Wild take series lead

The Wenatchee Wild are one game away from eliminating the Vernon Vipers from round two of the BC Hockey League Interior Division playoffs.

The Wild lead the best-of-seven series after a 3-2 overtime win at Kal Tire Place Friday evening.

Up three games to two, the Wild will now host the Vipers tonight in Wenatchee.

The Vipers opened the series with a pair of wins, but the Wild have stormed back with three victories in a row.

Cameron Trott and Jordan Sandhu each recorded singles in the losing effort.

Game six goes tonight in Wenatchee. The puck drops at 7 p.m.


Vees season on the brink

The Penticton Vees will be fighting to keep their season alive on Saturday, after a 4-3 loss in game five to the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday.

Penticton was in good shape after the first period, leading 2-1 and holding a 10-4 edge in shots. After Trail's Kale Howarth scored the game's first goal, Lucas Sillinger and Marcus Mitchell scored 47 seconds apart to give the Vees a lead.

The Smokies carried the play in the middle period, outshooting the Vees 15-3 and getting a goal from Levi Glasman to tie things at two.

Just past the midway mark of the third, Glasman buried his second of the game to give Trail a 3-2 lead. An empty-netter from Braeden Tuck with less than two minutes left to play wound up being the game-winner.

Taylor Ward scored his sixth goal of the playoffs on a powerplay and with the net empty to pull the Vees to within 4-3 with 28 seconds to play, but a late push by the home team was to no avail.

Final shots were 27-26 in favour of Trail. The Vees were one-for-four on the powerplay and four-for-five on the man-advantage.

Announced attendance at the South Okanagan Events Centre was 3,449, which is the largest crowd in any game so far in these playoffs.

Now down 3-2 in the series, the Vees will hope to keep their season alive when they visit Trail on Saturday night for game six. Puck drop will be at 7 p.m. at Cominco Arena. 

The Smoke Eaters, meanwhile, will have a chance to advance to the third round of the BCHL playoffs — something the team has never done in its 22-year history in the league. 

Game five goes tonight

It has come down to the best of three for the Vernon Vipers and Wenatchee Wild in the BC Hockey League Interior Division playoffs.

The Vipers won the first two games in Vernon, but the Wild bounced back in games three and four with victories over the Okanagan squad, knotting the best-of-seven series two games each.

Game five takes place tonight at Kal Tire Place. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

The Vipers will be meeting the Wild without their top player.

Jagger Williamson was suspended for two games for receiving his third goaltender interference penalty of the season during game three of the series.

Williamson missed game four due to the suspension and will have to watch game five from the sidelines, but will be back in the line up for game six.

Williamson has five goals and five assists in the play offs so far.

Vipers centre Brett Stapley suffered a concussion in game three of the series and is out for the remainder of the year.


Who's got the power?

Colton Davies

Powerplay goals have been a telltale stat through the first four games of the Penticton Vees and Trail Smoke Eaters second round series.

In all of those games, the winning team has scored multiple powerplay goals and allowed none.

The Vees scored twice with the extra man in game one and five more times in game two. The Smokies, meanwhile, were two-for-four on the powerplay in both game three and game four, which they won both of.

"Both the two games here were a tale of maybe undisciplined play on Trail's part, and then it kind of flipped when we went to their building," Vees head coach and general manager Fred Harbinson said.

Trail was shorthanded 13 times in the first two games of the series, while Penticton was down a man eight times in the next two.

It's not a surprise that powerplays have been clicking for both teams in this series. The Vees had the third-best powerplay in the BCHL regular season at 22 per cent, while the Smokies were fourth at 21.1 per cent.

"Powerplays go in waves. We had the same looks [in games three and four] that we had here, and just didn't execute," Harbinson said. 

While the Vees scored the opening goal in both games three and four, Harbinson felt his group "chased the game" too much in those games. 

"[We were] giving up the next few goals, and they were getting timely saves... We kept scratching and clawing in both games, maybe ran out of gas a little bit in game four," he said.

"Now it's a best-of-three, with an opportunity to play two out of three, if needed, in our building and a place we've been good all year."

Game five goes at 7 p.m. on Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre, before the teams travel to the Cominco Arena for a 7 p.m. start on Saturday.

For attendance, the four games so far in the Vees-Smokies series have been far-and-away the highest attended games of any teams in the second round.

"It was an outstanding atmosphere in one and two, same with three and four. It says a lot about our division and the fans in both places. It's what makes it exciting and what makes you want to play in the playoffs," Harbinson said. 

"We need a great push from our crowd (Friday) night."

Vipers drop another to Wild

The Vernon Vipers dropped their second straight game to the Wenatchee Wild, this time 7-1. 

The BCHL best of seven playoff series is now tied at two games each.    

The next two games are in Vernon at Kal Tire Place where so far in the 2018 playoffs the Vipers are undefeated. 

Next game is Friday. Puck drop is 7 p.m.

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