Once a Vernon Viper wheel-and-deal forward, Ryan Brushett turned Viper killer Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.
The crafty centre out of Quebec pulled the hat trick as the Surrey Eagles shaded the Vipers 5-4 before 1,908 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Brushett was traded by Vernon to Surrey at the beginning of the season and came into the game with two goals in 15 games. The 19-year-old registered the winner with 78 seconds remaining by going hard to the net and converting a corner cross by Chase Danol. He was named first star.
“I was feeling pretty good about tonight; I wasn’t nervous,” said the amiable Brushett. “Some of the boys were chirping me, especially Jags (Viper captain Jagger Williamson) but I gave it right back to them. That’s my first hatty in Junior A hockey. I’ve been struggling; getting lots of chances but not scoring.”
The Eagles (6-8-1-1) fell 8-4 to the Wenatchee Wild Friday night and looked weary in the first period Saturday, falling behind 2-0 after 20 minutes.
Toronto rookie Adam Panacci put the Snakes in front at 6:54 with a sweet forehand, backhand deke past goalie Nick Tallarico on a breakaway for his first BCHL snipe. Panacci had a breakaway from the Viper blueline in after Surrey d-man Perry Winfree slipped and fell at the right point.
D-man Michael Ufberg netted his first of the season with 46 seconds left in the first period on a point shot. Williamson drew the faceoff to Michael Young at the left point nd Young slid the puck over to Ufberg. Vernon held a 15-4 shot advantage.
The Eagles showed signs of a pulse early in the second period with Aaron White getting stoned by Vernon goalie Ty Taylor in the slot and Ty Westgard just failing to deflect a shot past Taylor. Brushett connected at 5:39 on a tip of a point shot by Domenic Masellis.
Brett Stapley responded for the Vipers seven minutes later on a gorgeous two-on-one with Jimmy Lambert.
Surrey countered four minutes later when d-man Jackson Ross buried a point shot past a screened Taylor with Stapley in the penalty box.
The Eagles equalized with 17 seconds to go in the period with Jordan Robert pocketing his third of the season just nine seconds into a powerplay. D-man Shane Kelly was off for roughing.
Second-year d-man Sol Seibel drove the net and counted his first BCHL goal to make it 4-2 Vernon 1:59 into the third stanza. Alex Swetlikoff and Connor Marritt earned assists.
Brushett one-timed a shot from the high slot at 12:15 after a superb pass from the left corner by Westgard.
Vernon, who dipped to 9-4-0-2, outshot Surrey 35-17.
“We were in a track meet last night (in Wenatchee),” said Surrey head coach Brandon West. “It was a back and forth game and they lasted longer than us. We challenged a lot of guys to be better tonight and they showed some character and responded against a very good team.”
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