Morning Star Staff
The Vernon Vipers upended the Trail Smoke Eaters 5-2 in B.C. Hockey League play Friday night before 1,535 fans at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers snapped a three-game losing skid by getting 10 points from their blue-collar line of captain Colton McCarthy (hat trick), Riley Brandt (1+2) and Jagger Williamson (4 assists).
Both teams recorded 42 shots with Andrew Shortridge improving to 8-5. Bailey McBurnie fell to 3-9.
The Smokies registered goals 2:06 apart late in the game with Nick Halloran scoring on a breakaway seven seconds into a Trail penalty kill. Halloran, a Utah product who has a scholarship to Air Force, went five-hole on Shortridge for his seventh snipe of the season.
Kurt Black flew down the left wing and beat Shortridge with a hard snap shot with 3:09 to play. Black has five goals on the year.
The Vipers led 3-0 after 20 minutes and went up 4-0 5:20 into the third when rookie d-man Callum Volpe converted on a bomb from the point. D-man Bo Pellah had his second starry game in a row, pocketing three assists, helping McCarthy twice.
Vernon went to 9-9-0-1 and a solid fourth in the Interior Division, six points ahead of the Merritt Centennials, 3-0 losers to the Penticton Vees. Penticton is 16-1.
The West Kelowna Warriors clipped the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 5-4 in overtime at the Shaw Centre to move within four points of the second-place Silverbacks.
Vernon gets a week off before opening a three-game road swing Friday night in Alberni Valley against the Bulldogs. The Vipers also visit the Cowichan Valley Capitals and Surrey Eagles on the trip.
The Smokies are last in the Interior at 6-10, one digit back of the Cents. Trail entertains the Penticton Vees in a Sunday matinee.
Please see Sunday’s Morning Star for further Viper coverage.