Vernon Vipers forward Matthew Culling (right) has committed to his hometown University of Regina Cougars for the 2022-23 hockey season. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

Vernon Vipers forward Matthew Culling (right) has committed to his hometown University of Regina Cougars for the 2022-23 hockey season. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

Vernon Vipers forward to play college hockey at home

Matt Culling, from Regina, commits to U. of Regina; Vipers host West Kelowna Warriors Wed., March 9, 7 p.m.

Vernon Vipers forward Matt Culling will further his hockey career in his hometown.

The Regina player has committed to U-Sports’ University of Regina Cougars for 2022-23.

“Matt has steadily improved throughout the season and has become a very dependable player in all situations,” said Vipers head coach and general manager Jason McKee. “The whole organization is extremely excited to see such a great kid get the opportunity to continue his education and hockey pursuits at the University of Regina.”

Culling has really found a home in the B.C. Hockey League with Vernon. He has a career high in points with 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points in 44 games.

“I’m very excited to go back home and play in front of my family and friends again,” said Culling. “I’m grateful to be able to further my education with the program U of R has to offer.”

Former Viper and current assistant coach Colton Sparrow spent two seasons at the University of Regina.

Culling, Sparrow and the Vipers entertain the West Kelowna Warriors Wednesday, March 9, in a possible first-round Interior Conference playoff matchup. Game time is 7 p.m. at Kal Tire Place.

The Warriors (29-16-1-0) are currently fourth in the conference while the Vipers (23-17-4-3) are sixth. West Kelowna is one point behind third-place Prince George while Vernon trails the fifth-place Cranbrook Bucks by a single point. Vernon will host Cranbrook Sunday, March 13, at 2 p.m. at KTP.

The playoffs will feature the top team playing the eighth seed, two versus seven, three playing six and four taking on five in the opening round best-of-seven matchups.

Vernon enters the game coming off a 9-0 thumping of the Merritt Centennials Friday, March 4 and on a defensive roll. Vernon has not allowed a goal since the 3:39 mark of the third period in a 4-0 loss Feb. 27 to the Penticton Vees, a streak of 136 minutes and 21 seconds. Goalies Ethan David and Roan Clarke have recorded back-to-back shutouts.

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers rout Merritt Centennials 9-0

READ MORE: Heartbreaking finish for Vernon Christian School Royals

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