Alex Swetlikoff of the Vernon Vipers and Harrison Blaisdell of the Chilliwack Chiefs battle for the puck in Wednesday night BCHL play Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star)

Vipers power past Chiefs

Vernon 4 Chilliwack 1 in Wednesday nighter

Five-on-five, the Chilliwack Chiefs played the Vernon Vipers fairly even Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place

Five-on-three, the Vipers were dynamite and converted twice to dispatch the Chiefs 4-1 before 1,729 B.C. Hockey League fans. Vernon went 2-for-6 on the powerplay, while the Chiefs only enjoyed one man-advantage chance. Chilliwack is the fourth-highest penalized team in the league.

The Vipers host the Langley Rivermen Friday night and visit the Penticton Vees Saturday night.

Defenceman Michael Young opened the Viper offence at 12:45 of a tight-checking first period with a low wrister from the points. Jimmy Lambert drew the assist on Young’s sixth of the season.

The Chiefs levelled the score 91 seconds into the second stanza when Tommy Lee beat Viper goalie Anthony Yamnitsky over the right shoulder from just inside the ringette line. Lee has 13 snipes.

Viper monster d-man Shane Kelly cranked up the mediocre mid-week intensity level when he applied a heavy hit on Chief winger Adam Berg six minutes into the second period. Berg was assessed a kneeing major and game misconduct shortly after on Viper d-man Michael Ufberg. Winger Anthony Vincent was penalized for cross checking 51 seconds into the Viper powerplay, giving Vernon its first five-on-three.

Blueliner Cameron Trott connected soon after on a nice one-timer from the point after some rapid passing by Lambert and d-man Chris Jandric. It was Trott’s second of the year. Vernon d-man Michael Ufberg mishandled the puck at the Chilliwack blueline 37 seconds after Trott’s goal, and then chased Chiefs’ leading pointgetter Will Calverley on a breakaway, pulling Calverley down before he got a clear shot away.

Calverley tried a deke on the ensuing penalty shot but was denied by Yamnitsky, who won his 12th game.

The Vipers clicked again on a two-man advantage at 7:59 with Brett Stapley pocketing his 21st on a nifty redirect. Trott and Ufberg earned assists. Vincent was given a minor for closing his hand on the puck to give Vernon the five-on-three.

Vernon, who went with 11 forwards and seven d-men due to injuries, has the sixth-rated powerplay in the 17-team BCHL and they stuck to their regular routine.

“We were making smart plays and it was working in our favour and we took it from there,” said Trott, of the powerplay.

Stapley completed the offence with 52 seconds left in the period when he buried a quick shot in tight after a pass by former Chief Jesse Lansdell from behind the net. Ufberg registered the secondary helper.

Ufberg figured having last weekend to rest put the Vipers ahead in preparation. They were without veterans Jagger Williamson and Keyvan Mohktari, both with concussions.

“We knew Chilliwack had a good group over there and the boys came out with big push,” said the Philly product who has a team-high 40 assists. “It was a great effort by everybody. We’re a solid team and a deep team so we don’t feel we miss much when we have guys out, but it will be nice to get those guys back soon. Some guys are definitely playing more than they would if we had those injured guys, and they’re stepping it up.”

Calverley felt the Chiefs, who are 9-13-1-2 on the road, performed well until getting into penalty trouble.

“You can’t give a team like Vernon two five-on-threes and consistent powerplays,” said the Toronto native. “We’ve taken a lot of penalties this year. We know there are going to be penalties, but we have to limit when we take them, and we can’t string six penalties together in a row.”

Vernon product Powell Connor started on the Chiefs’ blueline, but left the game early with a pulled groin.

“They’re (Vernon) a good team, they’re deep,” said Connor. “Obviously, all the teams in the league are good. They (Vipers) have a lot of speed and they’re good at what they do, and every line can do it.”

In other play, it was: Penticton 4 Trail 1; Salmon Arm 5 Coquitlam 2; Victoria 6 Cowichan Valley 3; Nanaimo 4 Alberni Valley 3 (OT).

Vernon outshot Chilliwack 37-29 and improved to 33-13-1-4 for second spot in the Interior Division, two points back of Penticton. The Chiefs dipped to 22-21-3-3 for fourth place in the Mainland, five points behind the second-place Surrey Eagles, with one game in hand.

In other play, it was: Penticton 4 Trail 1; Salmon Arm 5 Coquitlam 2; Victoria 6 Cowichan Valley 3; Nanaimo 4 Alberni Valley 3 (OT).

@Vernon Vipers

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