Michael Young of the Vernon Vipers and Andre Ghantous of the Trail Smoke Eaters mix it up in the corner in BCHL hockey action Saturday night at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star)

Prokop pushes Vipers past Smokies

Josh Prokop pulled the hat trick as the Vernon Vipers stopped the Trail Smoke Eaters 5-2 Saturday

Josh Prokop pulled the hat trick as the Vernon Vipers stopped the Trail Smoke Eaters 5-2 in B.C. Hockey League play before 1,885 fans Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.

It was the second hatty in December for Prokop, who also earned one assist and was named first star. He netted his third goal and 18th of the season, into an empty net with 38 seconds remaining.

Jesse Lansdell, with his ninth, on a power play, and Niko Karamanis, with his eighth, completed the Vernon offence in front of Anthony Yamnitsky (15 saves).

Vernon product Blaine Caton and Ryan Murphy countered for the Smokies, who were without their top two leading scorers Ross Armour and Kale Howarth. Caton and Murphy both have seven snipes on the year.

Vernon, who has 25 wins and 55 points atop the entire BCHL, are six points in front of the Wenatchee Wild in the Interior Conference. The Wild ambushed the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks 10-2 before 3,179 fans at the Town Toyota Center.

Captain Jagger Williamson pocketed two assists for the Vipers. Winger Keyvan Mokhtari was named Vernon’s Fortis Energy Player of the Game.

Adam Marcoux recorded 24 saves for the Smokies, who are fourth in the Interior. Both teams now enjoy a 12-day Christmas break.

Elsewhere, the Nanaimo Clippers upended the Penticton Vees 3-2 before 3,105 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

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