Vipers outshine Warriors

The West Kelowna Warriors seemed to be a step behind the Vernon Vipers all night long.

It showed on the scoreboard as the Interior Division leaders rolled to a 5-0 victory over the Warriors in their first home game of 2018.

The Warriors seemed to have some jump off the opening faceoff, but the ended up on the wrong end of a skirmish between Warrior Cavin Tilsley and Vernon's Jagger Williamson half a minute into the game.

The two tussled in the centre ice faceoff circle to start the game, then came together moments later at the Vernon blueline. Tilsley dropped his gloves and went after Williamson.

Only one punch was thrown, but it was enough to give Tilsley seven minutes in penalties and a game misconduct. The Vipers scored on the lengthy power play, and the Warriors seemed to play catch up all night.

"I agree. Absolutely 100 per cent agree," said Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster.

"When something like that happens in the first 30 seconds...maybe it zaps the energy. Not good."

A pair of goals two-and-a-half minutes apart midway through the first from Brett Stapley and Connor Marritt made it 3-0 Vernon. At the time, they also owned an 11-1 shot advantage.

That one Warrior shot came in the opening seconds of the game.

Williamson in the second and Alex Swetlikoff in the third rounded out the scoring.

Ty Taylor turned aside 26 shots for his league-leading 18th win and seventh shutout. Taylor also leads all goaltenders in goals against average and save percentage.

His biggest test came in the opening period when Michael Lombardi steamrolled his way to the front of the net, but was cross checked into Taylor as he tried to muscle the puck into the net.

"They have a great hockey team over there, they play hard and they play the right way," said Ferster of the Vipers.

"You see what happens when we don't (play a good game). Our details weren't very good.

"I guess that's my fault again. I seem to come out and say it's always my fault."

Tuesday's game marked the return of forward Parm Dhaliwall, who played just one game since late November with a concussion.

Forwards Chase Stevenson and Matt Kowalski remain out of the lineup with injuries. Ferster said they are not close to returning.

They were joined on the injury list by defenceman Cody Paivarinta, who was a late scratch Tuesday.

The Warriors look to return to the win column Friday when they travel to Trail.

Following that game, they play six of their next seven at Royal LePage Place, beginning Saturday when the Salmon Arm Silverbacks come to town.

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