Vernon Vipers defenceman Connor Marritt (right) keeps close tabs on Craig MacDonald of the Prince George Spruce Kings in B.C. Hockey League action Saturday at Kal Tire Place. The Spruce Kings downed the Vipers 4-1. (Katherine Peters/Morning Star)

Vernon Vipers fall to Spruce Kings

BCHL: Prince George scores four times in first 16 minutes, roll to 4-1 win over Vernon

The Prince George Spruce Kings scored three power play goals and added another in the first 20 minutes, and that was enough to beat the Vernon Vipers 4-1 in B.C. Hockey League action Saturday before 2,166 fans at Kal Tire Place.

The loss snapped Vernon’s season-high four-game winning streak.

Dustin Manz, at 4:52, and Patrick Cozzi, at 10:17, scored powerplay markers to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. After Ben Brar scored an unassisted goal at 11:36 to make it 3-0, Vipers coach Mark Ferner called timeout to discuss things with his team.

Less than six minutes later, Max Coyle scored on another powerplay to make it 4-0 Prince George, and chased former Spruce Kings goalie Bradley Cooper, making his second unsuccessful start against his former team.

RELATED: Vernon Vipers lose nailbiter in Prince George

The Spruce Kings had only 10 more shots the rest of the game, as Vernon outshot the guests 26-22.

Teddy Wooding spoiled Logan Neaton’s shutout bid 4:56 into the third period, assists going to Connor Marritt and Matt Kowalski.

The night before, Vernon went into West Kelowna and blanked the Warriors 1-0 behind a first-period goal from Elan Bar lev wise, with Tyler Ho and Ben Helgeson drawing assists.

Aiden Porter made 30 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.

Entering play Sunday, the Vipers (18-17-7-3) were in sixth place in the Interior Division, one point behind the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, three back of the Warriors and three points ahead of the Trail Smoke Eaters.

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