It’s long been the philosophy of hockey coaches everywhere: shoot the puck at the net, and good things will happen.
Adam Tambellini obliged.
Tambellini’s goal with five seconds left in double overtime gave the Vernon Vipers a 3-2 win over the visiting Surrey Eagles in B.C. Hockey League action at the Wesbild Centre Saturday night. The goal came after Tambellini went around a Surrey defenceman and got a shot on goalie Glenn Ferguson, who made the first save.
Tambellini picked up the rebound and fired it on goal, the puck squeaking under Ferguson’s arm and into the net for the victory.
“It was huge for us to get the win tonight,” said Tambellini, the game’s first star. “On the winner, I drove to the net, got a shot away and the puck came back to me and I just shot it at the goal. Fortunately for us, it went in.”
The Eagles had a chance to complete a weekend Interior doubleheader sweep (Surrey won 3-2 Friday in Salmon Arm) when Mason Blacklock was hauled down from behind 1:08 into the three-on-three second overtime period by Vernon’s Pearce Eviston, and was awarded a penalty shot.
Blacklock, chosen third star on the night, shot wide on the game’s second star, Vipers goalie Danny Todosychuk, who finished the night with 46 saves as Surrey outshot Vernon 48-41.
Sporting commemorative double-blue Mo-vember moustache-themed uniforms, which were auctioned off after the game, the Vipers opened the scoring 9:08 into the contest when Tambellini found Pearce Eviston alone in the slot and his shot beat Ferguson.
The Eagles replied at 17:05 with Blacklock ripping a shot shorthanded over Todosychuk’s left shoulder.
Defenceman Marc Hetnik with his first goal of the year, a seeing-eye shot through a maze of players in front of Ferguson, gave the Vipers a 2-1 lead 4:30 into the middle frame.
The Vipers ran into penalty trouble, conceding a two-man power play for 1:08 late in the period.
After Todosychuk made a number of huge saves, and with the second penalty nearly over, Surrey tied the game at 18:53 on a lucky powerplay bounce as Brett Mulcahy’s centreing pass hit defenceman Michael Statchuk’s leg and just dribbled over the goal line.
The Vipers killed a tripping penalty to Hetnick with three minutes left in regulation time, and both goalies made huge saves in the first overtime period.
“Danny was great tonight. We have so much confidence in him,” said Tambellini of teammate Todosychuk.
For the Eagles, they will take three out of four weekend points, though head coach Matt Erhart thought they deserved a better fate Saturday.
“I thought we played well, no doubt about it, putting 48 shots on goal against a quality team in their own barn,” said Erhart. “Both teams had lots of chances, it probably deserved to go to overtime and once you get to overtime, anything happens. We get a penalty shot, they get some great chances, our goalie made a couple of big saves in some scrambles. Obviously you like to win those games but really happy with the way we played tonight.”
The game opened with an honour guard from members of the Vernon branch of the Royal Canadian Legionto commemorate Remembrance Day.
See Wednesday’s Morning Star for more details from Saturday’s contest.