Warriors pull even as series heads to Westside

The Westside Warriors scored on their first shot in both the second and third periods as they upended the Vernon Vipers 5-2 Wednesday night at Wesbild Centre, evening their best-of-seven B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference semifinal at 1-1.

Westside forward Tyler Krause opened the scoring midway through the first period, burying the rebound off Tyler French’s shot during a Warrior rush.

The Vipers replied a few minutes later, shortly after they killed off a minor to Pat McGillis. Bryce Kakoske worked the puck to Dylan Walchuk on the point where he used McGillis as a screen to rip a shot past netminder Kevin Boyle’s glove at 14:01.

After Vernon took its third straight penalty in the first period, Westside made them pay with the man advantage as Quinn Gould deflected Tyler Brickler’s shot past Blake Voth at 16:03.

The Warriors struck again 33 seconds into the second frame when captain Alex Grieve snuck a weak shot past Voth on a broken play in front of Vernon’s net. Viper head coach Mark Ferner pulled Voth, who allowed three goals on eight shots, in favour of Kirby Halcrow.

The Vipers clawed their way back on a powerplay a little later in the second period as Malcolm Lyles hobbled French with a wrist shot from the point, and then walked in to capitalize on a give and go with David Robinson.

With the Vipers shorthanded to start the third period, Lyles was stripped of the puck as he tried to carry it over his own blueline. On the ensuing turnover, Brickler snapped a shot from 20 feet out past a screened Halcrow (15 saves).

Krause put the game away with an empty-netter in the final minute.

Netminder Kevin Boyle was solid in making 38 stops for Westside.

Games 3 and 4 go Friday and Saturday night at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna. Game 5 will return to Wesbild Centre Monday night.

Meanwhile, netminder Kris Moore turned in a 40-save, first-star performance as the Salmon Arm SilverBacks jumped to a 2-0 series lead with a 3-2 win over the host Penticton Vees Wednesday night at South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vees fired a pair of powerplay goals to lead 2-1 after 40 minutes, but rookie Bryce Gervais equalized with a third-period penalty shot and Davild Killip provided with winner midway through the frame.

For an in-depth recap of Games 1 and 2, check out Friday’s sports section in The Morning Star.