Brendan Lamont clicked on a give-and-go with Regan Soquilla for the winner in the second period as the Merritt Centennials iced the Vernon Vipers 3-1 in B.C. Hockey League action Saturday night at Wesbild Centre.
Soquilla collected a heads-up stretch pass from Cents’ defenceman Billy Marshall to put the game away with an empty-netter before 1,400 fans in the final minute to hand the 17-16-1-2 Vipers their third straight loss.
The win puts Merritt (20-10-2-5) four points ahead of the third-place Prince George Spruce Kings (19-13-2-3) in the Interior Conference. Vernon is fifth behind the 19-14-0-2 Chilliwack Chiefs.
Vernon’s lone goal came on a beauty three-way passing play between Dylan Walchuk and captain Patrick McGillis, capped in front of the net by Colton Sparrow during a late powerplay in the second period.
It was McGillis’s first game back since he suffered a high ankle sprain in an Oct. 7 game against Chilliwack.
Armstrong’s Dylan Chanter, normally a defenceman, played up front for the Cents and was rewarded with the opening goal, his second of the season, as he went to the net and redirected a pass from Brandon Bruce.
Cents’ keeper Lino Chimienti, with 35 stops, and Vipers’ netminder Kirby Halcrow, with 32 saves, recorded second and third star respectively.
The Vipers visit the Cents Friday night at Nicola Valley Arena before starting a three-game home stand against the Coquitlam Express (20-12-2-2) Saturday at Wesbild.
Check out Wednesday’s edition of the Morning Star for a full recap of tonight’s game.