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Vernon Vipers double Wenatchee Wild

BCHL - all goals comes in final 20 minutes as Snakes score 4-2 victory at Kal Tire Place

The game’s scoring took place in a 12 minutes one second span in the third period as the Vernon Vipers defeated the Wenatchee Wild 4-2 in B.C. Hockey League play Saturday, Dec. 2, at Kal Tire Place.

Micah Berger opened the scoring for Wenatchee at 6:04 of the final frame. That lead would last for just over two minutes before Vernon defenceman Luke Ashton scored the first two goals of his BCHL career at 8:34 and 13:06 to give the Snakes a 2-1 lead.

Max Borovinskiy added what would be the game-winner at 14:13, giving Vernon a two-goal advantage.

Cade Littler’s unassisted goal at 17:36 pulled the Wild to within a goal before Lee Parks salted the game away for Vernon into an empty net at 18:05.

Ethan David made 22 saves to earn the win in goal for the Vipers while Andy Vlaha stopped 24 shots for the Wild.

The Vipers record is now 10-10-0-4, good for sixth place in the Interior Conference, four points behind the fifth-place Prince George Spruce Kings, and one point up on the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Wenatchee (9-13-0-2) is in eighth place.

Vernon will welcome the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the front end of a weekend home-and-home series on Friday, Dec. 9. The two teams play in the Shuswap Saturday.

• Vipers general manager and head coach Jason McKee continued his wheeling and dealing prior to the weekend.

McKee made three moves last week, and six in total, prior to a Dec. 1 league deadline.

Vernon acquired forward Connor Welsh from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for future considerations; dealt forward Kurt Gurkan and defenceman David Brandes to the Blackfalds Bulldogs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for futures; and announced the signing of 18-year-old forward Gavin Schmidt from the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League.

“Gavin is a flexible player that can play multiple positions,” said McKee. “Gavin skates well and will be a welcome addition to our group.”

The Calgary player spent last season as a point-a-game player with the Okotoks Oilers U18 AAA team. He suited up for three games with the Cougars.

“I appreciate the opportunity Coach McKee and the Vipers are giving me,” said Schmidt. “I’m looking forward to getting things going with the team.”

With this signing the Vipers now sit with 14 forwards, seven defenceman and two goalies following the Dec.1 deadline.

“This was a configuration we wanted to be at by December 1st,” said McKee. “Our staff looks forward to settling in with the group we have now and being a part of the growth as we move into the next phase of the season.

“With the Dec. 1 deadline approaching we needed to get our roster numbers down and the appropriate configurations at each position set for the remainder of the season. The transactions allowed us to do that while creating great opportunities for the players involved.”

Welsh joins the team with a commitment to Boston College. He had a goal and three helpers in 18 games with the Gorillas.

“I’ve heard nothing but great things about the Vipers organization and I’m excited to be a part of it,” said Welsh. “I can’t wait to get to Vernon and get started.”

• Vipers forwards Isaac Tremblay and Luke Pakulak have secured NCAA Div. 1 scholarships.

Tremblay has committed to the St. Lawrence University Saints in Canton, NY.

“Isaac is a player that is invested in his development and improving,” said McKee. “He is focused on growing all areas of his game. Our organization is excited to see Isaac’s continued growth here in Vernon until he is ready to make the jump to college hockey.”

In his first year of junior, Tremblay has four goals and six assists.

“I am excited for what the future has to hold,” said Tremblay. “It’s an absolute dream come true and I can’t wait to get started.”

Pakulak is also heading east, to the Bentley University Falcons in Waltham, Mass.

“It’s extremely exciting to see Luke finalize the next stage of his hockey and education journey,” said McKee. “Luke is a player that has gone through the process of growing and maturing into a leader on our team. We look forward to continuing to grow Luke’s game preparing him for college hockey.”

The third-year Viper has suited up in 74 regular season games with 19 goals and 19 assists.

“I can’t express how honoured and excited I am to join their program,” said Pakulak. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds and grateful for the opportunity to continue my development.”

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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