Vernon Vipers forward Jojo Tanaka-Campbell (left) flips the puck past the check of West Kelowna Warriors opponent John Evans during the Vipers’ 4-2 BCHL win Saturday, Feb. 15, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photos)

Vernon Vipers hold off Warriors

BCHL: Vipers in dogfight with Wenatchee, Salmon Arm for third place in Interior Division

Dawson Holt scored two goals for the second straight game as the Vernon Vpers edged the West Kelowna Warriors 4-2 in B.C. Hockey League action Saturday, Feb. 15, before 2,140 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Holt’s empty-net goal at 19:41 on the ensuing faceoff after the Warriors pulled to within a goal at 19:41 sealed two important points for Vernon, who are tied for fourth in the Interior Divsiion with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Both teams have 61 points though the Vipers have one more win, which is the first tiebreaker according to the BCHL website.

The Snakes and Gorillas are one point behind the third-place Wenatchee Wild, who beat the Vipers 5-2 in Washington Friday. Holt had both goals for Vernon.

The Merritt Centennials, who have been eliminated from the playoff race, and who play in Vernon Monday (2 p.m., Family Day Feb. 17, Kal Tire Place), did the Vipers a favour Saturday by doubling the Silverbacks 4-2. Wenatchee was a 4-2 winner at home Saturday over the Chilliwack Chiefs.

The Wild visit Salmon Arm Sunday.

Logan Cash and Christian Felton also scored for Vernon in the win over the Warriors while Keegan Karki picked up the victory in goal, making 23 saves.

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers OK with realignment

The Vipers close out the regular season with a home-and-home against the Warriors. The two teams play in Vernon Friday, Feb. 21, (7 p.m. Kal Tire Place) and meet Saturday in West Kelowna.

The Warriors (37 points) will end up as the eighth seed in the Interior Division and play the pennant-winning Penticton Vees in the opening round of the playoffs. The Trail Smoke Eaters will finish second and take on a crossover team in Round 1.

The Victoria Grizzlies (Island, 47 points) will finish fifth in their division and cross-over into the Interior as either the sixth or seventh seed. Langley Rivermen (46 points) and the defending champion Prince George Spruce Kings (Mainland, 42 points) are battling for fourth place in their division with the Rivermen holding a four-point bulge on Prince George, and each team has three games remaining.

Whoever finishes fourth will stay in their division and play the league-champion Coquitlam Express in the first round. The fifth-place finisher will move into the Interior with Victoria and will be the sixth or seventh seed, depending on points. Vernon, Salmon Arm or Wenatchee will face a crossover team for finishing in third place.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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