Vernon Vipers secure spot in championship series

The Vipers took a 3-1 win over the Wenatchee Wild in Game 5 of the Interior Division Finals Friday to advance to the league championship series.

The Vernon Vipers won the BCHL Interior Conference championship Friday in five games, advancing to the Fred Page Cup championship against the Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Vernon Vipers scored three times in the second period to build a two-goal lead and limited their opponents to just 10 shots over the final two frames as they held on for a 3-1 win over the Wenatchee Wild in Game 5 of the Interior Division Finals to advance to the league championship series.

Vipers goalie Aidan Porter was busy in the first period, making 15 saves as only Marko Reifenberger was able to beat him and the Wild led 1-0 at intermission. Vernon came out flying in the second frame with Jack Judson scoring 3:50 in and Ben Sanderson netting his fifth of the playoffs shortly after to give their team the lead. Vipers captain Jagger Williamson wristed a shot into the top corner with 1:30 to go in the period as Vernon took a 3-1 lead into the third. Porter shut the door in the third to finish with 25 saves, and his team only gave up six shots the entire period as they held on for the series win.

Judson added an assist to his second-period goal and was named the first star of the game, while Jesse Lansdell chipped in with a pair of helpers to give him 16 points in 17 playoff games to tie him for the Vipers lead.

Austin Park made 18 saves in a losing effort for Wenatchee, whose loss means there will be a new BCHL champion.

Related: Vipers one win away from BCHL final

The Vipers will now play the Prince George Spruce Kings in the Fred Page Cup Finals starting Friday night in Prince George, their first appearance since 2014. Now, they will be trying for a league best 13th BCHL championship. They are tied with Penticton Vees for most titles with 12.

Vernon is 12-8 in league finals. They last appeared in the Fred Page Cup final in 2014, getting swept by the Coquitlam Express. Vernon last won the title in 2011 with a 4-0 sweep of the Powell River Kings.

Vernon and Prince George have never met for the league title.

The Spruce Kings are making their second straight Fred Page Cup final appearance. They lost in five games last year to Wenatchee in their finals debut.

Prince George has won nine straight playoff games entering the final and are 12-1 overall. Vernon is 12-5. The Spruce Kings won both regular season games against the Vipers and have beaten Vernon the last four times they’ve met.

The series winner will play the Alberta Junior League champion in the best-of-seven Doyle Cup series with the winner advancing to the National Jr. A Championship tournament in Brooks, Alta.

Related: Vernon Vipers whip Wenatchee for series lead

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