Defenceman Michael Statchuk’s top shelf point shot midway through the second period stood as the winner as the Vernon Vipers outlasted the Nanaimo Clippers 3-2 in B.C. Hockey League play Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.
Josh Bryan, sneaking in from the point to bury a backdoor feed from Colton Sparrow, opened Vernon’s account in the first period. In the second frame, Dexter Dancs circled into the slot from the sidewall, beating Tanner Kovacs with a wrister for the 2-0 goal.
Mike Vandekamp’s Clippers outshot the Vipers 40-27, and they were finally rewarded in the third period with goals by Brendan Taylor (shorthanded) and Bo Brauer (powerplay).
Nanaimo pressed hard for the equalizer in the dying minutes, pulling Kovacs for the extra attacker, but they couldn’t put anything else past third star Austin Smith, who finished with 38 saves.
Vernon maintained its hold of second place in the Interior Division at 21-11-3-4, two points ahead of the West Kelowna Warriors (22-12-1-2), 7-3 winners over the Trail Smoke Eaters Saturday night.
The Snakes, who fell 4-1 to Trail (8-29-2-2) a night earlier, entertain the first-place Penticton Vees (24-9-2-3) in an Interior showdown Friday night at Kal Tire Place. The Coquitlam Express (18-16-1-3) visit Vernon Saturday.
The shipmen cap a three-game road swing Sunday against the Warriors.