If they keep playing like that, the Vernon Vipers might just land themselves a spot in the B.C. Hockey League playoffs.
Netminder Kirby Halcrow turned in a workhorse 41-save performance for his first shutout of the season as the Snakes blanked the Merritt Centennials 4-0 Friday night at Wesbild Centre.
The win improves the Vipers to 21-20-1-2, fifth in the Interior Conference. They trail the Chilliwack Chiefs (24-18-1-2) by four points for the final playoff spot. Chilliwack fell 5-1 to the league-leading Penticton Vees Friday night.
John Knisley made an instant impact in his return to the Vernon lineup after missing the last 13 games with a shoulder injury. After batting a puck out of midair at netminder Lino Chimienti, Knisley lofted the rebound over the Merritt goalie for the opening goal at 6:45 of the first period. Ben Gamache and Marc Hetnik drew assists.
Vernon made it 2-0 when Aaron Hadley redirected defenceman Brett Corkey’s powerplay point shot and Adam Tambellini was on the doorstep to bury the rebound into the open net.
Mike Zalewski, scoring a man advantage goal early in the third period, and Jedd Soleway, roofing a backhander on a play set up by call-up Eric Chore, completed the scoring.
Check out the sports section in Sunday’s Morning Star for a full recap of Friday’s game.