The line of Michael McNicholas, Liam Coughlin and Dexter Dancs led the Vernon Vipers back to a spot they haven’t been 20 games into a season since 2010-11.
First place in the B.C. Hockey League’s Interior Division.
The trio combined for 10 points, including the winning goal on a power play from Coughlin 44 seconds into the third period, as the Vipers beat the West Kelowna Warriors 5-3 in front of 1,962 fans Friday night at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers, 11-6-1-4 for 27 points, took over first place by one point ahead of the 12-6-0-2 Warriors, who have two games in hand. The Merritt Centennials are tied with the Vipers with 27 points but have two more wins than Vernon.
The Snakes host the Prince George Spruce Kings Saturday night.
McNicholas, awarded the Vipers’ Player of the Month honour for October (5-5-10) prior to Friday’s games, finished the night with 2+2. Coughlin had 1+3 and Dancs ended up with two assists.
Defencemen Ryan Renz and Josh Bryan had the other goals for Vernon, who never trailed in the contest, holding period leads of 1-0 and 3-2.
Vipers goalie Danny Todosychuk made 27 saves to pick up his eighth win of the season. Andy Desautels made 37 saves in the loss for West Kelowna, who played without head coach and general manager Rylan Ferster on the bench. He’s in Calgary on a scouting trip.
See Sunday’s Morning Star for more details from Friday’s game.