Players from both sides called it the craziest B.C. Hockey League game they have been a part of. And not just the rookies.
But after all the fireworks Saturday night at Kal Tire Place, the Vernon Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings settled for a 4-4 draw in front of nearly 1,800 fans.
The hard-hitting tilt featured a hat-trick performance by the Kings’ Chad Staley, a one-hour delay to replace a broken pane of glass on the end boards, and Vipers’ forward TJ Dumonceaux inadvertently punching linesman Ryan Dawson in the face while he jostled with the Spruce Kings’ defenceman Christian Weidauer during a skirmish with 5:32 remaining in regulation.
Dumonceaux earned a game misconduct for the incident, which will receive further scrutiny from BCHL head office. Dawson lay on the ice with a bloody face for about 30 seconds before leaving the game. Linesman Riley Balson performed double duty for the remainder of the game.
Staley jumpstarted the Prince George attack with a shorthanded breakaway effort in the first period. The Kennewick, Wash. product lifted a nifty backhander over a sprawled Austin Smith during a second-period powerplay for Prince George’s second snipe.
Liam Coughlin, with a highlight-reel backhander over Alex Murray, and Tyler Povelofskie, with his first-ever BCHL goal on a tremendous solo effort, equalized later in the second frame.
Weidauer, creeping in from the point to beat Smith, and Staley, with yet another man-advantage goal, gave Prince George its second two-goal lead, but Vernon wouldn’t go away.
Michael McNicholas connected twice for the Snakes to salvage a point. His second was a textbook one-timer from the slot off a feed from Coughlin.
Murray finished with 37 saves, Smith 24.
The game took nearly 3.5 hours to complete.
The Vipers (11-6-2-4) are one point back of the Merritt Centennials (14-9-1) for first place in the Interior Division. The Spruce Kings (12-7-2-2) are second in the Mainland loop.
Vernon visits the Cents Friday at Nicola Valley Arena before hosting the Cowichan Valley Capitals (11-11-0-1) in a 2 p.m. matinee next Sunday.
Check out Wednesday sports in The Morning Star for a full recap of Saturday’s action.