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BCHL  

Vipers win thrilling Game 7

The Vernon Vipers kept their playoff run alive Monday with a 5-2 Game 7 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Josh Latta scored twice and Aidan Porter stopped 17 shots as the Vipers closed out the hard-fought series in front of a sellout crowd at Kal Tire Place.

It was the first Game 7 played at Kal Tire Place in nearly nine years.

The Vipers jumped out to a 5-1 shot advantage in the first six minutes. Latta opened the scoring in the first period as he danced through the neutral zone before letting a hard wrister go from the left circle to make it 1-0. 

Nick Cherkowski added to the lead a few minutes later with a shot banked off a couple of bodies in front of the net to make it 2-0. 

The Smoke Eaters answered on the power play when Hayden Rowan deflected a pass past Aidan Porter to make it 2-1. But, the Vipers restored their two-goal lead on the next shift when Jagger Williamson jumped on a rebound in front of the Trail net to make it 3-1 at the end of the first frame. 

Vernon held the Smokies to just three shots in the period.

The Vipers continued to frustrate the Smoke Eaters in the second period, increasing their lead when Ben Sanderson found Carver Watson sneaking in from the left blue line, who ripped home his first of the playoffs to make it 4-1. 

Trail replaced Adam Marcoux with Donovan Buskey in goal, who continued to be tested by the Snakes.

The Smokies came out gunning in the final period, and Braeden Tuck was set up from behind the net on a power play to make it 4-2. 

Busker was pulled for the extra attacker, but again the Vipers held off the attack, and Latta hit the empty net to make it 5-2 at the buzzer.

The Vipers now face the Wenatchee Wild in the Interior Finals.



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