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Vipers down Spruce Kings 5-1 in game halted early following hit to the head penalty

The Vernon Vipers posted a solid 5-1 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings Saturday, in a game that was overshadowed by a pair of injuries that sent two players to hospital for evaluation.

The Vipers jumped on the Spruce Kings early as Julian Facchinelli’s point shot deflected off a defender and past Aidan Feddema making it 1-0. The play was pretty even, but at the midway mark the Vipers took back to back penalties. They were able to kill off both of those. Late in the frame, Julian Facchinelli stripped Colton Cameron of the puck and snapped home his second of the game to make it 2-0 after 1 period.

The Vipers caught the Spruce Kings on a change and converted on a 3 on 1 as Gurkan and Facchinelli set up Hank Cleaves for his first BCHL goal. The Vipers killed off another penalty then increased their lead as a shot from Dylan Compton found the back of the net to make it 4-0.

Things got out of hand in the third period as Kurt Gurkan was hit up high, but no penalty called. Shortly after that Colton Cameron of PG was assessed a 5-minute major for a Blow to the Head and a game misconduct after a hit on Julian Facchinelli. Facchinelli left the game and did not return. The Vipers couldn’t convert on the powerplay and during a 4 on 4 sequence, the Spruce Kings got on the board when John Herrington scored his 5th of the season. Seiya Tanaka-Campbell restored the 4-goal lead with his first of the season.

A scary moment late in the game saw Will Blackburn sustain an injury along the boards. The paramedics and medical staff helped support him and transport him to a local hospital for evaluation. The Spruce Kings’ Colton Cameron was assessed a five-minute blow-to-the-head penalty and a game misconduct. The decision was made for the game to be ended with just under 3 minutes left, giving the Vipers a 5-1.

The Vernon Vipers say the results from the CT Scans have come back negative and Will Blackburn will be rejoining the team for the trip home.

“We are extremely grateful to our Athletic Therapist Yasmine Jutt and the medical professionals for taking such great care of Will,” said Head Coach and GM of the Vipers Jason McKee.  “We’d also like to thank the Spruce Kings organization for their help in a very tough situation.”

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