Brendan Persley of the Vernon Vipers gets his stick on a loose puck as he goes up against JD Cotroneo of the Coquitlam Express Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.

Vernon Vipers hold back Express

Newcomer Brett Mulcahy scored twice as the Vernon Vipers derailed the Coquitlam Express 3-1 in BCHL play Saturday night.

Newcomer Brett Mulcahy scored twice as the Vernon Vipers derailed the Coquitlam Express 3-1 in BCHL play Saturday night before 1,925 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Mulcahy, obtained in a trade with the defending champion Surrey Eagles earlier this week, netted his 24th and 25th goals of the season, including the winner with 1:43 gone in the third period. Liam Coughlin cleanly won a draw and Mulcahy quickly wired a low wrister past Pierce Dushenko. Linemate Colton Sparrow fed Mulcahy for insurance after some nice work down low, with 2.3 seconds remaining.

The Express outshot the Vipers 32-21 with Vernon sitting at the measly five-shot mark with three minutes left in the second period. Sparrow left the penalty box, took a pass from Demicon Hannoun, skated in one-on-one down his wrong wing and buried a gorgeous wrister far side on Vernon’s sixth shot, with 83 seconds left in the second period.

Coquitlam, who have the league’s No. 1 offence, went up 1-0 on a power play 4:07 into the second period when Jace Hening converted from Mark Whiteley and Bo Pieper.

Vernon spent a good chunk of the opening 40 minutes shorthanded with Mulcahy and a host of others doing a stellar job penalty killing.

Austin Smith took first star ahead of Mulcahy and Sparrow, making a handful of huge stops, his best coming off newly-acquired 20-year defenceman JD Cotroneo and Corey Mackin as the Express pressed in the late going.

Vernon moved to 22-12-3-4, good for second place in the Interior Division, one point ahead of the West Kelowna Warriors, who grounded the Express 7-2 Friday night. The first-place Penticton Vees clipped the Trail Smoke Eaters 3-2 Saturday night to shift eight points in front of the Snakes. Vernon visits the fifth-place Merritt Centennials (20-16-3-1) Tuesday night

Coquitlam, the league’s fourth-worst defensive team, dipped to 18-18-1-3, a solid third in the Mainland Division.



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