The Vernon Vipers’ power play was magic in a 4-3 B.C. Hockey League win over the Merritt Centennials Wednesday night before 1,650 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Anthony Latina, with his 13th of the year, Thomas Aldworth, with his team-high 35th and Liam Coughlin, with his 19th, converted with Vernon on the man advantage. Michael Roberts, who first played in the BCHL for the Vipers in 2011, was summoned from the Junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies and netted the winner, on a scorching wrister from the right hash marks, with 5:16 remaining.
Zak Bowles and Jake Clifford, on a breakaway, gave the Cents a 2-1 lead in the second period before Aldworth levelled the score 2:10 into the third. Michael Ederer scored off a wild scramble with 3:50 left, making it 4-3. The Cents pulled Anthony Pupplo for an extra attacker but couldn’t beat Danny Todoyschuk while also having a few shots blocked by defencemen in tight.
Vernon outshot Merritt 37-29 and posted their 30th win of the season. The Vipers host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday night. Salmon Arm lost 1-0 to the host Penticton Vees Wednesday night to stay four points back of Merritt in the Interior Division playoff race.
The Cents and West Kelowna Warriors share third spot with 50 points. The Vipers are a dozen points behind Penticton with 13 games left until the post-season.
Please see Friday’s Morning Star for further Viper coverage.