The Vernon Vipers lost 4-3 in overtime to the Coquitlam Express in Game 2 of the B.C. Hockey League best-of-seven finals series Saturday night at Kal Tire Place. The Express grab a 2-0 lead as the series shifts back to Coquitlam for Games 3 and 4.
The Vipers came out ready to rumble in the first period in front of a charged-up crowd of 1,900.
“We were physical tonight. We got off to a good start once again; they made some plays to get back in it. I still feel like we had our chances late,” said Vipers’ head coach Jason Williamson.
Once again the Vipers struck first. Dexter Dancs simply threw the puck on net from below the left faceoff circle when it sneaked past Express goalie Gordie Defiel. D-man Jared Wilson earned the assist.
The Vipers went up by two when Brendan Persley kept the puck on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush. Persley went short side over Defiel. T.J. Dumonceaux picked up the assist.
Shortly after assisting on the short-handed tally, Dumonceaux was busted for high-sticking.
It was Coquitlam’s turn to go to work on special teams.
Canon Pieper scored on the man advantage, from Ryan Rosenthal and Marc Biega, 7:13 into the first.
The only goal in the second period came off the head of Dancs. Liam Coughlin threw the puck into a pinball machine at the front of the net, somehow found its way through. Michael McNicholas registered the other assist.
“I feel like I haven’t changed my game at all. Coquitlam plays a different style of defence which opens up the ice for me,” said Dancs.
Corey Mackin got his third goal of the series from Adam Rockwood 46 seconds into the third.
Mackin returned the favor later in the period as he set up Rockwood for the game-tying goal.
“We are playing a good hockey club over there. They were opportunistic, they made plays and battled to the end,” said Williamson.
Rockwood wasn’t done there. Two minutes into overtime, Rockwood won the game on an unassisted solo mission.
“The puck bounced over the d-man’s stick, then we took off on a rush. I just waited and it kind of took a lucky bounce to go in. It is definitely the most satisfying goal I have ever scored,” said Rockwood.
“I don’t know if anyone would have predicted us to win both games, it’s unreal,” said Express head coach Barry Wolff.
Games 3 is slated for Monday at 7 p.m. with Game 4 going Tuesday night at the same time. If there is a Game 5, it will be Thursday night at Kal Tire Place.