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vipers win final pre-season tilt

vipers win final pre-season tilt

by don klepp | Added 2011-09-16

In a game that featured the referee's whistle, the Vipers prevailed over the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters, 4-2, on Friday.

Each team scored once in eight power play opportunities. Neither squad was able to generate much sustained pressure with the man advantage. When chances were created, Vernon's Kirby Halcrow and Trail's Matt Larose were sharp in net.

The Vipers jumped into an early 2-0 lead, with sharp shooters set up by Alex Hagen. First, at 2.14 of the first period, Hagen took Jarryd TenVaanholt's pass in the left faceoff circle and rifled a shot that Larose could only parry. Jedd Soleway pounced on the rebound and beat Larose with a snap shot just inside the right post.

Four minutes later, Hagen's nifty drop pass in the right faceoff circle was immediately converted by Adam Tambellini, who was trailing the play.

Larose held the fort in the second period, as he stymied Patrick McGillis and then denied Mike Zalewski twice when the two Viper veterans went one-on-one with the 6'4" puck stopper.

His saves took on added significance when Brent Baltus closed the gap to 2-1 when set up cleverly by Dallas Calvin. On the play, Kirby Halcrow was caught up in the traffic at the edge of his crease.

The Vipers seemingly put the game to bed with two quick strikes early in the third period. After taking a short pass from Riley Hunt in the offensive zone, Connor Hartley went behind the net and fed a streaking Marcus Basara at the crease for a nice tap in.

On the next shift, Darren Nowick beat two defenders along the right boards and located Mike Zalewski in front, Zalewski, who had been threatening to score all night, calmly lifted the puck over Larose's right arm.

That goal meant that each of the four Viper lines contributed a goal in the game.

Then, the Viper penalty parade began. The Smoke Eaters had five power plays in the second half of the final period, including two 5-on-3 advantages. They converted with a few seconds remaining on their last opportunity when Captain Logan Proulx knocked in a backhand at Halcrow's doorstep after a spirited rush by Brent Baltus.

The Vipers thus finished their exhibition schedule with three wins and a loss, while Trail lost four of five pre-season games.

The Vipers open their regular season with a game at 7 pm Friday, September 23, as they host arch-rival Salmon Arm. Check this website for details of the pre-game festivities.

Game Notes:
Aaron Hadley, Colton Sparrow, and Luke Juha nursed injuries in the press box. They were joined by goalie Alex Wakaluk, who remains in the Viper den while competing for the backup spot with Vernon's Danny Todosychuk.

Trail has three 20-year-old defencemen on the roster: Rajan Sidhu, Clayton McEwan, and Nick Wong. All the Viper rearguards are 18, except for 19-year-old Brett Corkey and 17-year-old Turner Lawson.

The Viper overage players are Captain Patrick McGillis, Jarryd Ten Vaanholt, Darren Nowick, and Kirby Halcrow.