Cameron MacDonald (left) and the Vernon Vipers host the Merritt Centennials in a huge Monday afternoon BCHL contest, 2 p.m., at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photos)

Vernon Vipers entertain Merritt in Monday afternoon tilt

Vipers sit in fourth place in BCHL Interior Division, three points behind Wenatchee

A rare – but huge – Monday afternoon B.C. Hockey League game goes at 2 p.m. Family Day Monday, Feb. 17, at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.

The Vipers entertain the Merritt Centennials with Vernon looking to pull to within a point of the Wenatchee Wild (30-22-3-1) in the battle for third place in the Interior Division.

Vernon (29-23-2-1) has won all five meetings against the Centennials this season, including a 6-3 decision at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena Feb. 4. Merritt has won its last two games, 4-2 over Salmon Arm and 7-4 Sunday over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

The Vipers lost 5-2 Friday in Wenatchee and rallied to beat the West Kelowna Warriors 4-2 at home the following evening.

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers hold off Warriors

Wenatchee extended its lead in third place to three points over Vernon and Salmon Arm with a 4-1 win over the Silverbacks Sunday. All of the goals were scored in the first period. Salmon Arm is 28-22-4-1.

The Victoria Grizzlies clinched the sixth seed for the Interior Division playoffs Sunday with a 4-2 win at home over the Powell River Kings. The Grizzlies will play the third-place team in the opening round of the playoffs.

The defending champion Prince George Spruce Kings became the Interior’s seventh seed Sunday with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Langley Rivermen. Prince George will play the Trail Smoke Eaters in the opening round of the playoffs. Langley finishes fourth in the Mainland Division and draw the regular-season champion Coquitlam Express in Round 1.

The Wild have two games left, both on the road in Penticton. The Vees will play the West Kelowna Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs.

Vernon and Salmon Arm each have three games remaining. The Vipers host Merritt and West Kelowna, and visit the Warriors. Salmon Arm goes to Chilliwack and Trail and plays its final home game against Merritt.

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