The two hottest teams in the Interior Conference will tangle tonight when the Vernon Vipers visit the Westside Warriors at Royal LePage Place.
The Warriors improved to 3-0 and a share of first place in the B.C. Hockey League standings after their 3-2 comeback win over the Salmon Arm SilverBacks Wednesday night at the Sunwave Centre.
The Vipers, the only other undefeated team in the Interior at 2-0, are looking to build on a solid weekend sweep of the 0-2-0-1 ‘Backs. Vernon hosts the Prince George Spruce Kings Saturday night at Wesbild Centre.
The 1-1 Kings are getting an early offensive boost from the 18-year-old Fitzgerald triplets – Leo (3+1), Gerry (2+2) and Myles (2G) – who have combined for 11 points in their first two games. Former SilverBack Paul De Jersey and 17-year-old sniper Jujhar Khaira each have 2+2 for Prince George.
Wednesday night, the Warriors needed a third-period rally to brush back Salmon Arm. They used singles by Connor Dempsey, on the powerplay, and second star Brett McKinnon, who potted the winner with 30 seconds left in regulation to cap the comeback.
Salmon Arm keeper Kurt Williams garnered first-star honours with 45 saves.
In other Interior action Wednesday night, Chad Brears scored midway through the third period as the Merritt Centennials salvaged a 3-3 draw with the host Trail Smoke Eaters at Cominco Arena.
Clayton Chessa and Clint Romanchuk pegged the Smokies to an early lead before Brent Fletcher answered for the Cents at 12:41 of the first period.
Merritt’s Syvain Harper and Trail’s Adam Boytinck swapped singles in the second period.
The Cents are 1-1-1, the Smokies are 0-2-1.
In the lone Coastal tilt Wednesday night, first star Cohen Adair recorded a natural hat trick, including a pair of shorthanded goals, as the Powell River Kings grounded the host Cowichan Valley Capitals 5-3 at the Island Savings Centre.
With the Kings up 3-0, the Capitals hit the board with 20 seconds to play in the second period on a goal by Matthew Grant.
Matt Brown cut the lead to one at 5:22 of the second period, but Powell River’s Teagan Waugh, assisted by Adair, netted the eventual winner less than a minute later to help the Kings move atop the Coast at 3-0. The Caps are in second at 2-1.
SNAKE BITES: Penticton Vees’ captain Logan Johnston had his 20-game suspension upped to 25 following a recent appeal by the team to the BCHL disciplinary committee. Johnston received the suspension for cross-checking Cody Michelle of Coquitlam Express during a Sept. 17 exhibition game. Michelle is reported to have a broken jaw as a result of the incident and could be on the sidelines for two months.