The West Kelowna Warriors fell behind and couldn’t find the equalizer as they fell by a 3-1 score to the Vernon Vipers on Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers opened the scoring at the 10:44 mark of the 1st period as Brett Stapley was spotted out front of the net from behind the goal line by Steven Jandric as he beat Warriors netminder Cole Demers up over the glove side for the 1-0 Vernon advantage.
The first period remained scoreless despite some solid Vernon offensive zone time and some timely saves from Demers, who made 14 first period saves on 15 shots in the game’s opening period. Vipers goaltender Darion Hanson stopped all 5 West Kelowna shots he faced in the 1sr frame.
The second period was played to a scoreless halt until the 18:21 mark of the frame as Chase Dubois got the visiting Warriors on the board courtesy of a power play. Parm Dhaliwal circled behind the net and from the left face-off circle spotted an open Dubois on the blocker side who made no mistake with the empty net for his 17th goal of the season and a 1-1 tie.
That tie would not hold up for very long as just 48 seconds after the Dubois tally, at the 19:19 mark of the 2nd period, Ryan Brushett scored what would be the eventual game winning goal as his shit from the top of the right face-off circle beat Demers over his shoulder for the 2-1 Vipers lead late in the frame.
West Kelowna applied all the pressure in the middle stanza as they fired on 23 shots to the Vernon goal but Darion Hanson stood tall with 22 saves in the period while Cole Demers turned aside 7 of the 8 2nd period shots he faced.
The Warriors were given a golden opportunity to tie the game as at the 16:22 mark of the final period, Chase Stevenson was hauled down and given a penalty shot while the Warriors were shorthanded. Stevenson made a move to his backhand and beat Hanson through the legs but the puck slid by the blocker side post to keep the game at a 2-1 Vipers advantage.
That missed chance would prove to be costly as the Vipers extended their lead to two goals at the 11:36 mark of the 3rd period on a re-direction from Austin Adamson off of a Shane Kelly right point shot that pushed the Vernon advantage to 3-1 and would be the eventual final score.
Warriors netminder Cole Demers stopped 33 of 36 shots in the losing effort, his 15th loss of the season while the Vipers Darion Hanson was outstanding in the game, turning aside 38 of 39 shots for his 13th victory of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 3-1 Vipers
SHOTS ON GOAL: 39-36 Warriors
PP: Warriors (1/6) Vipers (0/6)
1) Michael Ufberg (0-1-1)
2) Darion Hanson (38 saves on 39 shots)
3) Chase Dubois (1-0-1)
The Warriors (25-25-0-2) return to action with a matchup against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (19-26-3-3) at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm on Wednesday night. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM with the pre-game show going live at 6:50 PM with free audio on the Warriors Internet Network and available on pay-per-view on www.hockeytv.com.