Vipers take series lead

The Red Deer Vipers took another major step toward earning a berth in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League final with a 6-1 victory over the Okotoks Bisons Sunday.

Vipers 6 Bisons 1

OKOTOKS — The Red Deer Vipers took another major step toward earning a berth in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League final with a 6-1 victory over the Okotoks Bisons Sunday.

The win, coupled with a 4-2 win at the Arena Saturday, gave the Vipers a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five league semifinal series.

The Vipers will look to wrap up the series tonight when they host the Bisons a 8 p.m. at the Arena.

J.D. Morrical scored a pair of goals for the Vipers, who led 2-1 after two periods. The teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.

Chad Knowles, Maverick Blair, Drew Todd and Joel Pelletier added the other Red Deer goals. Lane Wagner replied for the Bisons. Mike Stonehouse finished with 28 saves for the Vipers, who had 50 shots on the Bisons Bryce Scherschel.

Wranglers 6 Thunder 3

The Blackfalds Wranglers did what they had to do Sunday to secure a berth in the Heritage League final.

The Wranglers downed the Airdrie Thunder 6-3 to win the best-of-five semifinal 3-0.

Kurtis Ross scored three times for the Wranglers with Kyle Maas, Karson French and Brant Leischner potting single markers. Ian McNulty, Jamal Hamoud and Kevin Boutilier replied for the Thunder, who had 23 shots on the Wranglers netminder Lane Swier. Evan Miller finished with 36 saves for Airdrie.

Rams advance to provincials

Darren Zurkan scored 21 seconds into overtime Saturday to lift the West Central Alberta Rams past the Innisfail Eagles 5-4 and into the senior A/AA hockey provincials April 2-4 in Brooks.

The Eagles, trailing 3-0 in the best-of-seven zone final, led 2-0 and 4-2 after the first and second periods on goals from Luke Boyer, Ryan Kallis, Sean Fischer and Aaron Boyer. But Luke Hanna and Derek Werenka scored unanswered goals for the Rams in the third period and Zurkan’s overtime marker completed the series sweep at the Sylvan Lake Medican Multi-Plex.

Tyler Lightbrown and Kelly Kramer also scored for the Rams, who got a 36-save performance from Jordan Ramstead. Archie Henderson made 45 saves for the Eagles.

• The defending Allan Cup champion Bentley Generals still don’t know who they’ll face in the provincial AAA final series, a best-of-seven set slated to open Friday in Bentley.

Boyd Olson’s overtime goal Saturday gave the Stony Plain Eagles a 5-4 win over the visiting Fort Saskatchewan Eagles and tied the best-of-five provincial semifinal at two games apiece. The deciding contest will be played Tuesday at Fort Saskatchewan, with the winner moving on to face the Generals.