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Vernon Vipers come out on top of back-and-forth game versus Prince George

The Vipers got a pair of goals from both Isaac Tremblay and Luke Pakulak in Friday’s win
Vernon Vipers forward Isaac Tremblay (left) scored two goals including the game winner against the Prince George Spruce Kings Friday night, March 1, 2024. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)

The Vernon Vipers’ offence came to play Friday night at Kal Tire Place as Isaac Tremblay and Luke Pakulak each put up two goals in a 7-5 victory over the Prince George Spruce Kings.

It was the third straight meeting between the two teams; the Vipers beat the Spruce Kings 5-3 on the road Feb. 23, and lost the rematch 4-2 on Feb. 24.

Kilian McGregor-Bennett got the scoring started for the Spruce Kings a little over five minutes after the opening puck drop. However, the rest of the opening period was all Vipers; they outshot the Spruce Kings 13-8 in the opening frame and got a pair of goals from Pakulak (the first one on the power play) and another from Tremblay to make it 3-1 Vipers after one.

McGregor-Bennet scored his second goal of the game seven minutes into the second period. Just 38 seconds later, Kazumo Sasaki scored to tie the game at three goals apiece.

With four minutes to play in the second, Erik Pastro scored his 16th of the season to restore the Vipers’ one-goal lead.

The third period was a back-and-forth affair, with Connor Elliott scoring for the Vipers, Followed by Jared Langdon tallying for the Spruce Kings, and Tremblay answering with his second goal of the game and team-leading 21st of the season.

With one minute to go, the Spruce Kings put the pressure on as Luca Primerano beat Vipers goaltender Colin Reay to make it a 6-5 game. However, an empty-net goal from Hank Cleaves sealed the game.

The Spruce Kings did not have a powerplay in the game, while the Vipers went one for three with the man advantage.

The Vipers sit in fourth place in the BC Hockey League’s Interior division, two points behind the Salmon Arm Silverbacks with the same number of games played, and five points ahead of the Trail Smoke Eaters, who have also played 45 games. All three teams have nine games left to play this season.

The Spruce Kings are last in the Interior with a 14-28-3-0-0 record.

The Vipers play at home again Saturday, March 2, against the West Kelowna Warriors at 7 p.m. The Spruce Kings are also back in action Saturday as they stay on the road to face the Merritt Centennials at 7:05 p.m.

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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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