Jimmy Lambert scored four times as the Vernon Vipers grounded the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 7-3 in B.C. Hockey League play Wednesday night before 1,100 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Lambert’s natural hat trick put the Snakes ahead 4-0 after 40 minutes. The Saskatoon product has 11 goals on the season.
Steven Jandric, with his 16th, Christian Cakebread, with his eighth, and Luke Gingras, with his third in his seventh game as a Viper, supplied singles. Gingras competed the offence with 2.6 seconds remaining.
It was 6-1 Vernon until the Silverbacks struck for goals 81 seconds apart – by Josh Blanchard and Ryley Booth – in the dying minutes of the contest. Blanchard has seven snipes, Booth four.
Silverback captain Mitch Skapski counted his 12th of the season on a powerplay early in the third period after Lambert performed a gorgeous shake and bake for his fourth of the night to make it 5-0 Vipers two minutes earlier.
Vernon, who are 10-3-0-1 at home, improved to 17-13-3, three points ahead of the Trail Smoke Eaters alone in second place in the Interior Division. The Smokies earned a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the front-running Penticton Vees before 2,580 fans Wednesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Grant Cruikshank’s 23rd goal of the year was the winner at 1:55 of OT.
Salmon Arm, who had their winning streak snapped at four games, dipped to 14-18-1.
The Vipers outshot the Gorillas 44-36.