The Vernon Vipers got some help from two recently signed forwards from the inactive Western Hockey League as they beat the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 4-1 Friday night.
Josh Prokop and Tyler Carpenter both scored in the second period of their first game with the Vipers, giving the team a lead they would hold onto until the final buzzer.
The Vipers controlled the game early, outshooting the Backs 15-5 in the first period. Vipers rookie forward Reagan Milburn had the best chance of the period with a shot that rang off the goal post. Riley Kohonick was strong between the pipes for Salmon Arm, keeping it scoreless after one.
The Backs opened the scoring against the flow of play in the second as a shot from Simon Tassy deflected off a Vipers defenceman and past goaltender Roan Clarke. The Vipers showed strong pushback, and Ethan Mercer evened the score with a shot low blocker side for his third goal of the preseason.
Prokop — who scored 21 goals in his rookie BC Hockey League season with the Vipers back in 2017/18 — marked his return to the team with a powerplay goal. Prokop found a soft spot in the left circle and rifled home a one-timer set up by Cameron McDonald to give the Vipers a 2-1 lead.
Carpendale, the Vipers’ other 20-year-old WHL signee, scored with less than a minute to go in the second period. Carpendale was set up for a tap-in by Nick Kent, who had three assists on the night.
Salmon Arm had several prime scoring chances in the third, but a fourth Vipers goal from Zack Tonelli on a rebound put the game nearly out of reach with 12:54 remaining in the game.
The Vipers would hold on for the 4-1 victory, outshooting the Backs 34-22 in the process.
The Vipers have improved to a 3-4-1 record in the Okanagan Cup standings, while the Silverbacks fall to 2-6-1. The two teams will go again tonight at 6 p.m. at Kal Tire Place.