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After the Buzzer – Vipers Get Winner Late, Top Spruce Kings 2-1

Vernon, BC:  The Vipers pushed 37 shots the way of the PG goal, but it was a Connor Sleeth marker with 17 seconds left that was the difference as the Vipers took down the Spruce Kings 2-1.

The first period saw a lot of good jump from the Vipers.  They moved pucks quickly from their own zone and did a nice job controlling the puck in the offensive zone.  At one point the Vipers had a 6-0 shot advantage, but Carter Woodside was solid in goal.  The Vipers had a good chance on a powerplay, but despite the puck movement and shots, they couldn't fidn the second opportunities.  Prince George's first shot was a good one as Nick Poisson teed himself up from the slot but was stopped by Keegan Karki.  Hunter Donohoe clanked a point shot off a cross bar and JoJo Tanaka-Campbell just missed on a centering pass from behind the red line, but nothing would find the mesh as the period ended scoreless.

The Vipers weathered an early storm as PG started the period on the powerplay but the PK was solid and killed it off.  The Spruce Kings forecheck upped the ante a bit, but again the Snakes were able to navigate through against a tough checking opponent.  The Vipers nearly tied it up, but Carter Woodside robbed Jackson Caller on a chance in front.  The Vipers thought they had tied the game up as Landon Fuller poked home a loose puck.  The play was blown dead before the puck went in after the referee had lost site of the puck.  The Spruce Kings opened the scoring as Corey Cunningham was sprung on a partial breakaway and snapped one over the shoulder of Karki to make it 1-0.   That score would hold up despite the shot advantage being heavily in the Vipers favour.

The Vipers had a powerplay early in the 3rd, but despite some good movement and chances remained unsuccessful.  Midway through the period as a Viper powerplay was expiring, Connor Marritt walked out from behind the net and slid his 13th of the season through the five hole of Woodside to make it 1-1.  PG nearly took the lead back moments later, but couldn't jump on a bouncing puck in front of the Viper goal.  Keegan Karki was a big reason the game was still tied as he absolutely robbed a Spruce King in front of the net on a 10 bell chance and the Vipers cleared the front of the net.

That proved huge as with just 17 seconds left, the Vipers caused a turnover in the neutral zone and Connor Sleeth buried a rebound for his 5th of the season to give the Vipers a 2-1 lead.  The Spruce Kings had a chance in the dying seconds, but Nick Kent would block a shot and the time expired to allow the Vipers the big win at home.

The Vipers will hit the road tomorrow night for a big tilt with the Penticton Vees.