Morning Star Staff
The West Kelowna Warriors stopped the Vernon Vipers 3-2 in B.C. Hockey League play Friday night before 1,747 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Jimmy Lambert (5th) and Colton McCarthy (8th) staked the Vipers to a 2-0 lead just 2:01 after the national anthem. McCarthy and blueliner Bo Pellah pocketed assists on Lambert’s snipe, while Riley Brandt and Lambert set up McCarthy.
Garret Forster responded for the Warriors with his sixth of the season 3:39 later on a nice 2-on-1 with Connor Sodergren.
West Kelowna equalized midway through the second period when leading scorer Liam Blackburn wired a short from the slot past Andrew Shortridge. Tanner Campbell fed Blackurn after Vernon d-man Mitchell Oliver blew a tire behind the net and lost the puck.
Jonathan Desbiens buried a howitzer from the high slot just 12 seconds into a interference penalty on Pellah. Campbell drew the assist with 33 seconds left in the second period.
West Kelowna carried most of the play and outshot Vernon 48-26, including a 21-10 margin in the opening 20 minutes. Stephen Heslop went the distance in the Warriors net, making huge successive stops off McCarthy and Brandt with 7:26 left in the second period.
The Warriors improved to 8-5-0-2, putting them all alone in third spot in the Interior Division. The Vipers dipped to 8-7-0-1 and sole possession of fourth place.
Vernon product Colton Thibault earned 1+2 as the Salmon Arm Silverbacks grounded the Victoria Grizzlies 5-1. Salmon Arm is second at 9-3-2.
The Vipers host the Grizzlies (2-10-0-2) Saturday night (6:00). Vernon entertains Salmon Arm Wednesday night.
The league-leading Penticton Vees shut out the Powell River Kings 3-0. Penticton is 14-1.
The Merritt Centennials upended the Merritt Centennials 4-1 to move within three points of Vernon.
See Sunday’s Morning Star for further Viper coverage.