Merritt, BC; After a tough loss on Friday night to Wenatchee, the Vernon Vipers hit the road for the first time and were able to skate away with a strong 5-2 win over the Merritt Centennials on Saturday night at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena.
Jesse Lansdell paced the visitors with a goal and assist, while Aidan Porter stopped 25 shots in the winning effort.
The Cents struck first on the powerplay as Nick Wicks potted home his first of the season on a scramble in front of the goal. The Vipers responded three minutes later as Michael Young jumped into the rush and slapped home a rebound for his first of the season and the game was tied at 1. Next it was the Vipers powerplay that sprung into action as a low shot from Josh Prokop was kicked out into the slot and Jesse Lansdell was there to bank it into the empty cage to give the Vipers a 2-1 lead. The Cents would equalize late in the period as a clearing attempt hit the linesman and sent Nick Granowicz in on goal. Aidan Porter would make the initial save, but it was Nick Wicks again on the loose puck to make it 2-2 after 1 period.
The game settled down in the middle frame as both teams tightened up defensively and made smarter plays when it came to managing pucks. The only goal of the period came when Coleton Bilodeau charged in on the forecheck causing a turnover that bounced to Nick Wildgoose and he ripped home his first BCHL goal giving the Vipers a 3-2 lead after 2.
In the third, it was all Vipers, as they outshot Merritt 19-5 in the final period. Jack Judson made it 4-2 with a great solo effort as he picked off a puck in the neutral zone, then kept on a 2 on 1 and with great patience found the back of the net for his first of the year. With seven minutes remaining, Ben Helgeson would cause a turnover and center for Alex Swetlikoff who made no mistake give the Snakes a 5-2 lead with his second of the season. From there, the Vipers clamped down and as the final buzzer sounded, the game finished 5-2.
Next action for the Vipers will see them host the West Kelowna Warriors 7pm Friday night at Kal Tire Place.