Vernon Vipers defenceman Luke Ashton races for the puck against Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Maddux Martin at Kal Tire Place Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. (Lisa Mazurek photo)

Vernon Vipers defenceman Luke Ashton races for the puck against Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Maddux Martin at Kal Tire Place Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. (Lisa Mazurek photo)

Vernon Vipers sting Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Luke Pakulak scored a pair of goals in the Friday night victory

The Vernon Vipers came out on top by a score of 5-2 against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday night at home at Kal Tire Place.

The Snakes went 1-2 on the powerplay and put up 25 shots. Goaltender Roan Clarke performed well, stopping 24 of the 26 shots he faced.

Nine different Vipers tallied a point including Connor Welsh, who scored his first goal with Vernon against his former team.

Salmon Arm opened the scoring just under six minutes into the first period as Brandon Santa Juana set up Ethan Ullrick who notched his 13th goal of the season.

About eight minutes later, Welsh jumped on a pass from Max Borovinskiy and backhanded it to the roof of the net for his second goal of the season and first with the Vipers.

The Vipers took their first lead on the powerplay as Luke Pakulak scored his seventh of the season, assisted by Lee Parks and Seiya Tanaka-Campbell.

Early in the second, after the Backs nearly tied it as the puck hit the post, Gavin Schmidt set up Pakulak for his second goal of the game to make it 3-1.

The Vipers kept their foot on the gas, as two minutes later Jonathan Horn scored, assisted by Thomas Tien.

Backs goalie Matthew Tovell was replaced by Carter Richardson after giving up four goals on 17 shots. Richardson finished the night with seven saves on seven shots.

The Silverbacks would get one back towards the end of the period off the stick of William Lavigne, his fourth of the season, to make it 4-2 after two.

In the third, there was no scoring until Hank Cleaves popped in an empty netter at the 17 minute mark to put the game out of reach.

With the win, the Vipers moved into sixth place in the BC Hockey League Interior division with 26 points in 25 games played. The Silverbacks are fourth in the Interior with 30 points in 26 games.

The two teams will go at it again Saturday night, this time at the Shaw Centre. Puck drops at 5 p.m.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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