Warriors season ends, Vipers move on
Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet
Warriors goaltender Cody Porter makes a spectacular save off Demico Hannoun on a second period breakaway...
Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet
...before TJ Dumonceaux puts away the rebound to put the Vipers up 2-0.
It will be the Vernon Vipers and the Penticton Vees in the BC Hockey League's Interior Division final.
The Vipers, who will host this year's RBC Cup in May ousted the higher seeded West Kelowna Warriors in six game Tuesday with a 5-0 victory before 1,100 fans at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers were full value for the win as the Warriors, with a roster depleted due to injury, simply ran out of gas.
The face of veteran Seb Lloyd, playing his last game in a Warrior uniform, said it all as he stood in tears in the hallway in front of the Warriors dressing room for several minutes.
Lloyd, who played game six despite a noticeable limp the day before from a leg injury suffered in game two, returned to the bench staring out onto the empty sheet of ice before finally returning to the room.
Brendan Persley scored twice and added an assist for the victorious Vipers. Brett Mulcahy, TJ Dumonceaux and Liam Coughlin also scored for the Vipers.
The Warriors started quickly and had several good chances in the opening few minutes.
Lloyd had an empty net but his shot deflected off a Vernon defender. A few minutes later, Lloyd had another chance go off Austin Smith's shoulder and off the goal post.
Midway through the first, against the run of play, Colton Sparrow threw a puck on net from the left circle. Warriors goaltender Cody Porter chipped it away with his stick only to have the puck bounce off Mulcahy and in.
Persley made it 2-0 midway through the second. Seconds after a Vernon penalty expired the Warriors were caught on a sloppy line change allowing the Vipers to break in three on one. Michael McNicholas fed a perfect pass to Persely who tapped the puck into the empty side of the net.
Dumonceaux made it 3-0 four minutes later when he banged home a rebound after Porter had made a spectacular save off Demico Hannoun who came in on a clear cut breakaway.
Goals by Coughlin and Persley late in the third sealed the win.
The game was the last in a Warriors uniform for several players who will either graduate due to age restrictions or move on to college or university.
The Vipers will will face the Vees in the interior final beginning Friday night in Penticton.
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