UPDATE SUNDAY, OCT. 30, 4:32 P.M.:
Chase Cooke’s unassisted goal 62 seconds after the second intermission ice clean lifted the Merritt Centennials to a 4-2 home-ice win over the Vernon Vipers in Sunday afternoon B.C. Hockey League play at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
Cooke’s first goal of the year made it 3-1 Merritt. Hank Cleaves pulled the Vipers to within a goal with a powerplay marker at 3:58, but could not beat Cents goalie Johnny Hicks for the equalizer.
Mark Thurston salted the victory for Merritt with an empty-net goal with just six seconds remaining.
The Vipers never led Sunday.
Kyle Isenberg opened the scoring for Merritt with a powerplay marker at 8:08 of the opening frame with Cleaves off for slashing.
Seiya Tanaka-Campbell tied the game for Vernon at 12:52 of the first period.
Jackson Krill’s unassisted goal at 12:58 of the middle frame gave the Centennials a 2-1 lead entering the final period.
Hicks finished with 30 saves for Merritt while Roan Clarke made 34 stops in a losing effort for the Vipers.
The Vernon Vipers were not in a treat-giving mood to the green-costumed visitors who came knocking at their home Halloween weekend.
Isaac Tremblay scored the game’s only goal, and Ethan David made 26 saves for his first shutout of the year as the Vipers blanked the Cranbrook Bucks 1-0 in B.C. Hockey League action Saturday, Oct. 29, before 1,778 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon hops the bus for a Sunday afternoon date in Merritt against the Centennials. Merritt was idle Saturday, but lost 5-1 Friday, Oct. 28, in Trail.
The Bucks head to Vancouver Island next weekend to resume their six-game road swing.
After an even opening 20 minutes that saw Cranbrook outshoot Vernon 7-6, the Vipers dominated Cranbrook in the second period, outshooting them 14-3.
Bucks goalie Carter Capton was under siege and made a number of good saves. He finished the game with 27 stops.
The Vipers used their forecheck and had a number of big hits which led to some crucial turnovers. One led directly to the goal as the Vipers came away with a puck battle and Tremblay was able to backhand home a puck from the bottom of the right circle at 7:46.
Cranbrook threw everything at Vernon in the final 20 minutes, outshooting the home team 16-8, but it was Lee Parks who had a chance to increase the Snakes’ lead on a breakaway. He was hooked by the Bucks’ Jack Henry, resulting in a penalty shot. Parks made a great move, but the puck rolled off his stick, keeping it 1-0.
The Bucks really upped the pressure late in the game and had a glorious opportunity which David made two big saves and got a little help from the goal post keeping it 1-0.
The win snapped a two-game home-ice losing streak for the Vipers, who gave up eight goals in both defeats. Vernon is now 6-5-0-1 on the year, two points behind fifth-place Cranbrook (7-5-0-1) and can move into a tie with the Bucks with a win in Merritt. The Centennials are eighth in the Interior Conference at 3-8-1-0.
Cranbrook has lost the first three games of their road swing, all by one goal.