Josh Watson recorded 28 saves and the Powell River Kings used three powerplay goals to ground the Vernon Vipers 4-0 in B.C. Hockey League Fred Page Cup action Monday night before 1,243 fans at the Powell River Recreation Complex.
All-star defenceman Mat Bodie scored once and set up two others as the Kings grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 goes Tuesday night in Powell River. The fifth game is Thursday night in Vernon.
Chad Niddery buried a loose puck as a posse of Kings crashed the Vipers’ net on a late first-period powerplay. Bodie made a dynamic rush into the Vernon zone and drew the lone assist on Niddery’s eighth of the post-season.
The Kings made it 2-0 at 5:17 of the second period as Cody Rainaldi unleashed a wicked snapshot from the right wing over Vernon goalie Graeme Gordon’s right arm and under the crossbar.
The Vipers, who haven’t scored since the first period of Game 2, enjoyed several scoring chances from in tight and the mid slot, but the likes of Cory Kane, Rob Short and Connor Jones failed to hit the net.
Powell River cashed in another powerplay 48 seconds into the third period as Drew Pettitt counted his first goal of the playoffs with a hard, low one-timer to Gordon’s glove side. Bodie earned the assist.
The Kings completed their offence with 6:38 left on a five-on-three powerplay when Bodie went top shelf, stick side, with Gordon screened. Niddery picked up the assist on Bodie’s seventh of the playoffs.
Kellen Jones, for goaltender interference, and Adam Thompson, for high sticking, took minor penalties 22 seconds apart to give the Kings the two-man advantage.
Watson registered his fourth shutout of the playoffs as Powell River posted their 14th playoff win. Gordon finished with 26 saves.