The Vernon Vipers got past the Penticton Vees on the back of a lights-out performance by their goaltender Friday night.
James Porter Jr. stopped all 42 shots he faced as his team shut out the visiting Vees 2-0 and earned their fifth straight win.
The Snakes struck early and on just their second shot of the game. Matt Kowalski – named BCHL Subway Player of the Week after his nine points in three games last week – centred a pass to a streaking Seiya Tanaka-Campbell, who rifled a shot to the low glove side for his first BCHL goal.
“It was a pretty great feeling,” Tanaka Campbell said in the postgame interviews. “Matt gave me a really nice pass and when I buried it I just got a sudden rush. It’s hard to explain but it was a pretty nice feeling.”
The Vipers were out-shot 13-9 in the first period, but thanks to several strong sequences by Porter Jr. they escaped with a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period saw the Vees increase their shot advantage, putting 18 on net. Liam Malmquist had the Vees’ best scoring opportunity but was turned away by the shaft of Porter’s goal stick. After failing to capitalize on a late powerplay opportunity the Vees ended the period with a 31-18 shot advantage and a one-goal deficit.
The Vipers managed to keep the Vees to the perimeter for most of the third, cutting down on their scoring chances in the process. Shot blocks were key as the Vees pushed for the equalizer and allowed the Vipers to get their own chances in transition.
With less than two minutes to play it was Tanaka-Campbell who set up Trey Taylor, who buried his fourth of the season to double the Vipers lead when an insurance goal was needed most.
The Vees would pull their goalie but to no avail. Porter kept his scoresheet clean as the Vipers defeated the team atop their division.
“The first goal was big and then obviously our goaltending was fantastic – and we needed both,” said Vipers coach Jason McKee after the game. “We were probably going to get outchanced but we wanted to make the most of ours and we were able to kind of find a way to do it tonight.”
The Snakes are now six points back of the Trail Smoke Eaters in the Interior with a whopping four games in hand. On Saturday night they again play the Vees in Penticton who are likely to be hungry for goals in the second half of the home-and-home.