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Biggest crowd of year watches Vernon Vipers double Merritt

BCHL - More than 2,600 on hand at Kal Tire Place Saturday, Jan. 7, as Snakes win 6-3
Merritt Centennials forward Carter Schmidt (right) pokes the puck away from Vernon forward Gavin Schmidt during the Vipers’ 6-3 BCHL win Saturday, Jan. 7, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

The Vernon Vipers scored the game’s first four goals and rolled to a 6-3 win over the visiting Merritt Centennials in B.C. Hockey League action Saturday, Jan. 7, at Kal Tire Place.

The game was played in front of a Vipers’ season-high crowd of 2,608.

Vernon took a 3-0 lead into a wild third period thanks to goals from Seiya Tanaka-Campbell, on the powerplay, in the opening 20 minutes, and Lee Parks and Ethan Sundar in the middle frame.

Thomas Tien made it 4-0 Snakes at 3:13 of the third before Christian Lowe and Tristan Allen scored 61 seconds apart at 8:38 and 9:39 for Merritt.

Isaac Tremblay’s powerplay goal at 14:27 put the Vipers ahead by three, and Parks added his second of the game at 18:00 to give Vernon a 6-2 bulge.

Diego Johnson finished the game’s scoring for Merritt 27 seconds later.

Roan Clarke picked up the win in goal for Vernon, making 26 saves while Conor Sullivan stopped 35 shots in the Centennials goal.

The Vipers improved to 15-14-0-4, 34 points, good for sixth place in the Interior Conference. Just seven points separates the third-place West Kelowna Warriors from the eighth-place Wenatchee Wild.

The Interior’s top two teams, the Penticton Vees and Cranbrook Bucks, both lost Saturday, Prince George Spruce Kings handed the Vees only their third defeat, shutting out the defending champs 3-0. Cranbrook dropped a 4-3 decision in Chilliwack.

Merritt is last in the conference at 9-21-3-1, nine points out of a playoff spot.

Vernon returns to action Friday, Jan. 13, when they host former head coach Mike Vandekamp and the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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