Fans were brought to their feet Friday night as game five in the playoff series between The Vernon Vipers and the Trail Smoke Eaters took place on Vernon’s ice. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)

Vipers win pivotal game 5 to take 3-2 series lead

Vipers beat the Trail Smoke Eaters by a score of 5-2 and will look to end the series Saturday night in Trail at 7 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre. Contributed: Vernon Vipers Staff

The Vipers scored a shorthanded goal, a powerplay goal, two even strength goals and an empty netter to push the Trail Smoke Eaters to the brink of elimination with a 5-2 win in Game 5 of the best of seven series.

Following a tribute video honouring the Vipers captain Jagger Williamson, it was the Smoke Eaters who had the quick start. They jumped out to an early shot advantage and generated a powerplay chance out of it. Carter Jones opened the scoring on the powerplay as he sniped a hot shot from the right circle over the glove of Aidan Porter to make it 1-0 Trail inside the first five minutes of the game.

The Vipers had a great chance following the goal as Jagger Williamson set up Logan Cash in front of the net, but Donovan Buskey got across to make a great save. There was a scary collision between Williamson and Cash as both were crossing the slot area. Both guys were shaken up with Williamson requiring a full face shield when he returned. The Smoke Eaters pressed throughout the period as Layne Sniher and Diarmad DiMurro had looks but couldn’t increase the lead.

The Vipers would take a penalty early in the period, but they would kill it off without surrendering a shot on goal. The Vipers couldn’t net much on their first powerplay of the net before finding themselves shorthanded due to a too many men on the ice penalty. Connor Marritt would strike shorthanded as he caused a turnover in the neutral zone, broke in, and snapped a shot low to the blocker to make it 1-1. This sparked the team as a good forecheck from Ben Sanderson set up Teddy Wooding for a quick shot from the left circle to give the Snakes their first lead of the night. That lead was short lived as Hayden Rowan snapped home a shot after it found his stick in the left circle. The Vipers were rewarded with another powerplay shortly after and a point shot from Carver Watson was blocked and Matt Kowalski backhanded the rebound home to restore the one goal lead after 2 periods.

The Vipers started the period shorthanded and again were able to kill it off. After it expired the forecheck went to work and Matt Kowalski caused a turnover by Donovan Buskey. The puck would find Coleton Bilodeau and he tucked it in the short side to give the Vipers their first 2 goal lead of the series. That was the end of the night for Buskey who was replaced by Adam Marcoux. The Vipers were relentless in the third in all three zones, keeping the Smokies frustrated in the neutral zone and minimizing any quality scoring chances.

A late penalty by the Smoke Eaters squashed a late push in the final two minutes as Teddy Wooding found the empty net to make the final 5-2.

The Vipers will look to end the series Saturday night in Trail at 7 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre.

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