Tyler Chan of the Vernon Vipers is pinned to the boards by West Kelowna’s Zach Reim while Jayden Price comes in to help during the Warriors’ 4-3 BCHL win Saturday, Dec. 11, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

Tyler Chan of the Vernon Vipers is pinned to the boards by West Kelowna’s Zach Reim while Jayden Price comes in to help during the Warriors’ 4-3 BCHL win Saturday, Dec. 11, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

West Kelowna Warriors thwart Vernon Vipers’ comeback

Visitors score with seven minutes remaining Saturday to post 4-3 win at Kal Tire Place in BCHL play

Marcus Joughin’s second goal of the year with seven minutes remaining gave the West Kelowna Warriors a 4-3 B.C. Hockey League road victory over the Vernon Vipers Saturday, Dec. 11, at Kal Tire Place.

The Vipers had rallied from a 3-1 deficit entering the final frame with goals less than two minutes apart from Cameron MacDonald, on the powerplay, at 1:13, and Luke Pakulak at 3:06.

Alexi Van Houtte-Cachero had the only goal of the first period for the Warriors. Tyler Cristall made it 2-0 visitors 67 seconds after the ice clean, and it stayed that way until Ryan Shostak scored his eighth of the year for Vernon at 12:49.

John Evans gave West Kelowna a two-goal lead heading into the final period with his seventh of the year at 18:22.

Justin Katz made 30 saves for the win in goal for the Warriors while Roan Clarke made 28 saves for Vernon, which has lost three in a row.

The Warriors snapped a four-game losing skid Friday, Dec. 10, with a 6-3 win over the Merritt Centennials.

West Kelowna (15-8-0-0) sits third in the Interior Conference, seven points behind the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Warriors entertain the eighth-place Wenatchee Wild (4-10-4-1) at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at Royal LePage Place.

The Vipers (6-11-3-3) sit seventh in the Interior, five points ahead of the Wild and five points behind the expansion Cranbrook Bucks.

Vernon will play its final two games before the Christmas break Friday, Dec. 17, in Penticton against the conference-leading Vees (Retro Theme Game for Vees), and Saturday, Dec. 18, at home against the Prince George Spruce Kings (6 p.m. Kal Tire Place).

• Former Vipers forward Brett Stapley, a senior with the University of Denver Pioneers, is the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s player of the week.

Stapley had a huge weekend to power Denver to a sweep of Arizona State, racking up six points in the series, including his second and third multi-point games of the season. The Montreal Canadiens draft pick recorded his first career hat trick and added the primary assist on the game-winning goal for a career-high four points in the opening-night win, then was back at it on Saturday with another goal and assist, tallying DU’s third goal in a 7-1 victory and again setting up the game-winner.

Stapley played three seasons with the Vipers from 2015 to 2018. He played in 154 regular-season games over his career, collecting 121 points on 47 goals and 74 assists.

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers fall to Trail Smoke Eaters in shootout

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BCHLVernon VipersWest Kelowna Warriors