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Vernon Vipers rally in third to beat Merritt

Snakes score three unanswered goals for 4-1 BCHL win over hometown Centennials
Reagan Milburn (left), Luke Buss each scored for the Vernon Vipers Wednesday, March 16, in their 4-1 B.C. Hockey League win over the Centennials in Merritt. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)

Three third-period goals led to a big two points for the Vernon Vipers Wednesday, March 16, in Merritt.

The trio of unanswered markers snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted Vernon to a 4-1 B.C. Hockey League win over the Centennials. The victory moved Vernon (25-19-4-3) to within two points of the fifth-place Cranbrook Bucks (27-19-2-3) in the Interior Conference. Each team has three regular-season games remaining.

Ben Ward scored the only goal of the first period for the Centennials. Luke Buss tied the game for Vernon in the second.

The Vipers’ winning goal came at 3:05 of the final frame when Tyler Chan snapped a shot from the slot glove-side on Merritt goalie Jackson Baker. The goal was set up by hard work from Luke Lavery and Copeland Fricker.

Cam MacDonald’s shorthanded goal at 14:51 gave Vernon a 3-1 and Reagan Milburn completed the scoring with an empty-net marker at 17:48.

Baker made 36 saves for the Centennials while Roan Clarke picked up his 18th win of the season, making 26 stops.

Vernon will host Merritt Saturday, March 19, at 6 p.m. at Kal Tire Place in the back end of the home-and-home series. The Vipers visit West Kelowna Sunday afternoon, then close out the regular season Wednesday, March 23, at home against the Trail Smoke Eaters (7 p.m., KTP).

The Bucks finish the season with three straight home games. Cranbrook will host the Penticton Vees Friday and Saturday, then end their regular season Saturday, March 26, against the Wenatchee Wild.

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About the Author: Vernon Morning Star Staff

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