Affiliate netminder Derek Krall was the overwhelming first start of the game as he backstopped the Kings to their 5th straight victory on home ice with a 46 save performance, as the Kings beat the Vernon Vipers 2-1 on Friday night.
A frantic pace to the game in the first that didn’t see its first whistle until past the 4 minute mark. A relatively even opening period was highlighted by not only the play of Krall, but by Ben Berard scoring his 26th of the season late in the frame. On a forecheck, Neal Samanski got a puck to Berard who beat a couple of Vipers along the goal line and backhanded it past Taylor for a 1-0 lead. Shots 12-10 Vernon in the first period.
The second however was a much different story. Infinitly more whistles and exponentially more shots as the Vipers took the game to the Kings, outshooting Powell River 25-7 in the period but unable to break through Derek Krall. Ben Berard extended the Kings lead on the eventual game winner by catching Ty Taylor napping in net, floating a wrister past the glove from outside the left blue line, Berard’s 27th and it was 2-0 at the break with shots heavily favouring Vernon 37-17.
Vernon continued to pour on pressure in the third, however the Kings threw back with some looks of their own. Both goaltenders were called into action to make big saves, and the Vipers finally spoiled the shutout bid of Krall through Jimmy Lambert’s 19th of the year, cutting through the slot and tipping a shot from the point past Krall for a 2-1 score.
A late powerplay for the Kings snuffed any chance of a Viper comeback and the Kings skated away to a 2-1 win and their 5th straight. The win is the 2nd against Vernon this year, also by a 2-1 score at the Showcase in September. Through 3 games with Vernon this season, the teams have combined for 8 goals total (2-1, 2-1 and 0-2).
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Derek Krall (Kings) – 46 saves, 2nd BCHL win
2. Ben Berard (Kings) – 2 goals, game winning goal
3. Jimmy Lambert (Vipers) – 1 goal
The Kings wrap not only a 7-game home stand, but also the home portion of their BCHL schedule with a Sunday game against the Chilliwack Chiefs, a 1:30 puck drop at the Hap Parker Arena. The game will be followed by the Kings Awards Banquet.