Vernon, BC – Josh Latta tallied a pair of goals, while Aidan Hosein made 19 saves as he Vernon Vipers rang up their first home win of the season Friday night, dispatching the West Kelowna Warriors 4-3 in front of 1962 fans at Kal Tire Place.
There was plenty of action in the first period as both teams had chances to get the scoring started. Goaltenders and physics proved to be the difference as both Aidan Hosein and Connor Hopkins made a handful of big saves. There were a few goal mouth scrambles that saw pucks squeak across goal lines, rattle of defenders, yet not find their way into the back of the net. Shots were very close as the Vipers had a slight 13-11 edge.
In the second, the good goaltending continued, the physics however favoured the offense as the Vipers struck first, three minutes in. Josh Latta ripped a low shot, blocker side, on Hopkins to make it 1-0 for the home side. Less than three minutes later, Latta was at it again being set up by Elan Bar-Lev-Wise and again the West Vancouver product snapped shot low blocker to give his team a 2-0 lead. The Warriors broke the goose egg as Declan Douthart snuck in the back door and finished off a pass from James Philpott to make the score 2-1. The Vipers ended up on the powerplay 2 minutes later and Michael Young banged home a rebound to put Vernon back up by 2, 3-1. The Warriors powerplay would get a chance to convert and they did just that, as Willie Reim tapped home a rebound off the goal post to make it 3-2. The Vipers restored that two goal lead in the final minute of the frame as a great effort from Coleton Bilodeau was stopped, but Nick Wildgoose found the rebound and gave his team a 4-2 lead heading to the dressing room after 2.
From there, the Vipers shut it down defensively, not giving up a shot for the first 9 minutes of the period. They were able to slow up the Warrior attack and cause a number of turnovers. Connor Hopkins was under siege in the West Kelowna goal, stopping all 13 shots he faced. The Warriors made it a one goal game with just seconds remaining as Willie Reim tipped home a point shot. The final buzzer would sound as the Vipers got their second win of the year by a 4-3 score.
The Vipers cap off their weekend set against the Trail Smoke Eaters at Kal Tire Place on Saturday night. You can catch the pregame show on 107.5 Beach Radio or HockeyTV starting at 5:45, puck drop at 6.