Veteran winger Riley Brandt scored twice as the Vernon Vipers grounded the Chilliwack Chiefs 8-3 in B.C. Hockey League action Saturday night before 1,583 fans at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers erupted for three goals in 3:05 shortly after the national anthem, chasing starter Aidan Pelino after Brandt went top cheddar from the right side on a delayed penalty, making it 3-0.
D-man Darren Rizzolo, obtained in a recent trade from the Chiefs, opened the offence on a gorgeous back-door feed from Odeen Tufto, eight seconds into a power play. New Yorker Joe Cipollone converted a rebound in tight 55 seconds later after a shot by Nic Rasovic.
Matteo Espositio took over the Chiefs’ crease and was actually beat by Chilliwack blueliner Bennett Morrison, who knocked the puck in trying to hold up Tufto. Liam Finlay was given credit for the goal midway through the opening 20. Morrison almost pulled a carbon-copy late in the game, shaking his head as he tapped Esposito on the pad.
Vernon (2-2-0-1) went in front 5-0 six minutes into the second period with Brandt wiring a wrister from the right wing after dishing a wicked check seconds earlier in the neutral zone.
The Chiefs, perhaps sensing the Vipers had gone into protect-the-lead mode, dominated the rest of the period, outshooting Vernon 21-9 and getting snipes from dangling Jesse Lansdell and Vimal Sukumaran 91 seconds apart.
Tufto, captain Colton McCarthy and Steven Jandric, into an empty net, completed the Vernon offence in the third period.
The Chiefs pulled Esposito and clicked on a 6-on-4 powerplay with Mark Esposito beating Vernon goalie Jarrod Schamerhorn with 4:50 remaining. Chilliwack (1-2) outshot Vernon 45-29 but had trouble containing the Snakes’ speed most of the night.
Brandt, Tufto and Vernon d-man Bo Pellah were named the three stars. Jimmy Lambert pocketed a pair of assists for the Snakes.