Forty shots from the Spruce Kings and a goal from Preston Brodziak was not enough as Prince George fell to the Vernon Vipers 2-1 in a shootout on a Wednesday night at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.
In the opening frame, it was a pretty breath-taking pace as there were very limited whistles throughout the period. The Spruce Kings had some great chances and also had a power-play but could not solve goaltender Riley Herbst who was sensational all night long. The Spruce Kings and Vipers were scoreless after 20 minutes with Prince George outshooting Vernon 13-6.
In the second frame, it was the Vipers who started the scoring just over two minutes in. 20-year-old returning Viper Matt Kowalski was busting down the wing and ripped the puck top corner on Jett Alexander to give the Vipers an early 2nd period lead. After the Kowalski marker, Prince George had a 5 on 3 opportunity, but were again unable to solve Herbst in the second frame. The Vipers also had some very good chances in the 2nd, as Jett Alexander was solid in between the pipes as well for the Spruce Kings. The Vipers took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room after 40 minutes of play.
In the final frame, the Spruce Kings found a way to solve Riley Herbst. Preston Brodziak fired a seeing eyed shot just inside the blue line that appeared to maybe go off a body and into the top corner past Herbst to tie the game up at one. Prince George dominated the final frame, limiting the Vipers to just four shots in that final period. Prince George had some great opportunities, but Herbst continued to be great in the net for the Vipers. 60 minutes was not enough in the BC Northern Capital, and this game needed overtime.
In overtime, the Spruce Kings continued to pour it on. Forward Andrew Seaman had a few great opportunities, but it was again Herbst making some big time stops. A notable stop of the 39 from Herbst was a paddle save on a 2 on 1 as Nick Poisson let a rocket of a one timer go from a Seaman pass that Herbst was able to make a great stop on. Overtime solved nothing, off to a shootout.
Cam MacDonald was the lone goal scorer in the shootout for Vernon, as the Vipers edge the Spruce Kings 2-1 in a shootout on a Wednesday night in Prince George.
Next up for the Spruce Kings are the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the RMCA, scheduled for a 7:00 puck drop. It is CNC night, and the beer gardens will also be open.
Tickets are on sale at the Spruce Kings website, you can also visit the team office which opens up at 10 AM tomorrow morning.
If you cannot make it on Friday, you can catch the action on 93.1 CFIS or on HockeyTV.
- Matt Kowalski (1 G) (VER)
- Riley Herbst (39 Saves) (VER)
- Preston Brodziak (1 G) (PG)
FORTIS ENERGY PLAYER OF THE GAME : Andrew Seaman (PG)