It was good road period for the Vipers as they were skating hard and were forced to because thats the name of the game for the Wenatchee Wild. They didn't give up a lot of chances, but didn't get many of their own. That was important because the Wild are so good at home you can't give the 3000 fans a reason to cheer. The shots on goal may have been deceiving as I don't believe it was as lopsided as the box score would indicate. The game was scoreless after 1 period.
The second period had a little bit more in terms of offense as the Vipers would start on the powerplay, but couldn't get anything past Chase Perry. The Wild would open the score as a ricochet off a goal post went right to Mike Coyne who slapped it past Shortridge to make it 1-0 just 2 minutes into the period. The Wild had another opportunity thanks to a powerplay, but the PK buckled down and killed it off. The Vipers would counter attack and it was Griffin James powering his way behind the goal and feeding a pass in front for Jagger Williamson who made no mistake to tie the game up at 1. The Wild would retake the lead thanks to a powerplay goal from Kyle Stephan as his shot would hit Shortridge in the blocker but skipped just across the line. No more scoring after that, but the period would end with the home team leading by a score of 2-1.
Just like they have done, the third period narrative remains the same. The Vipers were the better team, as they put as much pressure on the Wild as they could considering the Wild don't give the puck up very much. The turning point appeared to be a fight between Brandt and Milliken, a spirited tilt between both guys. Andrew Shortridge made some big saves in the period to keep the Vipers down by just a goal. That proved important as Odeen Tufto would jam home a rebound with Shortridge on the bench for the extra attacker to tie the game up at 2 in the final minute.
In overtime, it was a pretty back and forth affair and late in the first overtime, Matt Burchill would mishandle a puck at the Viper blueline allowing Tufto to skate in on a 2 on 1 with Jimmy Lambert. The puck would roll on Tufto a bit, proving to be a benefit as the defense overslid the puck and Tufto would find Lambert open backdoor to end the game and give the Vipers a 3-2 win in overtime.
Here is the official box score:
|1-0 Wenatchee Wild at 2:00 - Mike Coyne from Dakota Raabe and Kyle Stephan|
|1-1 Vernon Vipers at 6:00 - Jagger Williamson from Griffin James and Liam Finlay|
|2-1 Wenatchee Wild at 9:55 (PP) - Kyle Stephan from Dakota Raabe and Mike Coyne|
|2-2 Vernon Vipers at 19:23 - Odeen Tufto from Latrell Charleson and Jagger Williamson|
|OVERTIME PERIOD 1|
|3-2 Vernon Vipers at 4:10 - Jimmy Lambert from Odeen Tufto|
|STARS OF THE GAME|
|1st STAR||2nd STAR||3rd STAR|
|Vernon Vipers||0 for 6 (00.0%)|
|Wenatchee Wild||1 for 5 (20.0%)|
The Vipers continue to trail while heading into the third period, which isn't a stat that usually leads to success and at times that has been true. The main positive to take away is that the third period remains the Vipers best period. In Surrey they came back with 3 unanswered while trailing by 2. Against Merritt, they came close to tying the game up and again tonight down by a goal, they pushed the pace. This time with the goalie pulled they put the puck at the net and were able to have it go in.
Could this be the turning point for the Vipers as they approach the midway mark of the season. They've been very inconsistent and have had some tough losses where maybe they deserved a better fate. This time they did play a good game and were rewarded. Is this the confidence builder the team has so sorely needed against a very good Wenatchee team.
The Vipers will have a chance to get on a roll with 3 games coming up next week and 2 of them at home. First up will be the Merritt Centennials for the second time in 8 days at Kal Tire Place. Its an internet only game so you can catch it on MixLR and FastHockey starting at 6:45.