It was a wild night in the Vipers’ den on Tuesday.
Just not for Wenatchee.
At Vernon, the Vipers posted a 7-2 victory over the Wild to take a 2-1 lead in the BCHL’s Interior Conference final. The best-of-seven series resumes Wednesday, 7 p.m., with Game 4.
READ MORE: WHL Roundup: Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Despite the lopsided score, the final result was somewhat deceiving, as Wenatchee outshot Vernon 28-20. Put another way, the Wild surrendered seven goals on 20 shots.
“It was a closer game than the score actually indicated,” said Vipers head coach Mark Ferner, whose team led 1-0 and 4-1 at the period breaks.
“We were fortunate with some plays, but you know continuing to shoot pucks, so it was a good start for our home stand.”
The score seems to indicate the Vipers exposed a crack in the Wild’s goaltending. Austin Park finished with just 13 saves. Notably, Wenatchee did not put in rookie backup Cal Sandquist when the game was out of reach early in the third period after Vernon went up 5-1.
Park is 8-3 in these playoffs with a save percentage of .877, while Sandquist is 1-4 with a save percentage of .879.
Vernon goaltender Aidan Porter, who made 26 saves in Game 3, is 10-5 with a save percentage of .903.
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Logan Cash, Ben Sanderson, Landon Fuller, Tyler Ho, Michael Young, Teddy Wooding and Josh Latta scored for Vernon.
Brian Adams and Blake Bargar, who closed out the scoring at 18:04 of the third, replied for Wenatchee.
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Goaltending aside, perhaps more important than lighting the lamp seven times was the way Vernon accomplished it: Scoring by committee, with seven goal scorers.
“We just have to make sure that we are ready and prepared to work harder and longer than (Wenatchee),” said Ferner.
Vernon’s head coach added what happened Tuesday may not be repeated in this series. The Wild are, after all, the defending league champions.
“No, they are defending champs,” said Ferner. “We just take it one game at a time. We know that every series we go into is going to be a long one.
“We expect this to be a long one too.”
In other BCHL playoff action, the Prince George Spruce Kings beat the Victoria Grizzlies 3-2 in overtime and swept the Coastal Conference championship.
Ben Poisson, with his 10th goal of the playoffs, netted the game and series winner at 18:09 of overtime. The other scores in the series were 4-2, 4-2 and 4-2.
The Spruce Kings, who finished with the second-best regular season record, are 12-1 in these playoffs.
KOOTENAY INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Revelstoke 5, Kimberley 0
At Revelstoke, Liam McGarva was perfect between the pipes as the Grizzlies blanked the Dynamiters to take a 3-1 lead in the championship series.
Nathan Bailer, with two third-period goals, Ethan Schaeffer, Ryan Pereverzoff and Ullar Wiatzka scored for Revelstoke, which led 3-0 after the first period. There was no scoring in the second.
Brett Anderson stopped 27 for Kimberley. The shots were 32-32.
Kimberley was 0-for-3 on the power play while Revelstoke was 1-for-7. The attendance was not available.
Game 5 will take place Thursday in Kimberley. Game 6, if needed, is set for Saturday in Revelstoke.