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Vernon Vipers spoil Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ Christmas theme

Snakes sweep weekend BCHL series with 4-3 overtime road win on Teddy Bear Toss/Ugly Sweater Night
Connor Welsh (11) and the Vernon Vipers spoiled Ugly Christmas Sweater/Teddy Bear Toss Night at the Shaw Centre Saturday, Dec. 10, with a 4-3 BCHL overtime win against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. (Chris Fowler Photo)

Jonathan Horn played the role of Grinch in the Shuswap Saturday, Dec. 10.

Horn scored 3:23 into overtime to lift the Vernon Vipers to a 4-3 victory over the hometown Salmon Arm Silverbacks and a sweep of their B.C. Hockey League home-and-home series.

Vernon won 5-2 Friday at Kal Tire Place.

The game Saturday at the Shaw Centre was the Silverbacks’ Teddy Bear Toss Night, and the home team wore their Ugly Christmas Sweater uniforms to mark the occasion. It was also Salmon Arm’s final home game before the Christmas break.

The Vipers (12-10-0-4) improved their record to 4-0-2 in their last six contests, while the Backs (14-10-2-1) are winless in two.

Luke Pakulak had a pair of goals for the Vipers, and Reagan Milburn had the primary assists on both of them. Seiya Tanaka-Campbell pitched in with a pair of assists in front of a large Shaw Centre crowd of 1,640.

Pakulak has equaled his career high in goals with 10 before the midway mark of the season.

Nathan Mackie scored twice for Salmon Arm, including the Teddy Bear Toss goal seven minutes into the first period, the equalizer at 19:39 of the third, and set up the other marker by Ryan Gillespie 29 seconds after the second-period ice clean that tied the game 2-2.

Hank Cleaves had given Vernon a 3-2 lead at 16:06 of the third.

Ethan Ullrick had two assists.

Ethan David made 40 saves on the night for the Snakes, 14 of them in the third period and five more in overtime.

Matthew Tovell bounced back with a solid effort for the ‘Backs, a night after getting the hook. He’d finish the night with 28 saves on 32 shots.

The Vipers will wrap up a two-game road swing Tuesday night, Dec, 13, in Wenatchee.

Vernon’s Teddy Bear Toss game will be Saturday, Dec. 17, against the Wild (6 p.m., Kal Tire Place).

Salmon Arm will close out the first half of the season in Cranbrook Friday, Dec. 16, and in Trail Saturday, Dec. 17.

• After opening the season with 24 straight wins, the Penticton Vees are now on a two-game losing skid.

The Wild became the first team to defeat the Vees this season Friday at home, scoring a 2-1 decision. Penticton then lost 4-1 at Cranbrook Saturday.

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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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