Vernon Vipers forward Brett Fudger creates traffic in front of Chilliwack Chiefs goalie Kolby Thornton during the Vipers’ 4-1 BCHL win Saturday, Oct. 12, at Kal Tire Place. (Roger Knox - Black Press)

Vernon Vipers avenge mid-week loss to Chilliwack

Vipers roll to 4-1 BC Hockey League victory Saturday on home ice

The Vernon Vipers held the visiting Chilliwack Chiefs to just seven shots on goal over the final 40 minutes and rolled to a 4-1 B.C. Hockey League win Saturday before 1,686 fans at Kal Tire Place.

The victory avenged a 2-0 Snakes loss to the Chiefs three nights earlier in Chilliwack.

Matt Kowalski scored twice for Vernon, his first snapping a 1-1 tie late in the middle frame, and his second on a powerplay at 14:47 gave Vernon a 3-1 third-period cushion. Connor Marritt finished the Vipers scoring at 17:12.

Ben Helgeson gave the Snakes a 1-0 first-period lead at 9:48 when he beat Chiefs starter Kolby Thornton from in-close.

Peter Reynolds tied the game for Chilliwack on a powerplay at 17:13.

It was the only one of 17 shots to beat Vernon starting goalie Reilly Herbst, playing his first full game since being acquired from the Chicago Steel of the U.S. Hockey League earlier in the week.

Herbst played the final two periods of Friday’s 5-2 Vipers win over the Merritt Centennials after starter Max Palaga left the game with a lower body injury. Herbst stopped all 14 shots he faced. He has played 100 minutes for the Vipers since arriving in town late Thursday, allowing one goal on 31 shots.

The Chiefs also had just 17 shots in their mid-week win over Vernon. Chilliwack went 0-1-0-1 for the weekend, falling 2-1 in overtime Friday to the Silverbacks in Salmon Arm.

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers offence goes cold

Vernon snapped a four-game losing streak Friday and also its lengthy goalless drought with the two points against Merritt.

Defenceman-turned-forward Keigo Hachisuka’s goal 53 seconds into the contest was Vernon’s first marker in the month of October, snapping a drought of 190 minutes and 42 seconds without scoring.

The start of the game was delayed nearly 90 minutes after the Centennials’ bus encountered problems en route to Vernon.

Kowalski scored at 5:58 of the first to give the Vipers a 2-0 lead before Rylan Van Unen and Thomas Manty scored on Palaga before the end of the period. Palaga was injured in a collision. He finished the period but gave way to Herbst at the start of the second period.

Ryan Shostak’s first of two goals in the middle frame at 1:34 proved to be the game-winner. Marritt made it 4-2 at 9:20, and Shostak rounded out the game’s scoring at 18:54.

Vernon (5-6-0-0) visits Merritt on Wednesday. The Vipers sent defenceman Doug Scott to the Centennials after Friday’s game for future considerations. Scott had one goal in six games for Vernon.


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Chilliwack Chiefs defenceman Nathan Kelly (left) and Vernon Vipers forward Brett Fudger keep their eyes on the action in front of Chiefs goalie Kolby Thornton during Vernon’s 4-1 BCHL win Saturday, Oct. 12, at Kal Tire Place. (Roger Knox - Black Press)

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