Captain Colton McCarthy scored twice as the Vernon Vipers upended the Powell River Kings 5-3 Sunday afternoon before 1,700 B.C. Hockey League fans at Kal Tire Place.
McCarthy produced the winner at 14:02 of the third period when he converted a sweet pass from behind the net by Joe Sacco. Steven Jandric earned the secondary assist on McCarthy’s 17th goal of the season.
Christian Cakebread went top cheddar from a sharp angle to maker it 5-3 on a power play with 3:55 remaining. D-men Bo Pellah and Latrell Charleson drew the helpers. Cakebread has nine goals in 19 games since joining Vernon from the USHL.
McCarthy scored the only goal of the first period when he deflected a Jandric shot past Powell River goalie Jeff Smith. D-man Griffin James, who was named the Fortis Energy Player of the Game, pocketed the second assist.
The Kings, finishing a three-game road trek after losing Saturday night in Salmon Arm, equalized 40 seconds into the second period as Gavin Rauser fooled Andrew Shortridge with a wrister from just inside the left point. Mitchell Hawes and Chris Protopoulos collected assists.
Jeremy Leclerc put the Kings in front seven minutes later when he went short side for his seventh snipe of the season. Jeremy Leipsic and Nick Halagian got the assists.
The Vipers showed some extra energy in their last game before the Christmas break by getting goals 2:02 apart in the third period from Hunter Zandee and Jagger Williamson.
Zandee banged in a rebound of a Williamson shot six minutes into the period for his sixth, while Williamson fired his fourth in tight on a gorgeous feed by Zandee.
Powell River answered right back with Jonny Evans registering his seventh on a low wrister, assisted by Halagian and Tristan Mullin.
Vernon outshot Powell River 42-26. The Vipers go into the break fourth in the Interior Division at 16-20-0-3, one point ahead of the Trail Smoke Eaters. The Kings are 18-4-0-2 and third in the Island Division.
The Vipers entertain the first-place Penticton Vees on New Year’s Day (7 p.m.). The Vees will welcome back projected NHL first-round draft picks Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro, while the Vipers will draw Liam Finlay back in the lineup. All three players helped Team Canada West shade Russia 2-1 Saturday in Couburg, Ont. for gold in the World Junior A Hockey Challenge.
Vernon was also without suspended forwards Riley Brandt and Jimmy Lambert and injured forward Odeen Tufto (concussion).
Please see Wednesday’s Vernon Morning Star for further Viper coverage.