Riley Brandt of the Vernon Vipers takes out Merritt Centennials captain Sam Johnson Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place.

Riley Brandt of the Vernon Vipers takes out Merritt Centennials captain Sam Johnson Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place.

Vipers brush back Centennials

Luke Voltin scored twice as the Vernon Vipers dispatched the Merritt Centennials 7-3 Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place.

Luke Voltin scored twice as the Vernon Vipers dispatched the Merritt Centennials 7-3 in B.C. Hockey League play before 1,500 fans Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place.

Liam Finlay, d-man Johnny Coughlin, with his first BCHL goal in his 23rd game, and Voltin gave the Snakes a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The pesky Cents closed to within a goal by pocketing power play snipes from blueliner Jake Clifford and Nick Fidanza six minutes apart in the second period. Viper forwards Colton McCarthy and Thomas Aldworth responded with goals six minutes apart before the period ended.

Cole Chorney connected from the left side 5:43 into the final frame for Merritt, but Branden Wagner and Voltin added insurance down the stretch as Vernon grabbed a share of second place in the Interior Division with the West Kelowna Warriors.

The Cents, who outshot the Vipers 39-34, dipped to fourth place, two points back of Vernon and West Kelowna. The Penticton Vees are runaway leaders with 45 points.

Forward Riley Brandt tossed some heavy checks and picked up one assist to earn the Fortis Energy Player of the Game for Vernon.

The Vipers visit the Salmon Arm SilverBacks Friday night and host the Trail Smoke Eaters Saturday night. Salmon Arm and Trail share last place, six points back of Merritt. Salmon Arm traded 18-year-old d-man Bennett Morrison to the Chilliwack Chiefs for future considerations Wednesday.

Vernon was without head coach/GM Mark Ferner, who was away dealing with the death of his brother, Darrell. Assistants Kevin Kraus and Eric Godard managed the bench.

Darrell Ferner, who was 59, lost a short battle with a rare form of cancer in Vancouver. He amassed 125 points and 230 penalty minutes with the Major Junior Kamloops Chiefs in the 1975-76 season. He was drafted in the 14th round by the Calgary Cowboys of the World Hockey Association in ’75.