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Vernon Vipers rally for overtime win against Merritt

BCHL - Snakes tie game in third, win it in extra time; beat Centennials 2-1 at Kal Tire Place
Merritt defenceman Aleksey Chichkin (left) and Vernon Vipers forward Ethan Merner go after the puck during Vernon’s 2-1 BCHL overtime win Saturday, Nov. 12, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

Luke Pakulak’s powerplay goal 1:51 into overtime gave the Vernon Vipers a 2-1 B.C. Hockey League win over the visiting Merritt Centennials Saturday, Nov. 12, before 1,850 fans at Kal Tire Place.

The goal came with Merritt’s Damon Jugnauth in the penalty box for hooking, a call that came 15 seconds into the extra session.

The Cents were poised to sneak out of Vernon with a 1-0 victory on Jaxson Murray’s sixth goal of the season midway through the second period.

Thomas Tien, making his Vipers’ home debut, equalized for Vernon four minutes into the third period.

Ethan David picked up the win in goal for Vernon, making 22 saves while Johnny Hicks stopped 35 shots for Merritt.

The win snapped a modest two-game losing streak for Vernon, who fell 6-2 to the undefeated Penticton Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre Friday, Nov. 11.

Seiya Tanaka-Campbell and Lee Parks scored for Vernon while Roan Clarke made 37 save. Hank Levy only had to make 13 saves for the Vees, who increased their perfect record to 18-0 Saturday with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Smoke Eaters in Trail.

Vernon’s win over Merritt vaulted the Snakes into sixth place in the Interior Conference at 8-8-0-2, one point ahead of Trail and five points up on the Centennials.

The Vipers travel to the Lower Mainland next weekend for games in Surrey Friday, Nov. 18, and Coquitlam Saturday, Nov. 19.

• Prior to the weekend, the Vipers sent defenceman Matthew Sutter to the Whitecourt Wolverines of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for future considerations.

“With players getting closer to coming off the IR (Injured Reserve) we needed to get down in numbers specifically on defence,” said Vernon head coach and general manager Jason McKee. “We certainly appreciate all Matthew’s efforts and wish him luck as he gets to play close to home in Whitecourt.”

Sutter, from Spruce Grove, Alta., had one assist in eight games played with the Vipers.

READ MORE: Penticton Vees win streak now at 17; down Vernon Vipers in front of record crowd

READ MORE: Toronto Maple Leafs rally for 3-2 victory over struggling Canucks

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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