Sahir Gill’s goal late in the second period stood as the winner as the Vernon Vipers doubled the host Powell River Kings 4-2 in Game 4 of the B.C. Hockey League Fred Page Cup Tuesday night at Hap Parker Arena.
After subpar performances in Games 2 and 3, the Vipers regrouped to even the series at two apiece. Game 5 of the best-of-seven goes Thursday night at Wesbild Centre, with Game 6 heading back to the Sunshine Coast on Saturday night. If necessary, Game 7 would go Monday at Wesbild.
The Vipers’ Cory Kane, with his second goal of the playoffs, opened the scoring at 5:33 of the first period, assisted by Robbie Short and Dan Nycholat.
The Kings, who went 2-for-6 on the powerplay, replied early in the second period when Daniel Carr scored on the man advantage, assisted by Justin Dasilva and Matt Garbowsky. But the Vipers needed just 21 seconds to restore the lead as Connor Jones (first star) netted his team-leading eighth goal at 3:56. Assists went to Gill (third star) and Kellen Jones.
Connor and defenceman Adam Thompson earned assists on Gill’s winner to give Vernon a two-goal cushion heading into the third period.
Chad Niddery (second star) tried to stage a late Powell River comeback by firing a backhander shortside on netminder Graeme Gordon on the powerplay at 14:23, however the Kings were unable to generate much as they spent most of the third period in the penalty box.
The Kings got some pressure in the final minute, but Viper captain Kevin Kraus hit the pressure relief valve by launching a 170-footer to score on the empty net, collecting his first goal of the playoffs.
Gordon posted 20 saves for the win, while Josh Watson recorded 23 saves for the Kings.
The Vipers powerplay is limping along at 2-for-15 (13.33 per cent) in this series, while the Kings are clicking at 6-for-19 (31.58 per cent).
Check out the sports section in Friday’s edition of The Morning Star for in depth coverage of the Fred Page Cup playoffs.