JASON LA ROSE
May 12 2014 ISN – VERNON, B.C. – Colton Sparrow opened and closed the scoring, and added another in between, helping the host Vernon Vipers to their first win of the 2014 RBC Cup, 6-4 over the Yorkton Terriers in the lone Monday game at Kal Tire Place.
The victory was the Vipers’ fourth in five all-time meetings with Yorkton at Canada’s National Junior A Championship; this year marks the fourth time the teams have qualified for the tournament in the same year.
Liam Coughlin, Brett Mulcahy and Michael McNicholas had the other goals for Vernon (1-1), which scored three times in a span of 41 seconds – and four in 2:57 – early in the second period to take a seemingly commanding 5-0 lead.
But Brett Boehm, Dylan Johnson, Tanner Lishchynsky and Tyson Enzie scored to pull Yorkton (0-2) within a goal with 9:28 to go before Sparrow’s hat trick goal into an empty net in the final minute secured the two points for the Vipers.
Austin Smith earned the win with a 40-save performance in the Vernon goal, while Kale Thomson took the loss for Yorkton after allowing five goals on 18 shots.
Riley Medves stopped all 14 shots he faced in relief for the Terriers.
The Vipers had the lone goal of the first period off the stick of Sparrow, who stepped into the slot and snapped a shot to the right of Thomson as the Yorkton goaltender was headed left.
The floodgates opened for the Vipers early in the second period, as the hosts quadrupled their lead before the two-minute mark of the middle frame.
First it was Coughlin just 51 seconds in, going bar down over the shoulder of Thomson, followed 17 seconds later by Mulcahy, who picked the top corner past the glove of the Yorkton netminder.
Sparrow made it a 4-0 game 24 seconds after that, banging in a loose puck that had snuck through Thomson, and McNicholas capped the offensive spurt at 3:48 to put Vernon up by five and ended Thomson’s night.
Boehm got the Yorkton comeback started late in the second, beating Smith from the slot, and the Terriers pumped in three in 6:38 in the first 10:32 of the third period, two on the power play, to set up a wild finish.
But despite holding a 16-6 edge in shots on goal in the final 20 minutes, and 44-33 overall, there would be no miracle finish for the West Region champions; Sparrow danced around two Yorkton skaters to cap his hat trick with 43.2 seconds left.
Vernon will try to make it back-to-back wins on Tuesday night when it takes on the unbeaten Dauphin Kings (7 p.m. PT), while Yorkton will see the ice next on Wednesday, when it faces the Carleton Place Canadians (2 p.m. PT).