The Vernon Vipers’ post-season journey is about to come down to one game – Game 7 of the B.C. Hockey League Fred Page Cup final Monday night at Wesbild Centre.
The Snakes allowed four straight second-period goals on the way to a 5-2 loss to the host Powell River Kings in Game 6 Sunday night at Hap Parker Arena.
Vernon has yet to go the distance in a seven-game series this post-season. The last time they went a full seven games was in the 2007-08 season when they fell to the eventual Fred Page champion Penticton Vees. The Kings did it in their last series to outlast the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for the Coastal Conference title.
After a scoreless first period, the Kings exploded for three goals in the first four minutes of the second frame. Brenden Forbes needed just 11 seconds to beat netminder Graeme Gordon to open the scoring. Defenceman Mat Bodie (1+2) pocketed a shorthanded goal at 1:37, and Mitch Labreche made it 3-0 Kings on a goal assisted by Andrew Pettitt and Matt Garbowsky. Powell River’s Daniel Carr added powerplay marker at 9:01.
After a goaltending change to start the third period (Blake Voth relieved Gordon, who allowed four goals on 17 shots), the Vipers were able to cut the lead in half on goals by Bryce Kakoske and Garrett Noonan less than a minute apart midway through the third period.
The Kings iced the game when Chad Niddery fired an empty-netter with 39 seconds remaining.
Kings’ keeper Josh Watson recorded 25 saves for the win.
Check out the sports section of Wednesday’s Morning Star for a full recap of Games 6 and 7.