Strong special teams lifted the Vernon Vipers over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 5-2 in B.C. Hockey League action Friday night.
Vipers forward Reagan Milburn had a goal and an assist and now has goals in two straight games. Seiya Tanaka-Campbell had a pair of assists and goaltender Ethan David made 21 saves on 23 shots.
The Vipers went one for two on the powerplay and shut down Salmon Arm’s three powerplay attempts.
Milburn kicked off the scoring four minutes into the first period, his 16th goal of the season assisted by Lee Parks.
Just over a minute later, Parks scored a goal of his own to make it 2-0 Vipers.
Near the nine minute mark of the first, Ryan Gillespie got the Backs on the board with his eighth goal of the season, fed by Tristan Allen and Liam Steele.
In the middle frame, Julian Facchinelli scored his ninth goal of the season off a feed from Connor Elliott to make it 3-1 Vipers.
The Backs got within a goal midway through the third period when Isaac Lambert notched his 15th goal of the season, but less than a minute later the Vipers pulled away again thanks to a powerplay goal by Luke Pakulak, his 13th of the season and second in as many games.
Walker Erickson scored an empty netter with two minutes left to seal the game at 5-2 Vipers.
With the win, the Vipers managed to cool off a red-hot Silverbacks team. Friday’s bout was the first time Salmon Arm has lost in regulation since Feb. 19.
The Vipers now have a 23-20-2-4 record and 52 points in 29 games, good for seventh in the Interior division. They have clinched a playoff spot and have five games remaining on the regular season schedule.
The Silverbacks sit fourth in the division, just one point back of the West Kelowna Warriors with a game in hand, and a 25-17-4-2 record.
The Vipers have a date with the Prince George Spruce Kings at home Saturday, Mar. 11. Puck drop is at 6 p.m. at Kal Tire Place.
Next up for the Silverbacks is a Saturday night matchup versus the Wenatchee Wild. The puck drops at 6 p.m. at the Shaw Centre.