Viper winger Aaron Hadley shields the puck from Prince George defenceman Ben Matthews in BCHL play Sunday afternoon at Wesbild Centre. Vernon won 7-3.

Viper winger Aaron Hadley shields the puck from Prince George defenceman Ben Matthews in BCHL play Sunday afternoon at Wesbild Centre. Vernon won 7-3.

Vernon Vipers stop Spruce Kings

Colton Cyr pulled the hat trick as the Vipers stopped the Prince George Spruce Kings 7-3.

Hold that obituary notice for another day.

Centre Colton Cyr pulled the hat trick as the Vernon Vipers stopped the Prince George Spruce Kings 7-3 in B.C. Hockey League action before 2,100 fans Sunday afternoon at Wesbild Centre.

The fifth-place Vipers improved to 28-26-1-2, five points back of the idle Chilliwack Chiefs for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Interior Conference. The teams meet Tuesday night at Prospera Centre in the Fraser Valley. Chilliwack just needs one point in their final four games to knock out the Vipers, who have three games left.

The Vipers, who showed little urgency in a 3-1 loss to the sixth-place Westside Warriors Saturday night in West Kelowna, ambushed the Spruce Kings by converting five of their first nine shots, chasing starting net detective Ty Swabb after Aaron Hadley (16th goal) made it 4-0. Cyr completed his hatty (16th) with the first shot on reliever Kirk Thompson 20 seconds later.

The line of Cyr, Ben Gamache (1+4) and captain Patrick McGillis (3A) combined for a dozen points and took all three stars. Jedd Soleway (13th) and Mike Zalewksi, with his team-high 36th, had the other Viper goals.

Jarryd TenVaanholt, shorthanded, Gerry Fitzgerald and Tyson Witala, on the powerplay for the only goal of the third period, replied for Prince George, who share second place with the Merritt Centennials. The Spruce Kings clipped the Smoke Eaters 4-3 in double overtime the night before in Trail.

Kirby Halcrow made 15 saves for the win. The Vipers were without veteran winger Colton Sparrow, assessed a two-game suspension Saturday night for a hit to the head on Vernon product Devon Hascarl of the Warriors.

See Wednesday’s Morning Star for the full story.