The Vernon Vipers brushed back the Langley Rivermen 5-2 in B.C. Hockey League action before 1,425 fans Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place.
Jesse Lansdell, Austin Adamson, defenceman Michael Ufberg and Steven Jandric gave the Vipers a 4-0 lead with goals in a nine-minute span in the first period.
The Rivermen responded shortly after their captain Cooper Leitch tangled with Viper defenceman Connor Clouston in a rousing heavyweight scrap, getting second-period snipes from d-man John Schuldt and Andrew Dumaresque 81 seconds apart. Darren Hards was denied by Vernon goalie Ty Taylor on a short breakaway shortly after Dumaresque converted on a scramble.
Lansdell, chosen first star, struck the post on a wrister with 4:30 left in the third period which featured several heavy checks. Christian Cakebread connected with his seventh goal of the season, into an empty net, with 31 seconds remaining as Vernon improved to 11-11-2. Langley dipped to 8-12-3.
The Snakes outshot the Rivermen 34-28 with Taylor solid in his eighth win against five losses. Rookie Braedon Fleming, who got little defensive support in the opening 20, fell to 2-2.
Vernon was without leading scorers Jimmy Lambert and Jagger Williamson, both sidelined with injuries, suspended captain Riley Brandt and freshman blueliner Chris Jandric. Langley was without 20-year-old all-star sniper Max Kaufman.
The Vipers moved to within one point of the second-place Trail Smoke Eaters in the Interior Division, while the Rivermen remain tied for fifth in the Mainland Division with the Surrey Eagles.
Jordan Kawaguchi and Jake Smith each recorded deuces as the Chilliwack Chiefs grounded the visiting Wenatchee Wild 7-3 in other Wednesday night play. Charlie Combs counted his league-high 26th goal for the Wild, who are two points in front of the Chiefs atop the Mainland.