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Spruce Kings fall to Vipers in rematch

Victoria Grizlies, Merritt Centennials visiting Prince George this weekend
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What a difference a day makes.

The Vernon Vipers dug themselves out of a hole with more inspired effort in the second half of a weekend B.C. Hockey League doubleheader at Kopar Memorial Arena and it led to their first victory of the season.

A day after getting shut down in a 4-2 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings, a game in which they were limited to just five shots in the final two periods, the Vipers had their way with the Kings in the Saturday rematch, skating to a decisive 5-1 victory.

Julian Facchinelli set the tone early with a pair of first-period goals and the Vipers (1-3) doubled their lead in the second period with Hank Cleaves and Dylan Compton each scoring their first goals of the new season. Cleaves also had two assists in the game.

John Herrington broke up the shutout bid for Vipers’ goalie Roan Clarke midway through the third period with his team-leading fifth goal, but it was too little, too late for the Spruce Kings (3-1), who suffered their first loss in 2022-23. Seiya Tanaka-Campbell capped the scoring for Vernon late in the third.

Clarke made 25 saves in the Viper nets. Rookie goalie Aidan Feddema, in his first career BCHL game, stopped 19 Viper shots.

The Spruce Kings will be at home this weekend when they host the Victoria Grizzlies (1-2, sixth in Coastal Division) Friday, followed by a date with the Merritt Centennials (2-2, sixth in Interior Division) on Saturday.

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