The Heritage Junior B Hockey League North Division final is down to a best-of-three.
After falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, the Vipers pulled off a pair of weekend victories to square the set, winning 5-4 at home on Saturday night and getting past the Wranglers 3-2 in overtime on Sunday afternoon at Blackfalds.
David Foord’s extra-time marker on Sunday pulled the Vipers even in the series. Stephen Pietsch, Tanner Howe and Ryan Traynor notched the other Red Deer goals, while Travis Weber made 40 saves.
Replying for the Wranglers were Kyle Maas, Derek Wiedmer and Chance Abbott. Tanner Schalin and Layne Swier combined to stop 32 shots.
The teams split 18 minor penalties.
On Saturday, Maverick Blair potted the winner at 16:36 of the third period. Also scoring for the Vipers were Chris Robertson, Jordan Koopmans, Troy Klaus and Joel Pelletier.
Blackfalds got two goals from Maas and singles from Jared Williams and Jason Bell.
Weber made 38 saves, while Swier blocked 33 shots for the visitors. Red Deer was assessed seven of 11 minor penalties and the lone misconduct.
The series continues on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Blackfalds. Game 6 will go at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Arena.
l Meanwhile, the Three Hills Thrashers can take complete control of the Central Division final with a win over the visiting Cochrane Generals tonight.
The Thrashers grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven set with a 4-2 victory at Cochrane on Saturday. Tyrel Severtson notched the eventual winner 1:49 into the third period and Jesse Scheunert, Clinton Nigh and Corbin Weston also scored for Three Hills.
Thrashers netminder Devon Dell stole the show with a 39-save performance. Kenny Quinn stopped 17 shots for Cochrane.
Three Hills pulled even in the series with a 5-4 overtime win at home on Friday. Weston potted the overtime marker, with Kyle Knelsen scoring twice and Connor Ablett and Shayne Lawrence also connecting for the Thrashers.
Dell, who is establishing himself as the Thrashers’ playoff MVP, turned aside 49 shots. Quinn and Garrett Fraser combined to make 34 saves for the Generals.