Four goals in the second period lifted the Vernon Vipers to a 4-3 win over the West Kelowna Warriors in B.C. Hockey League action in front of 1,962 fans at Kal Tire Place Friday.
Forward Josh Latta snapped a scoreless tie with carbon copy goals four minutes apart early in the middle frame for the Vipers.
Latta picked up a puck in the slot area with his back to West Kelowna goalie Connor Hopkins, turned, fired and beat Hopkins to the stick side on both markers.
The Warriors, outshot 13-11 in the opening frame, didn’t get their first shot of the second period until the 7:02 mark. On their second shot, at 8:15, they pulled to within a goal as Declan Douthart put home a terrific pass from Sam Anderson that Vernon goalie Aidan Hosein had no chance of stopping.
The Vipers restored its two-goal edge at 10:11 on the powerplay, as defenceman Michael Young moved in from the left point to put home a huge rebound from Hopkins off a Josh Prokop shot.
West Kelowna made it 3-2 with the man advantage at 15:13, when defenceman Lucas Bahn’s point shot hit the crossbar and dropped right onto the stick of Willie Reim, who deposited the puck behind Hosein.
Vernon rookie forward Nicholas Wildgoose got the eventual winner with 53 seconds left in the period. Defenceman Coleton Bilodeau took a marvelous pass from blueline partner Mitch Andres, split the Warriors defence and got a shot in alone on Hopkins. Wildgoose had a gaping cage to put in the rebound.
Reim deflected a Bahn shot past Hosein with 10 seconds left in the game to pull West Kelowna to within a goal.
Vernon (2-1) held the Warriors (1-2) to just 22 shots on goal, including only 11 over the final 40 minutes. The Vipers fired 42 shots at Hopkins.
Hosein picked up the win in his BCHL debut.
SNAKE BITES: The Vipers welcomed back defencman Austin Chorney, who missed the first two games of the regular season thanks to a suspension picked up in the exhibition slate…Speaking of suspensions, Vernon native Matt Kowalski did not dress for the Warriors.