Sunday, September 6, 2015

Vipers Strike Twice

     The Spruce Kings dropped their first meeting with the Vipers 5-3, but that included a late empty netter goal. The first period was mostly controlled by Vernon, and they went up up by two goals. Prince George wasn’t overly outplayed though, and knew they had a shot at getting back into the game.

     In his first game back with the team after an ankle injury kept him out of early exhibition games, Braiden Epp made his presence known with a goal in the second. Right in front of the net, he was the recipient of a great pass from Rider Stoglin, and then some quick hands helped him get the puck around, and over Schamerhorn in the Viper cage.

     Halfway through the second, as planned before the game Alex Brooks-Potts came out of net and made way for rookie Liam McCloskey. The Vipers came out flying, and had two great opportunities to score within minutes of McCloskey entering the game, but he stood on his head and kept his team within one.

     Alex Stoley had possibly the goal of his life, as he made an end to rush going between the forwards, and then splitting the defence before whipping a shot past Schamerhorn to tie the game at two. Vernon would score again in the period though to head into the third with the lead.

     The second period also had a scrap in it, as Alex Rasovic threw a few hits too many for the Spruce Kings liking, so Adam Burnett dropped the gloves, and landed a few blows on Rasovic who didn’t manage to do a lot with the jersey pulled over his head. Both players were given game misconducts and left the game dropping each team down a defenceman.

     In the third, the Vipers would score early to double their lead at 4-2. The rest of the period was relatively slow, as both teams looked pretty gassed playing dump and chase hockey. Prince George would draw a late penalty though, and Corey Hoffman took advantage scoring on the 6-on-4 as Prince George had their goalie pulled. The team was handed another gift as McCarthy slashed a player skating by after the goal, and Prince George had the opportunity for a late power play goal.

     It would be the Vipers icing the game though with an empty net goal that just squeaked in past the post.

The team warming up in Vernon

     Saturday the Spruce Kings made the long trek to Vernon hoping to find some revenge. Unfortunately Viper’s goalie Andrew Shortridge had something to say about that as the Anchorage, Alaska native was perfect in a 3-0 win.

     The game started out back and forth, with no team getting any high quality scoring chances, and the two went to the dressing rooms in a scoreless draw.

     In the second frame Linden Hora would score, and that was all the Vipers would need, but they would add a pair of goals 27 seconds apart in the third to stake the victory. The Spruce Kings had their fair share of chances, and had a 3-on-1 while the score was 1-0 Vernon, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

     One of the more interesting moments came during a scrap behind the net, when a few players got a little heated, and one of the refs wound up dragging McCarthy off of a Spruce King player, and basically wrestled him to the ice in the process.

    In the end the Spruce Kings came away in the post season with a win, three losses, and an overtime loss, but the coaches said after the game that Saturday night’s effort against Vernon was possibly the best yet of the exhibition games.

     The Spruce Kings are now to set to take on the Wenatchee Wild, who have looked very strong this pre-season against BCHL teams. They outscored their opponents 14-1 in three games, with Surrey being the only team between themselves, Chilliwack, and Coquitlam that could put one in the net. Puckdrop is at 7pm, and Ron St. Clair will have the call on 99.3 The Drive.

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