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Persley Creates OT Winner
Friday, March 1, 2013 - Submitted by Don Klepp
On a night when overtime was all the rage in the BCHL, Brendan Persley's second goal of the game powered the short-staffed Vipers to a 5-4 win over the host Prince George Spruce Kings.
With just 27 seconds remaining in the second overtime, Persley drove to the net and snapped a shot past Kirk Thompson. As often happens in three-on-three play, moments earlier the Spruce Kings had nearly scored at the other end but Andrew Tegeler's poke check prevented a goal. Jason Bird collected the loose puck and fed Persley to set up a three-on-two break.
Persley's other goal, at 3:08 of a loosely played second period, gave the Vipers a 3-2 lead, which they were unable to hold as Prince George notched three scores in the middle frame. The game featured four tie scores and five lead changes as the two teams were much better at offence than at defence in the first 40 minutes.
Both squads tightened up in the third period and the overtime, although the few scoring chances in the final 24:23 were gilt-edged. Austin Smith, in particular, made two sensational saves in the third and another in the first overtime as the Vipers had to kill an Andrew Tegeler penalty that was called at 2:28 of the first OT session.
Penalty killing has not been a Viper strong point this season, but it was disciplined and determined in PG. The Spruce Kings did get one power play goal, when a fortuitous bounce allowed Justin Rai to scoop in a wayward puck at 9:59 of the first period. It was the only goal allowed by Vernon's PK in five man advantage situations enjoyed by PG.
The Vipers had one power play, which did not produce a goal.
The see saw scoring parade started with Andrew Tegeler's conversion at 4:20 of the first period when Liam Board created a turnover behind the PG net. Rai's goal tied the score at 1-1, but 29 seconds later the Vipers regained the lead when Mason Blacklock's shot from the high slot beat Thompson after Board and Tegeler had earned the puck through a tenacious forecheck.
Board, the former Spruce King traded for Kevin Guiltinan, was named the first star of the contest for his strong play throughout the game.
Five goals in the second period culminated in a 4-4 tie. Staring strongly, the Spruce Kings made the score 2-2 at 1:38. Shayne Morrissey, off the rush, put a shot through a defender's legs and past Smith.
On the Vipers' first scoring chance of the period, Brendan Persley banged a free puck past Thompson at 3:08. Then, Spruce King pressure and Viper sloppiness in their end resulted in goals by Lyndon Martell and Jace Hennig, at 9:03 and 10:01, to give the Spruce Kings their only lead of the game.
On a fine individual effort, Mason Blacklock brought the Vipers back to a tie at 18:28. He outworked a defender to win the puck down low, came out front, and backhanded the 4-4 goal past Thompson. It was reminiscent of Mike Zalewski`s OT winner last January 29 in Prince George, the last time the Vipers played in the northern city.
The bittersweet victory - both Trail and Salmon Arm recorded OT road wins - was a courageous effort for the flu-bitten Vipers, who dressed 9 forwards and 5 defencemen. Logan Mick and Ryan Renz missed because of the flu and others started to experience flu-like symptoms as the game progressed. In addition, Braedan Russell is injured and Geoff Crisfield served the first of his two-game suspension for crushing Marcus Basara In West Kelowna on Friday.
The team will have four days to recover before the last road game of the season, Wednesday in Merritt.
Four other BCHL games went to overtime on Friday. Trail beat Penticton 3-2 at the SOEC and Salmon Arm shaded Powell River 6-5 on the Coast.