Despite surrendering the opening goal of the game, the Vernon Vipers roared back with four first-period goals of their own on the way to 7-2 road win over the Trail Smoke Eaters that sewed up the final Interior playoff berth for the Snakes.
Bennett Morrison’s goal just 1:16 into the game put the home side ahead and it stayed that way until Jimmy Lambert tied it followed shortly after by a pair of Liam Finlay tallies. Odeen Tufto made it 4-1 heading to the second where Colton McCarthy and Nic Rasovic added on, putting Vernon in the driver’s seat going to the final frame.
Finlay completed the hat trick at the 6:15 mark of the third with Kale Howarth offering a late response for Trail. Bo Pellah assisted on four of the Vernon goals while Andrew Shortridge made 34 saves for the win.
Chris Schutz produced a hat trick to lead the Alberni Valley Bulldogs to a 6-2 home win over the Powell River Kings. Schutz scored the first two goals of the game and after Ryan Finnegan made it 3-0 going to the second, Schutz completed his hat trick in the middle frame to make it 4-0 going to the third. Nick Halagian got the Kings on the board in the third but Eric Margo and Rhett Willcox responded for the ‘Dogs. Jonny Evans had the final Kings goal. The Bulldogs sit in fourth in the Island at the moment but must get a point from Sunday’s game against Powell River to retain their playoff berth.
The Merritt Centennials gave themselves a chance at the final Interior playoff spot by pulling off a 4-3 home win over the Wenatchee Wild but they ultimately fell short of the postseason because Vernon has more wins. It was Nick Jermain’s goal with 3:54 to go that lifted the Cents to victory after Mike Coyne had tied the game early in the third. The teams swapped goals throughout the game with Nick Fiorentino making it 1-0 Cents after one The second period saw Wild goals from former Cent Dan Nachbaur and Kyle Stephan with replies Zach Court and Brett Jewell to make it 3-2 Cents going to the third. Merritt fired 47 shots on Garrett Nieto in the Wild crease. Cole Kehler made 26 saves for the win.
Connor Logan scored twice, including the game-winner, as the Prince George Spruce Kings upended the Surrey Eagles 5-1. Kyle Johnson opened the scoring for PG in the first and Logan made it 2-0 in the second before Kurt Black got the lone Eagles marker. Cavin Tilsley scored to restore the PG advantage with Braiden Epp and Logan adding on in the third. Joseph McLeod made 20 saves for the win.
Sheldon Rempal scored twice, giving him 59 on the season, to lead the Nanaimo Clippers to a 6-3 road win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals. Rempal’s second of the game was the winner and came on the man-advantage in the second period to put the Clips up 4-1. Matt Hoover made it a four-goal Nanaimo cushion going to the third. The Caps ate into that lead with tallies from Josh Adkins and Kade Kehoe but got no closer. Edwin Hookenson added the final Clips goal and Jakob Walter wound up with 29 saves for the win.
After a scoreless first period, the Penticton Vees scored three in the second to pave the way for a 5-1 road win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Luke Voltin, Easton Brodzinski and Scott Conway scored in the third to put the Vees in command and they got goals from Nick Jones and Tyson Jost in the third before Elijiah Barriga broke Zach Driscoll’s shutout bid.
Jordan Kawaguchi’s goal 21 seconds into the third wound up being the winner for the Chilliwack Chiefs in an 8-4 home win over the Coquitlam Express. It was 2-2 after one with Jackson Cressey and Mitch Newsome scoring for the Express and Aaron O’Neill and Kawaguchi responding for the Chiefs. Colton Kerfoot put Coquitlam ahead in the second but Vimal Sukumaran and Kohen Olischefski replied to put the Chiefs up going to the third. After Kawaguchi’s goal in the third, Blake Hayward had the final Express tally which was followed by Chiefs goals from Zach Giuttari, O’Neill and Dennis Cholowski.