Rookie defenceman Kevin Massy scored at 4:26 of double overtime as the Victoria Grizzlies clipped the Vernon Vipers 4-3 in a drama-jammed B.C. Hockey League Sunday matinee at Kal Tire Place.
With the teams playing three-on-three, a loose puck squirted to a wide open Massy, who buried a wrister into an empty net with Viper goalie Michael Stiliadis guarding the right side.
The Vipers mobbed d-man Jason Bird after his point shot beat Victoria goalie Nic Renyard 43 seconds into the first five-minute overtime. While the Vipers celebrated, referee Bryan Bourdon ruled there was incidental contact with Reynard and waved off the snipe.
First star Gerry Fitzgerald, who recorded his team-high 14th goal, captain Mark McLellan, with his second of the year, and Storm Wahlrab, with his third, also scored for the Grizzlies. Victoria, who shaded the Salmon Arm SilverBacks 3-2 Saturday night, improved to 11-6-2-1 for second spot in the Island Division.
Second star Liam Coughlin found fifth gear and scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season to spark the Vipers. The Boston product opened the offence 17 seconds in on a shot which bounced off Reynard’s back leg. Linemates Michael McNicholas and Dexter Dancs drew assists.
Fitzgerald levelled things at 1-1 as he cruised to the mid slot and converted on a hard backhand, at 8:45 of the fast-paced, hard-hitting first period.
Dancs put Vernon ahead on a backhander along the ice, in tight, after some gorgeous feeds by Coughlin and McNicholas, on a powerplay at 8:07 of the second period. McLellan, who replaced Myles Fitzgerald on Victoria’s top line after Fitzgerald tweaked his back late in the first period, equalized 37 seconds later into a wide open net after some slick passing around the horn by Jesse Schwartz and Mitch Meek.
The Grizz moved in front three minutes later when Wahlrab connected after a sloppy clearing pass up the middle. Alex Adams and Jacob Kearley drew assists.
The Snakes tied it with 1:51 left in the second when Coughlin’s shot struck Kearly in front and rolled past Reynard. Colton Sparrow had smoothly carried the puck deep for the first assist, while TJ Dumonceau earned the secondary assist.
The Vipers went to 10-6-1-4, good for a share of second place with the Merritt Centennials, one point back of the West Kelowna Warriors, 5-1 losers to the visiting last-place Trail Smoke Eaters Saturday night.
Earlier Sunday, the Vipers traded F Josh Betinol to the Calgary Mustangs of the AJHL for F Chase McMurphy. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound McMurphy amassed 21 goals and 50 points with the Mustangs last year. He played the first six games this season for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, earning one assist.