Connor Marritt of the Vernon Vipers and Marty Westhaver of the Victoria Grizzlies get tangled up on the boards in a Saturday night BCHL match up at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star)

Vipers tame Grizzlies 3-1

Vipers pick up league-leading 21st win

The last time Jason Fortier was in Kal Tire Place, his team’s hockey season came to an abrupt end.

Fortier was the head coach of the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots, who made their way to the Royal Bank Cup in Vernon in May 2014, only to lose the last round-robin game, 3-2 to the Vipers, on an overtime goal by Dexter Dancs. The loss eliminated the Patriots from the tournament.

Fortier returns to Vernon tonight as the head coach of the B.C. Hockey League’s Coquitlam Express, who face the Vipers (7 p.m. Kal Tire Place). Fortier took over from Barry Wolff Nov. 27, and has a win, loss and tie in three games.

The Express are in the basement of the Mainland Division at 4-22-1-2. They’re 23 points behind fourth-place Chilliwack (2018 Royal Bank Cup hosts) but…tied for the last league playoff spot with the Island Division’s Cowichan Valley Capitals (3-22-3-2).

The Vipers picked up their league-leading 21st B.C.Hockey League win of the season Saturday, downing the Victoria Grizzlies 3-1 in front of 1,643 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Defenceman Mitch Andres, with his first BCHL goal, Niko Karamanis and Jagger Williamson scored for the Vipers.

One night after scoring six powerplay goals against Trail, the Vipers went 1-5 with the man advantage. Victoria was 1-6, spoiling Anthony Yamnitsky’s bid for his third shutout of the year with less than three minutes left.

Yamnitsky finished with 24 saves while Parkinson also stopped 24 for Victoria.

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