Veteran Brendan Persley scored twice and drew one assist as the Vernon Vipers shut down the West Kelowna Warriors 5-0 in B.C. Hockey League playoff action before 1,100 fans Tuesday night at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers took the best-of-seven series 4-2 and will now meet the Penticton Vees in the Interior Conference final. Games 1 and 2 go Friday and Saturday nights at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Vernon hosts the third and fourth games Monday and Tuesday nights.
Brett Mulcahy registered his eighth goal of the playoffs midway through the first period. Linemates Colton Sparrow and Persley earned assists on the bang-bang play in front of rookie 16-year-old goalie Cody Porter.
Persley converted from Michael McNicholas just seconds after Michael Statchuk served a minor penalty for high sticking. McNicholas forced a turnover behind the Warriors’ net. TJ Dumonceaux made it 3-0 five minutes later, scooping a rebound into an empty net after Porter denied Demico Hannoun on a partial breakaway. Logan Mick got the secondary assist.
Liam Coughlin, with 6:21 left in the game, connected from Jared Wilson and Mason Blacklock, burying a shot from the left hash marks. Persley counted his fourth goal and 10th point of the playoffs with 2:31 to play, on a power play. Sparrow and captain Ryan Renz pocketed assists.
Warriors’ leading scorer Seb Lloyd returned from injury reserve after taking a knee from Dallas Calvin in Game 2.
Austin Smith made 29 saves for the Vipers. Smith played all six games in the series.
Penticton finished first in the Interior at 36-16-2-4. Vernon was third at 30-18-4-6.
Please see Friday’s Morning Star for more Vipers’ coverage.