March 26, 2019
Vernon, BC: Josh Latta scored twice and Aidan Porter stopped 17 shots as the Vernon Vipers downed the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters, 5-2 last night to advance to the BCHL Fred Page Cup Championship series.
In the first Game 7 played at Kal Tire Place in nearly nine years, the city embraced the evening with over 3,200 fans in attendance.
They were treated to a solid start from the home side as the Vipers jumped out to a 5-1 shot advantage in the first six minutes.
West Vancouver native Josh Latta (98) opened the scoring just over a minute later as he danced through the neutral zone before letting a hard wrister go from the left circle.
Nick Cherkowski (00), a Vernon product, added to the lead less than two minutes later as he walked off the corner boards and fired a shot that banked off a couple of bodies in front to make it 2-0 before the halfway mark of the first.
The Smoke Eaters got on the board at the 16:08 mark on the powerplay when Hayden Rowan deflected a pass past Aidan Porter to make it 2-1.
The Vipers responded 34 seconds later, restoring their two goal after Jagger Williamson jumped on a rebound in front of the Trail goal to close out the scoring, 3-1 after the first twenty minutes.
The Vipers held the Smokies to just three shots in the period.
The Vipers increased their lead about five minutes into the second, when Ben Sanderson found Carver Watson sneaking in from the left blue line and he ripped home his first of the playoffs to make it 4-1.
Trail made a goaltender change with BCMML callup Logan Terness of North Vancouver, relieving Adam Marcoux at that point.
He blanked the Vipers 15 times over the next 32:35, with Marcoux coming back in briefly with under two minutes to go.
Trail’s Braeden Tuck got the Smokies to within two early in the third, but it was all Vernon after that.
Latta notched an empty netter to make it 5-2.
Hats off to the very classy move by Jeff Tambellini of the Smokies as he put Adam Marcoux as well as the other 20 year olds out to finish the game. Marcoux was the story in Trail’s 5-2 home ice win on Saturday, stopping 46 in his first playoff action this season, to force game 7.
Shots finished 29-19 Vipers.
The Vipers will now face the Wenatchee Wild in the Interior Finals with the dates still yet to be determined.