The Vernon Vipers won Game 1 of the B.C. Hockey League’s Interior Conference final Saturday, defeating the hometown Wenatchee Wild 4-3 in overtime. (Morning Star - file photo)

Vernon Vipers draw first blood in BCHL Interior Final

Defenceman Michael Young scores in overtime, giving Vipers a 4-3 win over hometown Wenatchee Wild

Michael Young started the scoring in Game 1 of the B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference final Saturday.

Young ended the Game 1 scoring.

The Vernon Vipers’ veteran defenceman scored his second goal 26 seconds into overtime, giving the Snakes a 4-3 win over the Wenatchee Wild before 2,701 fans at the Town Toyota Centre.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Sunday night in Wenatchee before the series shifts back to Vernon for Games 3 and 4 Tuesday and Wednesday at Kal Tire Place (7 p.m. starts in Vernon).

The Wild defeated Vernon in the Interior Conference semifinals in 2018, on their way to winning the Fred Page Cup championship.

Young, who has five playoff goals, intercepted a missed pass at the right point and fired the puck toward the Wild net. The puck hit a body in front and changed direction past goalie Cal Sandquist.

The Vipers jumped out to a 3-0 lead Saturday. They scored on two of their first seven shots in the opening period, courtesy of Young, at 10:33, and Lane Zablocki, with his first, at 11:51, to chase Wild starting goalie Austin Park.

Josh Latta’s fourth of the post-season at 3:46 of the middle frame gave Vernon a comfortable 3-0 lead.

That’s when the Wild made things uncomfortable.

PJ Fletcher scored twice – his sixth and seventh of the playoffs – at 5:45 and 8:54 to make it 3-2 Vernon going into the third period.

Brian Adams capped the Wenatchee comeback with his third of the playoff at 8:28, setting the stage for Young’s overtime heroics.

Vernon is 4-1 in overtime games this post-season, and also 5-1 on the road.

Aidan Porter made 22 saves for his ninth post-season win in the Vernon goal, while Sandquist stopped 20 shots in relief of Park.

In Prince George, the hometown Spruce Kings took a 2-0 lead in the other league semifinal, beating the Victoria Grizzlies 4-2 for a second straight night.

The series shifts to the provincial capital for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Tuesday.

Corey Cunningham’s fourth post-season goal at 18:03 of the second period, his second goal on the night, snapped a 2-2 tie for the Mainland Division champion Spruce Kings. Dustin Manz scored his second of the game, and seventh of the playoffs, at 10:37 of the third for insurance.

Riley Hughes and Cameron Thompson scored powerplay goals for the Island Division champion Grizzlies.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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