Cody Rainaldi collected the winner at 3:05 of the third period as the Powell River Kings iced the Vernon Vipers 3-1 in Game 2 of B.C. Hockey League final Saturday night at Wesbild Centre.
Mitch Labreche added an empty-net insurance goal with 24 seconds remaining as the Kings evened the best-of-seven series at one apiece. Games 3 and 4 go Monday and Tuesday night respectively in Powell River.
Despite being outshot 9-5 in the first period, Vernon got off to a solid start when Connor Jones took a feed from Sahir Gill just inside the Kings’ blueline then danced around a pair Powell River defenders before sliding the puck five-hole on netminder Josh Watson on the powerplay.
Special teams played a role again in the second period, this time in Powell River’s favour. After killing off Jason Yee’s tripping minor midway through the period, the Kings went on the powerplay shortly after, with Matt Garbowsky tapping home the rebound off Justin Dasilva’s point shot, deflating the 2,200 fans.
The towering Dasilva set up the winner with a gorgeous stretch pass to Rainaldi, who cut around defenceman Curtis Gedig and tucked the puck behind netminder Graeme Gordon on the far side.
Watson recorded 30 saves to earn second star, while Gordon made 23 stops for the Snakes, who lacked a solid team effort for the second straight night.
Check out the sports section in Wednesday’s edition of The Morning Star for complete coverage of Game 2.