Sunday, February 12, 2017
Wenatchee Tames Vipers:
Wenatchee tames Vipers
by Staff Writer - Vernon Morning Star
Feb 12, 2017
The battle of American goalies went to the guy from Ohio.
Anthony Yamnitsky – born in North Royalton, 19 miles outside of Cleveland – made 31 saves including what his head coach, Bliss Littler, called “a number of game changers and game savers” – to lift the Wenatchee Wild to a 3-1 win over the Vernon Vipers in B.C. Hockey League action Friday at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers hosted the West Kelowna Warriors Saturday.
Vernon netminder Darion Hanson – from East Bethel, Minn., 28 miles from Minneapolis – was no slouch, either, making 44 saves. Yamnitsky and Hanson were named first and third stars, respectively.
“It was definitely a team effort,” said Yamnitsky, who made highlight reel saves three times on Jimmy Lambert and once on Brett Stapley. “A lot of guys were bleeding and sweating and putting in a lot of work.”
The league-leading Wild – who have scored a league-best 255 goals – broke a scoreless tie with three goals in seven minutes in the second period in front of 1,981 fans.
Matt Baker beat Hanson on a wraparound at 2:01; Charlie Combs (second star) scored his league-leading 46th on a powerplay with a laser of a wristshot over Hanson’s shoulder and under the crossbar, knocking off Hanson’s water bottle, 4:49 later; and Jasper Weatherby beat Hanson from the slot two minutes later at 8:47.
With Yamnitsky looking for his sixth shutout of the season, Vernon dominated the third period, outshooting the Wild 12-6 and were finally rewarded at 8:20 when Austin Adamson scored his 15th. Cameron Trott’s point shot hit a body in front of Yamnitsky and dropped to Adamson, who buried the puck.
The Wild (39-8-4-0) took a three-point lead over the Chilliwack Chiefs into games Saturday in Penticton and Sunday in Trail as they look to become the second team from Washington to win the BCHL championship (Belliingham Blazers were league champs in 1975 and 1979).
“We are looking at this weekend as a great challenge,” said Littler. “Coming into this building (Kal Tire Place), then go to Penticton and to Trail, it’s a great opportunity for us going into playoffs, playing three of the best teams in the league, three difficult places to play, three completely different styles. “It’s a great challenge. We want to win the league.”
Vipers forward Niko Karamanis was selected the Fortis Energy Player of the Game.
Vernon welcomed back captain Riley Brandt after a 15-game injury absence and he made an early impact.
Starting the game on a line with Karamanis and Jagger Williamson, Brandt crunched Wenatchee defenceman Tyler Rockwell into the end boards just seven seconds after the puck drop. Rockwell suffered an upper-body injury and did not return.
“It was tough getting my legs in the first period there,” said Brandt. “I shortened my shifts up and my linemates helped me out.”
Vipers forward Ryan Brushett left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury and did not return.
Vernon (27-17-5-4) could have clinched second place in the Interior Division with a win Saturday. Penticton Vees clinched the division Friday with a 2-1 win at Trail.