Vernon, BC: Matt Kowalski had a pair of goals including the overtime winner as the Vernon Vipers defeated the Trail Smoke Eaters 3-2.
The Vipers found themselves shorthanded relatively early in the hockey game. Trail had trouble dealing with the Viper penalty kill. The Smoke Eaters turned over the puck in the Vipers zone and Vipers would transition. Connor Sleeth would find Trey Taylor jumping up in the rush and he snapped home his first of the season to make it 1-0. The Trail forecheck would go to work later on in the period. It would directly lead to the game tying goal as Tyler Ghirardosi would fire in his 5th of the season making it 1-1. The Smoke Eaters had 4 powerplays in the period and only netted 6 shots.
In the second period, the Vipers did some good work along the wall where Dawson Holt would find Matt Kowalski out of the left circle and he scored his 5th of the year to make it 2-1. Momentum was on the home side throughout the next 5 or so minutes. While the Vipers were on a powerplay, the Smoke Eaters would get the best chance as Kieran O'Hearn clanked one off the goal post. A Trail powerplay later, it was their second unit putting a puck at the net. The rebound was poked in by Liam Freeborn to tie the game up at 2. Thats the way the period would end.
In the third, Logan Terness and Reilly Herbst stole the show. Terness robbed Connor Marritt with a highlight reel paddle save to keep the game tied at 2. Not to be out done, Herbst would shine. Tyler Ghirardosi would get an opportunity on a shorthanded breakaway but was hauled down. On the ensuing penalty shot, Ghirardosi would make a great move, but Herbst threw out the left hand to make the big save. Brendan Kim nearly hit the highlight reel with a couple of nice moves, but couldn't beat Terness.
In overtime the Vipers controlled the majority of play. Connor Marritt was stopped by Terness on the first chance. The next chance came to Logan Cash who did a few laps in the offensive zone before cutting to the net, but was stopped by the Trail netminder. Tyler Ghrirarosi was stopped by Herbst on the only Trail chance of the extra period. The game was solved after Connor Sleeth found Matt Kowalski streaking down the right wing. The Vernon product let loose a slap shot that beat Terness to the blocker side to give the Vipers the big 3-2 win.
The Vipers will now embark on an 11 game road trip that encompasses 33 days. The first leg of the trip will be Friday night when the Vipers head to Powell River and take on the Kings.