Powell River Kings' Daniel Schuler gets in too close on Vipers' netminder Kirby Halcrow to reach the rebound on a shot from the point during some fantastic BCHL action Monday at Wesbild Centre as the Vipers' take a 3-0 series lead.

Powell River Kings' Daniel Schuler gets in too close on Vipers' netminder Kirby Halcrow to reach the rebound on a shot from the point during some fantastic BCHL action Monday at Wesbild Centre as the Vipers' take a 3-0 series lead.

Vipers grab 3-0 stranglehold

The Vernon Vipers are one win away from claiming their third straight Fred Page Cup as B.C. Hockey League champions.

The Vernon Vipers are one win away from claiming their third straight Fred Page Cup as B.C. Hockey League champions.

Johnny Knisley scored his third goal of the playoffs with 6:36 remaining as the Vipers held off the Powell River Kings 4-3 before 2,139 fans Monday night at the Wesbild Centre.

Game 5 in the best-of-seven series went Tuesday night in Vernon. The Vipers clipped the Kings 1-0 on a late goal by captain David Robinson in Game 2 Saturday night on the Sunshine Coast.

Knisley fired a shot from the right corner which bounced off Powell River towering defenceman Justin DaSilva’s leg and past a startled goalie Sean Maguire.

The Vipers led 2-1 after one period and were up 3-1 until midway through the second when the Kings starting taking over the play, especially down low.

First star Malcolm Lyles scored once and set up Marcus Basara with a gorgeous one-hand pass after a spectacular rush to lead the Vipers, who won their seventh straight playoff tilt.

Cohen Adair gave the Kings a 1-0 lead 2:49 into the game on a wrister from the slot on the powerplay. Michael Zalewski outworked a defender for a loose puck after some good corner work by Darren Nowick and Knisley and beat starter Michael Garteig on a powerplay wrister.

The Vipers chased Garteig after Lyles fooled the Prince George all-star with a long, soft wrist shot from just inside the blueline with 4:50 gone in the second period. Maguire came in and saw his first minutes of the post-season.

The Kings pulled within one nine minutes later when Steven Schmidt led a three-man rush and fed Chris Williams for a gorgeous bang-bang shorthanded tally.

Powell River equalized at 5:50 of the third with 42 seconds left in a powerplay with Chad Niddery finishing a sweet play involving Andrew Pettitt and Jon Jutzi.

The Kings outshot the Vipers 33-20, including a 17-6 margin in the second period. Kirby Halcrow earned the win, his biggest stop coming with 79 seconds left in the second off Brendan Forbes in tight.

Hits-of-the-night was a Brett Corkey smackdown of the Kings’ Chad Garbowsky in open ice and a DaSilva crushing of the Vipers’ Zach McPhee against the side boards.

In Alberta, the Camrose Kodiaks shut down the visiting Spruce Grove Saints 2-0 in the Enerflex Cup. The No. 1-ranked Saints lead the series 2-1.