The game started with a bang. Well, two bangs.
Vernon Vipers forward Jesse Lansdell was aggressive on his forecheck on the first shift, and his first hit sent a Trail Smoke Eaters defender into the boards, hard. Lansdell noticed he was getting a penalty for that hit, and decided to add another and drove a second defender into the boards with a crosscheck, possibly thinking he surely wouldn’t get two penalties on the play. He did. He also had to serve a 10-minute misconduct.
Despite all of that fury, the Smoke Eaters were unable to score in the four-minute man advantage to start the game.
Luckily for Lansdell, redemption would come at 3:35 of the third period as he was able to score on a wrister from the slot to net the game-winner for Vernon in a 1-0 shutout of the visiting Smoke Eaters.
Much like Friday night’s game, an end-of-the-period scrum resulted in a mittful of penalties to both teams, this time in the first. Vernon came away with a man advantage but they were unable to convert despite having better success setting up their system down low.
Neither goalie was tested with more than a handful of grade A shots through two periods. Things opened up in the third with some strong forechecking at both ends, but Trail only managed a close call after a deflected shot caught Vernon netminder Aidan Porter moving the wrong way, though he was able to get just enough to send the puck an inch wide of the goal.
The closest the Vipers came to scoring through two periods was a dead-centre post on a shot by Michael Young on the power play. Vernon’s power-play entries were much better Saturday, as they worked the late drop pass to perfection setting up open ice for the last man in. Still, they were 0-4 on the power play, the same as Trail.
It looked like Trail tied things up with a spin-around shot to the top corner in the third, but the goal was waved off by the referee and they remained a goal behind heading into the final seven minutes of the third.
Porter was able to preserve the shutout for Vernon with 23 saves. Marcoux also had 23 saves in a losing cause.
The Vipers next face the Merritt Centennials at home next Friday while Trail returns home to face Penticton, also on Friday.
The win moves the Vipers out of last place with 29 points, one ahead of Trail.