In Vernon on Friday the Vipers had the edge in play but succumbed to the Penticton Vees' superior scoring touch in a 3-1 Vee win.
Vernon won all the statistical categories except for goals, leading in shots (31-29), scoring chances (19-13), and hits (37-27).
The decisive blow came during a Viper power play. Pearce Eviston telegraphed a soft cross-ice pass at the Vee blue line and Travis Blanleil was off to the races. At the end of the breakaway, he slid the puck under Austin Smith at 8:12 of the first period.
Eviston atoned for his miscue with a determined individual effort at 10:14 of the second period. Circling and circling in the Penticton zone, he zipped a low shot under Chad Katunar.
The Vipers started to gain confidence but before the period was out, the Vees showed their class with a pair of superb shots.
At 15:14, Sean Flanagan finished off a 3 on 2 with a perfect shot to the top corner over Smith's left shoulder. Just over two minutes later, Sam Mellor on the left wing found Wade Murphy flying on the right wing. Murphy's quick wrist shot found the same spot as Flanagan's goal.
The Vipers kept on battling but could not get the puck over Katunar on three separate occasions when the 6' 6" goalie was sprawled in his crease.
Brendan Persley finally did get the puck in the net during a goal mouth scramble, but the goal was disallowed because referee Matt Thurston judged that Persley had made contact with his stick too high.
Vernon lost more than the game when both Geoff Crisfield and Brett Corkey had to be taken to the hospital with upper body injuries. The Vipers are now down to four defencemen because they've been carrying six D and 14 forwards. Neither is likely to return to action before Christmas.