Thursday, February 21, 2019


Vernon scored twice in the first and twice in the second period to open up a 4-0 lead and cruised the rest of the way to a 4-1 victory over the Express Wednesday in Vernon. Click here for boxscore

The Vipers have been one of the BCHL's better teams since the Christmas break and that showed right off the bat jumping on the Express peppering Express goaltender Clay Stevenson with the games first 6 shots. Credit to Stevenson who looked sharp right from the get go.

Jared Power generated the Express first shot of the night taking a quick pass and unleashing a quick one timer that was stopped by Aidan Porter who made his best save of the opening frame coming to his left.

Cooper Connell came close to opening the scoring by sliding a low wrist shot that caught the outside of the post.

Vernon's pressure on the puck in the Express zone forced the visitors to possibly move it quicker than they wanted to. That would translate to Vernon chances. Late in the period they broke through digging a puck off the boards then Colton Bilodeau jamming the puck to the net under the pad of Clay Stevenson to open the scoring.

In the final seconds of the period a Josh Wildauer pass bounced off the skate of a Vipers player back into the Express zone allowing Teddy Wooding to walk in on a breakaway where he slid the puck inside the post and pad of Stevenson for a 2-0 Express lead after 1.

The Express had a strong start to the second period, but it didn't take long for the Vipers to start tilting the ice back to the other end.

Logan Cash broke it from the left wing and slid a shot through Stevenson at 2:23 later.

At this point despite getting beat three times, Clay Stevenson was facing a number of quality chances and minimizing the Vernon damage.

Trey Taylor made it a 4-0 lead at 8:43 as the puck rolled back to him at the left point where his shot surprised Stevenson and the puck flied over his shoulder and in. The 4-0 goal brought and end to Stevenson's night after 20 shots. Or so he thought.

Kolby Matthews came off the bench after the 4th Vernon goal. He would only last 3 minutes however. Ben Sanderson found himself alone in front of the Express net before Pito Walton realized the uncovered forward and rushed back and levelled Sanderson, but in the process shoving Sanderson right on top of Kolby Matthews who was hurt immediately. Matthews would leave the game after facing just 3 Vipers shots and Stevenson was forced back into action.

Stevenson took advantage of the opportunity for some semblance of redemption shutting the door the rest of the way turning aside 10 more Vernon shots.

Drew Cooper broke Aidan Porter's shutout bid 7 minutes into the third period one timing a drop pass from Alex DiPaolo for his 5th of the season.

The loss prevented the Express from locking down third place in the Mainland division. That can still be done if the Express pick up two points in their final game of the season in Surrey Friday. Langley can still jump into third if the Express lose their final game in any manner and the Rivermen sweep their final three games of the season vs. Merritt and a home and home with Surrey. 

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