Friday night’s clash with the Trail Smoke Eaters was an up-and-down affair for Trey Taylor and the rest of the Vernon Vipers.
Taylor scored his third goal of the season to help his team get ahead in the early goings, but ended up with a game misconduct at the final whistle while the Vipers ended up with a 5-2 defeat.
The Smokies were prepared to defend their home barn right from the first shift. Owen Ozar snapped home his 11th of the season just 19 seconds in the game.
Taylor’s goal came at the midway point of the first period on the powerplay off a feed from Connor Marritt, and just over two minutes later Cam MacDonald buried a goal to give the Vipers an early 2-1 lead.
Trail did well to halt the Snakes’ momentum just 25 seconds later. Kent Johnson tied up the score after a mad scramble in the crease of goaltender Reilly Herbst. The Vipers out shot and out chanced the Smoke Eaters in the first period but the score was even at 2-2.
The second period ended up being a special teams battle as each team took three minor penalties. The penalty killers prevailed on both sides, and the only goal of the period came at even strength when Johnson banked in a puck at the side of the net for his second of the game, and a 3-2 Trail lead.
The Vipers made a strong push in the third, hitting a goal post and generating some scramble action in front of Trail goaltender Matteo Paler-Chow. But it was Trail winger Walker Erickson who bought his team some insurance with an unassisted goal wit h less than six minutes to play. The Smokies would add an extra netter to cap off a 5-2 win at home.
The Vipers have a chance to get even tonight as they play the second of back-to-back games against the Smoke Eaters at the Trail Memorial Centre.