It’s been about as reliable as snow in July so far this season, but the powerplay came through big time for the Vernon Vipers Friday night at Kal Tire Place.
Michael McNicholas scored on the man advantage with just over six minutes left in regulation to give the Vipers a 2-1 won over their main B.C. Hockey League rival, the Salmon Arm SilverBacks.
Liam Coughlin relayed Dexter Dancs’ cross-ice feed to McNicholas, who buried the winner before netminder Adam Clark could get across.
Vernon’s powerplay is clicking at a league-worst 11.76 per cent.
Coughlin (first star) stuffed home the rebound off of fellow Bostonian Mark Hamilton’s point shot for the opening goal early in the second period.
The SilverBacks, fifth in the Interior Division at 10-7-1-1, equalized on a goalmouth scramble in front of Danny Todosychuk, converted by third star Max Becker.
Vernon (10-6-1-3) is tied for second in the Interior with the Penticton Vees (11-4-1-1), who have three games in hand. Just four points separate first from fifth place.
Friday’s tilt was a chippy affair, featuring a pair of scraps. The Snakes’ Brendan Persley and SilverBacks’ Brendan Kennedy battled in a quick, spirited bout in the second period. Kennedy’s brother, Jeff, tussled with Kenny Citron during a melee caused by Alex Jewell’s hit from behind on Hamilton in the third frame.
Todosychuk made 30 saves for his seventh win. Clark was steady in recording 31 stops for the Gorillas.
Vernon meets the Victoria Grizzlies (9-6-2-1) for the first time this season in a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday at Kal Tire Place.
Bill Bestwick’s Grizz drew the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-4 Friday night at Cominco Arena. They visit the ‘Backs Saturday at the Shaw Centre.
The season series between Vernon and Salmon Arm is tied 2-2.