An early two-goal lead wasn’t enough for the Vernon Vipers to hold off the West Kelowna Warriors Friday night.
Goaltender Roman Basran came into the game as an emergency backup for the Warriors — on loan from the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League — and left Kal Tire Place with a 4-3 shootout victory.
West Kelowna jumped out to an early lead on the powerplay as Nick Ardanaz scored his first goal of the Okanagan Cup tournament two minutes into play.
The Vipers evened things when Will Arquiett — recently acquired in a trade from Cowichan Valley — was hauled down on a breakaway. The 20-year-old forward was awarded a penalty shot and made no mistake, deking out Basran to knot the score at one.
Towards the end of the first period the Vipers capitalized on a double-minor tripping penalty by Warriors skater Tyson Jugnauth. Hunter Donohoe and Nicholas Remissong scored less than a minute apart to give the Vipers a 3-1 lead after one.
The Warriors proved unfazed heading into the second, scoring two goals in short succession. Felix Trudeau beat Vipers goalie Roan Clarke with a deflection for his fourth goal of the tournament. Three minutes later, Matthew Stienburg scored to tie the score 3-3.
A physical but scoreless third period sent the teams to overtime, where it was Clarke’s turn to face a penalty shot after Warriors’ John Evans was interfered with on a breakaway. Clarke denied Evans with a flash of the left pad, and after Basran turned away a late Vipers chance it was onto the shootout.
Basran stopped two of the three shots he faced in his final test, with Arquiett scoring on the Vipers’ first attempt. Stienburg made good on his attempt as well, and it was former Viper Elan Bar Lev Wise who gave the Warriors the W and the extra point.
The Vipers sit third in the BC Hockey League’s exhibition tournament standings, four points back of the Warriors with two games in hand.
The teams are back in action tonight with a 7 p.m. puck drop at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna.