Vernon, BC: The Vipers scored 4 goals in the first period from 4 different goal scorers as they defeated the Trail Smoke Eaters 5-3 in front of nearly 2000 people.
The pace was frenetic in the first period, but the Vipers essentially started in shorthanded as they were issued a 4 minute double minor. They killed off the majority of it, but as it was winding down a rebound found Michael Colella and he snapped in home to make it 1-0 Trail. The Vipers rebounded nicely with some good looks at the Trail goal during the penalty kill including a glorious chance by Ben Helgeson that was stopped by Matteo Paler-Chow. The Vipers evened the game when a point shot from Hunter Donohoe was deflected by Connor Sleeth in front to make it 1-1 on Sleeths 6th of the season. The scoring floodgates opened with 5 minutes remaining in the period as Connor Marritt was set up in front of the net by Dawson Holt to make it 2-1. Just under 2 minutes later, Marritt spotted Jackson Caller open on a 3 on 2 rush and he wired one through Paler-Chow to make it 3-1. 11 seconds later a point shot from Keigo Hachisuka got through to make it 4-1 on his 2nd of the season. Paler-Chow would give way to Logan Terness in the Trail goal. Jaden Senkoe would score on the next shift to make it 4-2 after 1 period. Shots finished 12-10 Vernon.
Things tightened up in the middle frame. The Vipers defended extremely well keeping the Smokies to just 8 shots in the period. Trail would get the only goal in the period as Kent Johnson was spotted open at the side of the net at the end of a powerplay and he made to mistake to make it 4-3 after 2 period.
In the third, both teams had crucial sequences on special teams. The Vipers penalty kill thwarted a Trail powerplay and surrendered just one shot on it. In the final half of the period the Vipers had back to back powerplay chances. Although they couldn't convert they had some good looks and ate up 4 minutes on the clock. Trail had a powerplay of their own late and Reilly Herbst made a great save coming across to stop Philippe Lapointe to keep it 4-3. Logan Cash hit the empty net in the final minute to give the home team a 5-3 win.
The Vipers will now travel to Wenatchee for a date with Wild on Friday night from the Town Toyota Centre.