Trailing by three in the third period with their season hanging by a thread, the Merritt Centennials summoned the will to produce four goals in 5:19 to overtake the league’s top team, the Penticton Vees, on the way to a 5-3 home win.
Tyson Jost put the visitors ahead in the first with Scott Conway adding another in the second. Nick Jones made it 3-0 Vees early in the third and it looked as if Penticton was in full control. But Merritt got help from the Nicks – Jermain, Fiorentino and Fidanza – to tie the game as Penticton ran into some penalty trouble.
Mark O’Shaughnessey’s goal at 11:40 of the third was the winner for Merritt and Ryan Roseboom added the finishing touch late in the frame. Cole Kehler made 33 saves for the win.
In Vernon, the Vipers were also in need of a win but instead found themselves down 5-0 after 20 minutes on the way to an 8-1 loss to the visiting Wenatchee Wild. Troy Conzo, Joe Drabin, Blake Christensen, Dakota Raabe and Charlie Combs each tallied in the first with Kyle Stephan adding a pair in the second along with Raabe’s second to make it 8-0 after two. Colton McCarthy got the lone Snakes goal midway through the third.
In a first-round playoff preview in Coquitlam, Kale Kane got the winner 14 seconds into overtime to lift the Chilliwack Chiefs to a 4-3 win over the host Express. After Ryan Coghlan and Darien Craighead exchanged goals in the first, Nicholas Coltura put the Express up a goal going to the third. Craighead and Kane scored to put the Chiefs ahead but Mitch Newsome responded for Coquitlam to send it to OT. Matteo Esposito wound up with 27 saves for the win.
Goals from Sean Buchanan, Sheldon Rempal and Devin Brosseau plus 20 saves from Evan Johnson were all the Nanaimo Clippers needed in a 3-0 home win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals. Buchanan’s winner came in the first with the other two tallies happening in the middle frame.
Nick Halagian’s goal late in the first stood up as the winner for the Powell River Kings in a 6-2 victory over the Victoria Grizzlies. Gavin Rauser scored 14 seconds into the game for the Kings with Alex Peck tying it shortly after. Austin Kamer and Halagian followed for Powell River, making 3-1 after 20 minutes. Tyler Welsh got Victoria back within one but that would be the final puck to get past Jeff Smith, who got the win making 32 saves. Jonny Evan, Kyle Betts and Kamer rounded out the Kings scoring.
A four-goal third period, including a pair from Liam Blackburn, helped the West Kelowna Warriors to a 6-1 home win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Kylar Hope and Scott Allan put the home side up 2-0 after one and after a scoreless second, Quin Foreman, Brett Mennear and Blackburn made it 5-0 before Chase Zieky scored for the ‘Backs. Blackburn got his second shortly after that. Matthew Greenfield made 38 saves for the win, but left the game with 7:41 to play.