The Vipers planned on a quick start against West Kelowna on Friday but Seb Lloyd had different ideas as he scored a first-period hat trick to lead the Warriors to a 7-1 win.
Lloyd scored on a breakaway 29 seconds into the contest after a pinching Viper D-man was caught in the Warrior zone on an early Viper flurry. The speedster faked left at the Viper crease and tucked the puck under Danny Todosychuk.
The Vipers responded on the next shift. Colton Sparrow lugged the puck out of his zone and squeezed by a defender at the Warrior blue line. He waited for Adam Tambellini to work clear in the high slot and passed to Tambellini, whose one-timer flew over Tyler Briggs’s left shoulder 20 seconds after Lloyd’s opener.
Lloyd restored the Warrior lead at 3.30 after some slack marking gave Marcus Basara space to come out front and set up Lloyd for a tap-in.
The Warriors then scored three straight power play goals. Adam Plant ripped a slap shot over Todosychuk’s right shoulder at 16:50 and Lloyd deflected Plant’s low point shot at 18:39 to complete his hat trick.
Lloyd drew an assist on David Pope’s power play marker at 1:14 of the second period to complete his four-point night.
Austin Smith, who had replaced Todosychuk after the fourth Warrior goal was unable to squeeze a Matt Anholt shot and Shawn Hochhausen beat Viper defenders to the loose puck at 8:43. Ambrose Firkus completed the rout with nifty stickhandling and a quick low shot at 12:04.
From that point, the Vipers had the edge in play and by the final whistle had created two more scoring chances than the Warriors (17-15). However Tyler Briggs was outstanding in the West Kelowna net, especially in the third period.
The Viper penalty kill, which was too passive early in the contest, became more energetic and committed as they kept the puck out of the net on the last four Warrior power plays.
The Viper power play was blanked on three official opportunities, but one of them lasted only two seconds and another just 17 seconds.
The Vipers were the more physical team, registering 36 hits while the Warriors were credited with 26. The most robust check came on the game’s first shift when Jedd Soleway went shoulder to shoulder with Reid Simmonds, who crumpled into the boards in front of the West Kelowna bench. Simmonds did not return to the game.
The rookie line of Logan Mick, Mitch McAllister, and TJ Dumonceaux was energetic for the Vipers as they created several scoring chances. Dumonceaux came closest to scoring when he waltzed through the Warrior defence in the third period and wired a shot over the net.
The Mitch Van Teeling, Liam Board, and Braedan Russell line also gave Tyler Briggs fits in the third period.