The Vernon Vipers close out the first part of an 11-game B.C. Hockey League road swing Sunday afternoon in Nanaimo against the Clippers, hoping to extend the team’s winning streak to eight games.
Vernon enters the game having won seven straight, including the first two games of the Island-Sunshine Coast swing, beating the Kings 5-3 in Powell River Friday, then rolling into Port Alberni Saturday and handing the Alberni Valley Bulldogs their first home-ice loss of the season, rallying for a 4-3 shootout victory.
Affiliate player call-up goalie Cole Steinke, who plays for the Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, got the start Saturday and responded with a solid effort, making 18 saves while the Vipers peppered Bulldogs netminder Luke Pearson with 46 shots. Steinke is filling in for the injured Max Palaga.
Vernon trailed 3-2 and had Steinke on the bench for an extra attacker when Christian Felton found Cam MacDonald in front of the net with 73 seconds left in regulation time to force overtime. Two five-minute OT sessions solved nothing, so the game was to be decided by the shootout, where Steinke and Pearson were at the mercy of the shooters.
First up for Alberni was Dawson Tritt and he ripped home a goal. Dawson Holt was next for Vernon and was stopped. Tommy Bannister was then thwarted by Steinke. Connor Marritt buried his chance and it was even at one after two rounds. In the third round Ryan Doolin would snipe one home, followed by a goal from MacDonald and it was square again. Mitch Deelstra struck for one for the ‘Dogs only to be followed up by a goal from Matt Kowalski making it 3-3 after four rounds. In the fifth round, Jackson Doucet was stopped and Nick Kent would win it for the Vipers with a hot shot to the glove side giving his team the 4-3 win.