DAUPHIN, Man. - The Vernon Vipers suffered an early setback in their quest for their second straight Canadian Junior A championship.
Mathew Backhouse scored 42 seconds into overtime as the host Dauphin Kings edged the defending champion Vipers 6-5 in RBC Cup action Saturday.
The Vipers are the only team to win back-to-back national junior A titles, a feat they accomplished in 1990 and 1991.
The Vipers (0-1) are looking to duplicate that feat this year, and things looked good for them early on as they took a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. But Dauphin (1-0) outscored Vernon 3-1 in the third period, setting up Backhouse's winner.
In other action Saturday, La Ronge beat Oakville 3-2 in overtime.
Vernon's Kellen Jones opened the scoring midway through the first period, and Braden Pimm scored on a power play five minutes later to give the defending champions a 2-0 lead.
Colton Graf replied a minute after Pimm's goal to make the score 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Cody Esposito scored on a power play 6:17 into the second period to draw the hosts even, but Jones, with his second of the game, and Mike Collins restored Vernon's lead.
The Kings wasted little time getting back into the game, as Troy Hunter scored 24 seconds into the third period. Esposito scored his second of the game at 5:12 to tie the game 4-4.
David Robinson briefly restored Vernon's lead with a goal at the 12:26 mark, but less than two minutes later Zeanan Ziemer scored for Dauphin to send the game to overtime.
Earlier Saturday, Dan Conacher scored 2:07 into the extra period as the Ice Wolves continued their unlikely post-season run with a win over the Blades.
La Ronge (1-0) went to overtime in 11 of its 26 games, winning six, en route to advancing to the RBC Cup.
Conacher dug the puck out of a scramble and shovelled the puck past Oakville goaltender Daniel Savelli to give La Ronge the victory in its debut at the RBC Cup. Joel Danyluk made 43 saves to keep the West Region representatives in the game.
Oakville (0-1) outshot the Ice Wolves 14-9 in the first period, including 10-1 in the opening eight minutes, but the teams went to the dressing room tied 1-1 on goals from Kyle Blaney for the Blades and Ben Findlay for the Ice Wolves.
The Blades restored their one-goal lead less than four minutes into the second period. Ryan Murphy spun in the slot and sent a shot through Danyluk.
Dayton Fossum replied for La Ronge in the dying minutes of the period, sneaking behind the Oakville defence and batting a puck past Savelli.
Danyluk was at his best in the third period, turning aside all 17 shots he faced as the Blades swarmed the La Ronge goal, but could not find the game-winner, setting up Conacher's overtime heroics.
Both teams return to action on Sunday. Oakville faces Brockville while the Ice Wolves face Vernon.