Merritt, BC: The Vernon Vipers rallied from three, 1 goal deficits, but couldn’t overcome they fourth as the fell 4-3 in Merritt on Friday night.
The Vipers came out with a strong effort in the first period, an effort they would carry through the entirety of the game. They had a chance on an early powerplay as Vincent Guy sat for a Check from Behind and a game misconduct. The Vipers had some solid zone time, but couldn’t find the back of the net. With Brendan Kim in the box, the Cents took advantage as an end wall bounce ricocheted to the far side of the ice where Matthew Kopperud was positioned and he slapped home his 9th of the season to give Merritt a 1-0 lead. The Vipers had a great shift after a goal as Teddy Wooding slapped a shot from the right circle. It missed the net, but rebounded right in front of the goal where Coleton Bilodeau scored his 3rd of the year to make it 1-1. Each team had a powerplay in the last half of the period, but no more goals would go up as the period ended tied at 1.
The Vipers dominated a good portion of the second period, outshooting the Cents 20-12. As was the case in the first period, the Cents powerplay got on the board again as a rebound hit Christian Sabin in front and bounced in to give Merritt a 2-1 lead. The Vipers had chances on the powerplay, but couldn’t convert and frustration briefly started to show. The Vipers shook it off and late in the period Ben Helgeson finished off a nice faceoff play for his third of the year to send the game to a 2-2 tie after 2.
A rare defensive miscue cost the Vipers a third goal against as Nick Wicks scored his 4th of the season. A defensive miscue went the other way as Teddy Wooding picked off a pass at center and wired his 7th of the year home to make it 3-3. The Cents ended up on another powerplay and Nick Granowicz finished off a nice passing play to make it 4-3. The Vipers had a couple of chances in the last half of the period, but Vincent Duplessis was strong and the horn sounded with the score finishing 4-3.
Here’s the Scoring Summary:
MER – Matthew Kopperud (9) – Jaydon Fetter (11), Brendan Schneider (13) – 7:51 (PP)
VER – Coleton Bilodeau (3) – Teddy Wooding (7) – 8:47
MER – Christian Sabin (4) – Mathieu Gosselin (13) – 12:38 (PP)
VER – Ben Helgeson (3) – Nick Cherkowski (5) – 18:40
MER – Nick Wicks (4) – Matthew Kopperud (9), Joey Berkopec (3) – 4:46
VER – Teddy Wooding (7) – Ben Sanderson (3), Coleton Bilodeau (7) – 6:44 (PP)
MER – Nick Granowicz (16) – Brad Cocca (20), Mathieu Gosselin (14) – 13:29 (PP)
The Vipers hit the second leg of their 4 game road trip Saturday night in Salmon Arm.