Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Vipers Happy With Crease Cops:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers happy with crease cops

by Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star

Feb 15, 2017

With four games left until the playoffs, the Vernon Vipers are clearly confident in the crease with Darion Hanson and Ty Taylor.

Hanson drew the start Saturday night and took second star with 38 saves as the Snakes shut down the West Kelowna Warriors 3-1 in B.C. Hockey League action before 1,582 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Hanson is the No. 1 goalie in the 17-team BCHL at 13-4-0-2 with a scorching 1.89 goals against average and .944 save percentage. The Minnesota product turns 20 in April and has brought leadership and moxy to the Snakepit since arriving in November.

Taylor, who won’t be 18 until July, is ninth in netminding stats at 12-10-0-2 with a 3.03 GAA and .907 save percentage.

“It”s a treat to not have to worry about your goaltending; that’s a huge part of our success,” said Viper winger Jimmy Lambert. “You need good goaltending to win a championship and I think we have the goaltenders to do it.”

The Vipers will finish second in the Interior Division behind the Penticton Vees. Both teams receive first-round playoff byes.

Vernon hosts the Island Division-leading Victoria Grizzlies Friday night and entertain the Alberni Valley Bulldogs Saturday before ending the regular season with a home and home series the Trail Smoke Eaters starting Friday, Feb. 24 at Cominco Arena.

The Smokies lost 5-4 to the first-overall Wenatchee Wild before a packed house of 1,342 Sunday afternoon in Trail. The Smokies are third, two points in front of the Warriors and four ahead of the Merritt Centennials. The sixth-place Salmon Arm Silverbacks iced the Bulldogs 3-0 Saturday night on the Island and hold a six-point margin on the Surrey Eagles of the Mainland Division for the final crossover playoff berth.

The Vipers opened the scoring midway through the first period as Brett Stapley buried his 12th on a nice feed from behind the goal-line by Steven Jandric. Stapley beat former Viper goalie Cole Demers glove side. Demers recorded several clutch stops as Vernon outshot West Kelowna 15-5 in the opening 20.

Chase Dubois equalized with 1:39 left in the second period on a powerplay (Michael Ufberg off for tripping). Parm Dhaliwal circled behind the net, and from the left face-off circle, spotted an open Dubois on the blocker side for his 17th goal of the season.

Ryan Brushett responded just 48 seconds later with the winner, converting his eighth from the top of the right hash marks over Demers’ shoulder. Jandric and d-man Connor Clouston drew assists.

West Kelowna outshot Vernon 23-8 in the second period with Hanson in brilliant form.

Chase Stevenson, a former Viper prospect, was hauled down by Jagger Williamson and given a penalty shot while the Warriors were shorthanded early in the third period. Stevenson made a move to his backhand and beat Hanson through the legs but the puck slid by the blocker side post.

Just three minutes later, Austin Adamson re-directed a Shane Kelly right point shot for his 16th tally of the season. Ufberg – named first star – earned the secondary helper.

Viper captain Riley Brandt, playing his second game after spending almost six weeks on injured reserve, was chosen the Fortis Energy Player of the Game.

Wenatchee lost 2-0 to the Vees before 4,142 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre Saturday night and are three points ahead of the Chilliwack Chiefs in the race for the league banner. Wenatchee is bidding to become the first American franchise to claim the BCHL championship since the Bellingham Blazers (1975 and 1979). The Wild and Chiefs each have five games remaining.

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