WEST KELOWNA, B.C. – The West Kelowna Warriors couldn’t capitalize on their chances and dropped a 4-2 score to the Vernon Vipers on Saturday night from Royal LePage Place.
Although only one goal was scored in the opening period of play, the pace was fast and the tempo was high with the first whistle of the game coming 4:25 into action in the first period before the Vipers opened the scoring and broke the scoreless draw.
Off a face-off win for the Vipers, Jack Judson fired a puck off the end boards and careened back through the crease and found an open Josh Prokop on the blocker side of Warriors netminder Nik Amundrud for a 1-0 Vipers advantage at the 14:01 mark of the period and would be the only scoring in the frame.
The 2nd period started with an early goal as Shane Kelly put the Vipers ahead by a pair of goals as his shot from the right point got through a heavy maze of traffic in front of Amundrud and by him on the glove side for a 2-0 Vipers lead just 1:50 into the 2nd period.
The Warriors offence came through and got West Kelowna on the board at the 14:01 mark of the 2nd period off a strong play from the Warriors captain. Jared Marino made a nice play in the left-wing face-off circle as he stopped up and dropped a pass for Cavin Tilsley as he got his own rebound and buried it for his 4th goal of the season and cut the deficit to 2-1 in favour of Vernon.
Just 1:18 after the Tilsley goal, however, Brett Stapley got the Vernon lead back to two goals off of a scramble on the blocker side of Amundrud. The Denver University commit threw the puck to the goal with players littered near the crease as it snuck through on the blocker side to restore a two-goal lead at 3-1 at the 15:19 mark of the 2nd period.
The Vipers got their largest lead of the night at the 2:03 mark of the 3rd period and it was Josh Prokop again who would push the lead to three. Prokop sped past the Warriors defense on the right wing and cut in on goal to slide the puck through the legs of Amundrud for a 4-1 Vipers advantage.
Chase Dubois got the Warriors to within two goals once more at the 11:26 mark of the 3rd frame and was West Kelowna’s fifth power play goal of the weekend. Dubois corralled the puck in the right face-off circle and put his shot toward Vernon netminder Ty Taylor but the rebound popped high in the air behind him and pushed passed the goal line for his 10th goal of the season and a 4-2 Vipers lead.
Michael Lombardi had an opportunity to get the Warriors to within a goal as he was hooked on a breakaway resulting in a penalty shot. Lombardi tried to shot on the blocker side of Taylor but the Vipers goaltender read the play well and made a big stop at the 13:06 mark of the 3rd period to preserve a 4-2 Vernon lead.
Nik Amundrud started for the Warriors in this game and dropped his 7th game of the season while making 32 saves on 36 shots, including an airy of saves in the final moments of the game while Ty Taylor was excellent in the Vernon crease with 35 saves on 37 shots for his 11th win of the season.