Township of Langley, BC (Saturday, December 12, 2015) – The Langley Rivermen and Vernon Vipers squared off for the first time this season on Saturday night. It was the Rivermen’s ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ game, with all stuffed toys being donated to the Surrey Christmas Bureau. Nick Trenciansky started in net for the Rivermen, while Brendan Barry got the call for the visiting Vipers.
The Vipers hit the score sheet first courtesy of Hunter Zandee at the 3:33 mark of the first period. Zandee was in a perfect position near the goal to take a lively bounce off the end boards and slip the puck into the net behind Trenciansky. With 13:31 to play, Vipers leading scorer Odeen Tufto made it a 2-0 game, as he snapped a quick wrist shot between the pads of Trenciansky skating down the left wing. Before the game reached the 10 minute mark, Vernon made it a 3-0 score with a goal from Jimmy Lambert. Langley had trouble clearing their zone and Tufto made a great pass from the corner to a streaking Lambert, who tipped the puck into the top corner. Shortly after, Charley Michalowski made it four straight goals for the Vipers, as he scored on a partial breakaway for his first goal of the season. With 19 seconds to play, the bears were sent flying onto the ice after Torrin White scored a power play goal. White was able to take a pass from John Schuldt in tight of the net, and put away his eighth goal of the year. Troy Ring drew the secondary assist. After 20 minutes, Vernon led 4-1, but were being outshot 15-10.
Just over 10 minutes into the second period, Tufto restored Vernon’s four goal lead with a power play goal, as he snapped a pin point shot into the top corner off the right hand boards. For the rookie, it was his second of the game and 14th goal of the season. With 3:10 to play, Matthew Graham was able to pounce on a Torrin White rebound and score his 16th of the season. White decided to keep it on a 2 on 1 opportunity and rang it off the crossbar, but Graham was right in the crease to slide in the loose puck. The three goal deficit did not last long though, as Jimmy Lambert scored his second of the game on the power play to make it a 6-2 game for the Vipers. However, a shift later, Zac Masson scored a beautiful goal flying down the left-wing and beat Barry over the shoulder with a quick wrist shot. Logan Mick had the only assist on Masson’s fifth goal of the year.
Affiliate goaltender Braedon Fleming would take over the net in the third period for the Rivermen. The final frame was easily the calmest of the three periods, with only two goals scored. Defenseman Troy Ring pulled the Riv to within two goals at the 15:54 mark with a long point shot. Torrin white and Dominic Franco had the assists on his third goal of the season. With time winding down, Riley Brandt iced the game with an empty net goal.
The four goal first period for Vernon was the difference maker in the contest. With the loss, the Riv are now 18-13-0-0 and will face Surrey at the Eagles nest tomorrow afternoon.
NOTES: Shots on Goal: LAN 27, VER 31. Power play: LAN 1/5, VER 2/4. Three Stars: 1st: VER Odeen Tufto, 2nd: LAN Torrin White, 3rd: VER Jimmy Lambert.