The Vernon Vipers started off the regular season on the right foot with a 4-2 win over the West Kelowna Warriors Friday night.
The visiting Vipers were out-shot 30-41 at West Kelowna’s Royal LePage Place, but a 39 save performance from Max Palaga helped secure the victory. A phenomenal save on a third-period odd-man rush was the highlight of his night – and likely of the night in general.
The score was knotted at two goals apiece after a fast-paced first period. Right-winger rookie Cameron MacDonald scored his first BCHL goal just over eight minutes into the game on a strong play, walking through two Warriors players before firing the puck off the post and in.
The Warriors quickly jumped a head with two goals in under a minute, but the Vipers in turn were quick to rally. One shift after letting the Warriors take the lead, Ben Helgeson got the Vipers back to even ground with a goal from the left circle, set up by Christian Felton.
After a more tepid (and scoreless) second frame the Vipers turned things up a notch in the third. Logan Cash was the spark plug, dropping the gloves with Lucas Cullen. From there the Vipers took the lead thanks to a snapper from Landon Fuller, and Connor Merritt added an empty net goal to secure the game.
Some preparation time is in order for the Vipers, who are set to embark on a two-game trip to Wenatchee next weekend.