Matt Kowalski had a five-point night as the Vernon Vipers’ beat the Merritt Centennials 8-3 Friday night at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

Vernon Vipers go on scoring spree versus Merritt Centennials

Matt Kowalski had a hat trick and five points as the Vipers cruised to an 8-3 victory

After a strong defensive effort against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks last weekend, the Vernon Vipers decided to let their offense run rampant against the Merritt Centennials Friday night at Kal Tire Place.

Matt Kowalski had himself a night to remember with five points and a hat trick as the Vipers trounced the Centennials 8-3.

It was the Centennials who struck first as Christian Buono scored off a pass from PAyton Matsui, capitalizing on a Viper mistake 12:30 into the opening period.

But with 11 shots the Vipers seemed determined not to leave the period with a deficit. In the final minute of the frame Logan Cash got possession of the puck with some nice board work and centred a feed to Kowalski who buried his first of the night.

In the second period the Vipers took their first lead of the night thanks to more good board work. Cam MacDonald knocked down a Centennial clearing attempt and kicked the puck over to Brett Fudger, who in turn found Ben Helgeson who completed the play with a rocket off the crossbar and in.

The teams traded goals midway through the second. Landon Fuller added for the home team with a point shot that trickled through Merritt goaltender, and Tyson Galloway scored for Merritt to make for 3-2 score.

Shortly after Galloway’s tally, Kowalski again found the back of the net after receiving a pass from Dawson Holt. Later on the Vipers again scored in the final minute of a period as Holt potted a rebound to give his team a 5-2 lead after two.

The Vipers pulled away in the third with goals from Cash and JoJo Tanaka-Campbell making for a chippy final stretch. Fudger dropped the gloves with Merritt’s Brayden Clark in an energetic scrap.

By the time the final minute of the third rolled around the game had been won, but Kowalski wasn’t finished. After being sprung on a breakaway the Vipers’ leading scorer buried his third goal of the game and 16th of the season.

The Vipers will hope to carry their momentum over to Saturday’s game against Wenatchee, which is also Teddy Bear Toss night at Kal Tire Place. Fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear or other stuffy to the game, and when the Vipers score their first goal, to toss the stuffies onto the ice. The toys will then be collected and donated to local organizations.

READ MORE: North Okanagan hockey teams host Teddy Bear Tosses

READ MORE: Kelowna player beats Vernon opponent in table tennis final

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

hockeyVernon Vipers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Laptops, supports for students in need at Vernon school district

WATCH: Superintendent delivers first video message to students and families

Corb Lund’s revised tour includes Vernon stop

Western music artist still planning to hit the road in June, reach Okanagan by November

No water for some Vernon residents amid maintenance

Interupption Tuesday from 8-3 for BX areas

Spallumcheen racetrack owners apply for property rezoning

No events have been held at Motoplex Speedway in four years, mainly because of legal action

Soup canned in Vernon nearly 90 years ago gets taste test

YouTube shows man taking contents from old Bulmans Cannery vegetable mix and making, eating soup

WATCH: Kelowna songwriters release health care workers video tribute

The couple recently asked for selfies from frontline workers to include in the music video

Mitchell’s Musings: Pandemics and parking meters don’t add up

Despite COVID-19 crisis, City of Vernon insists on paid parking downtown

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Letter: Newspaper addict grateful the presses keep rolling

Writer appreciative of option to shop online, pick up orders

Letter: Messaging to stay home, don’t travel lost on some

Writer questions how golf courses are essential at this time

Stranded Osoyoos snowmobilers spend night on Mount Baldy

The two men were recused about 9 a.m. on April 6

HAWTHORNE: Motivation through the BRAVO formula

Personal trainer Sean Hawthorne asks, if we know what to do, then why don’t we do it?

Not alone: Volunteers play tic-tac-toe on seniors’ windows

‘Hopefully this will go beyond COVID-19’

Most Read