead with only three minutes left in the game.

Julian Facchinelli scored an empty net goal with a minute and a half remaining to make it 2-0, which would be the final score.

David stopped all 30 shots the Smokies threw at him for the 13th shutout of his career, and third in the postseason.

Luke Pakulak and Lukas McCloskey had the assists on Kim’s goal, which came at 17:04 in the third period.

The Vipers didn’t have a power play in the game, but their penalty killers silenced Trail’s dangerous unit which went zero for three on the night.

“I really liked our third period,” said Vipers assistant coach Colton Sparrow. “Our goalie was great and our penalty kill was outstanding. We’re going to have to find ways to win games like that. I liked our patience to stay with it.”

Like David, Teagan Kendrick was superb in net for Trail, making 25 saves on 26 shots.

The Vipers now lead the best-of-seven series 1-0. Game two goes Saturday, April 6, at 7 p.m. at Kal Tire Place, before the series switches to Trail for games three and four on April 9 and 10.

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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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