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Gamache Leads Vipers to Big Win

Jason Williamson reunited 20-year-olds Ben Gamache, Patrick McGillis, and Colton Cyr and told them to lead the charge against the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday afternoon. That's exactly what they did.
 
 The trio led the Vipers to a five-goal first period en route to a 7-3 win.
 
The home team pressed the issue from the opening draw but it took 3:49 for the opening goal, the first of three by Colton Cyr in the period. Marc Hetnik started the play, hustling after his own shoot-in. Ben Gamache won a puck battle behind the net and fed Cyr for a one-timer from 15 feet.
 
Goalie Ty Swabb had no chance on the next goal when the puck came off the back boards to Gamache, whose quick backhand pass found Cyr lurking for another one-timer. Gamache then notched one of his own, as he flicked in a knee-high bounce that came straight back off the back boards from Patrick McGillis’s shot on the power play.
 
Following the game, Coach Jason Williamson wondered “Why can’t we get bounces like that on the road?  All our breaks seem to happen on home ice.”
 
The answer to that question is that teams make their luck by working hard and driving to the net, as in the next Viper goal. During a persistent forecheck, Jedd Soleway intercepted a clearing pass and found Riley Hunt in the slot. Swabb stopped Hunt’s shot but Aaron Hadley hustled to the net and slid in the rebound.
 
Another fine setup by Ben Gamache created the fifth goal of the opening period, 20 seconds after the Hadley marker. From the left wing, Gamache went tape to tape to Colton Cyr for a backhand deflection over the shoulder of Kirk Thompson on the first shot he faced after replacing Swabb.
 
The score could have been 7-0 after 20 minutes. Short-handed, Mike Zalewski rang a shot off the cross bar. Later, Jedd Soleway hit the exact spot with a rocket.
 
The rest of the game was essentially anti-climactic, as the Vipers focused on defence for the remaining 40 minutes. They held the potent Prince George attack to 18 shots in the contest. The Spruce Kings did manage a short handed goal by Jarryd Ten Vaanholt. They also got power play strikes by Gerry Fitzgerald and Tyson Witala, both on tips of Ben Woodley point shots.
 
Those goals were offset by Jedd Soleway’s determined rebound goal and a breakaway beauty by Mike Zalewski that brought many of the 2098 fans out of their seats. As he exited the penalty box, Zalewski accepted a long pass from Ben Gamache and made several moves before slipping the disk between Thompson’s pads one-handed as he swept by the net.
 
As the game wound down, Sean Landrey went after Ryan Renz and the two fought to a draw in a heavyweight bout.
 
The Spruce Kings head home to close their schedule with two games against Penticton next weekend while the Vipers try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with a game in Chilliwack on Tuesday and a home-and-home series vs. Salmon Arm on the weekend.