Vipers vie for top spot as tourney gets underway

Two games into the North Division Semi-Final, and the Red Deer Vipers and Stettler Lightning are all tied up.

The first two games in the Heritage Junior “B” Hockey league playoff series went this past weekend, with Red Deer hosting the opening game Saturday night.

The Vipers got off to a good start, with Jordan Koopmans giving the home team a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the first period.

But by the 3:38 mark of the opening frame, the Lightning had a 2-1 lead after goals from Myles Rindal and Jake Schwarzenberger 15 seconds apart.

Brett Wold would give Stettler a 3-1 lead, beating Vipers starter Jason Pohl 1:53 into the second period, but just over three minutes later, Maverick Blair would cut the deficit to 3-2.

With 45 seconds left in the 2nd, David Foord got the Vipers into a 3-3 tie with a powerplay goal.

That’s how the game would stay until Justin Moir gave the Vipers a 4-3 lead at 18:52 of the final frame.

But just 15 seconds later, Lightning forward Mitch Finkbiner would be given a penalty shot and he made no mistake, tying the game at 4-4 and sending it to overtime.

Schwarzenberger would give Stettler the 5-4 win when he notched his second goal of the night 8:23 into the first overtime period.

Game two in the best of five went Sunday night in Stettler, and after a scoreless first period, it was the Vipers getting things going, with Braden Corbett scoring a powerplay marker, his first of two on the night, just 2:05 into the second period.

Ryan Traynor, with two, Blair and Troy Klaus would also find the back of the net in a 6-2 win for Red Deer.

Game three in the series is set for Saturday at the Arena, while Stettler will host game four on Sunday.