Goals from six different players, solid goaltending and a great overall team effort helped the Vernon Vipers dole out some revenge on the Nanaimo Clippers.
First star Joey Cipollone had a goal and an assist and goalie Andrew Shortridge made 32 saves to earn third-star honours as the Vipers dumped the Clippers 6-2 in B.C. Hockey League action Friday night before 1,823 fans at Kal Tire Place.
It was the Vipers’ first home game in nearly three weeks, and the win came six days after Vernon dropped a 5-2 decision to the Clippers on Vancouver Island.
“As a team, we bounced back from a tough weekend last weekend (1-2), everyone bought in to what we had to do today and we came out with a big win,” said Cipollone.
“We just wanted to prove to ourselves that we can be the team we showed out there tonight. We got the job done. Everyone was willing to work for each other.”
The Vipers (5-5-0-1) took on the Prince George Spruce Kings Saturday night at KTP.
Vernon led 1-0 after one period as rookie Brett Stapley scored his first BCHL goal, snapping a shot from the slot that Clippers goalie Jonathan Reinhart – who entered the game with a 6-1 record and a 2.01 goals against average – got a piece of before the puck trickled through his pads and over the goal line.
The Vipers upped their lead to 4-0 after 40 minutes.
Joe Sacco deflected a Mac Ferner point shot over Reinhart’s glove at 6:32, the goal coming on a powerplay with Vernon product Spencer Hewson in the penalty box serving an interference minor.
Odeen Tufto made it 3-0 at 10:42 on a penalty shot, awarded after he was hauled down in the clear by a Clippers defenceman. Tufto made a couple of stick moves before firing the puck through Reinhart’s legs for his fifth of the season.
Cipollone (fourth) chased Reinhart in favour of Jakob Walter just 30 seconds after Tufto’s goal, when he crashed the net and banged in a rebound of a Ferner shot on a two-on-one.
The Clippers (6-4-0-0) got goals 20 seconds apart in the first 1:19 of the third from Zach Court and Devin Brosseau to cut the lead in half.
Jimmy Lambert – robbed minutes earlier by Walter with a fabulous glove save in close – scored his third of the year at 17:24 when he wired a shot from inside the blue line over Walter’s left shoulder.
Defenceman Griffin James scored his first of the season at 19:19 on a powerplay, ripping a point shot off the post which caromed into the net off Walter’s back.
“I don’t think we saw the best out of our goalie early in the game and he believes that too,” said Clippers coach Mike Vandekamp after the defeat.
“I don’t think we were very disciplined, below average to say the least. We didn’t do a very good job of sticking with it and showed a lot of immaturity tonight, for sure.”
The Vipers were 2-9 with the man advantage, Nanaimo went 0-6.
Hewson was kept off the Clippers’ scoresheet.
Ferner set up two goals and was named the game’s second star.
Shortridge was very steady, making a number of key stops, in improving his record to 4-3 on the year.
“It was really important to get a win and get back on a streak here,” said Shortridge. “We needed to get back to doing the right things and get on a roll. The guys were excellent in front of me tonight. They bailed me out a couple of times and I tried to do the same for them.”
The Vipers lost sparkplug Riley Brandt early in the third period.
Moments after levelling Nanaimo defenceman Will Reilly with a solid check inside the Clippers blueline, Brandt went to the net looking for a rebound when he ran into Walter, who took exception and hit Brandt in the face with his goalie stick.
Brandt suffered some damage to his teeth and required dental surgery after the game, though it was believed he would be available to play Saturday.
Walter received a four-minute high sticking minor on the play.
The Vipers continue their four-game home stand with a mid-week contest against the Trail Smoke Eaters Wednesday at 7 p.m.
In other action Friday, the hometown Smokies scored six times in the final 40 minutes to whip the Spruce Kings 7-3.
Former Vipers Matty Saharchuk and Luke Voltin each scored once and Nickolas Trenciansky made 37 saves as the Langley Rivermen blanked the Wenatchee Wild 3-0.
Scott Conway scored 13 seconds into overtime to give the Penticton Vees a 4-3 win over the visiting West Kelowna Warriors. The Vees have won nine straight.
Former Vipers d-man Mitch Meek had two assists to pace the Cowichan Valley Capitals to a 3-2 win over the Victoria Grizzlies.
Powell River Kings edged the Coquitlam Express 4-3 in overtime and the Chilliwack Chiefs thumped the Surrey Eagles 6-1.