The Merritt Centennials have always been a work of art on the art of work.
They showed that trait once again Wednesday night in a comeback 5-4 B.C. Hockey League win over the Vernon Vipers before 1,660 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Chase Bell scored directly off a face-off with 5:13 remaining and the sloppily played tilt appeared heading to overtime. Bell beat Brett Stapley cleanly on the draw and fired a shot glove-side which struck the post and went in past Viper goalie Ty Taylor.
“I’ve tried that move about 30 times and it’s never worked,” smiled Bell, a Lethbridge centre who has nine snipes on the season.
The Cents, who trimmed the Snakes 2-1 in double overtime Saturday night in Vernon, improved to 17-17-8-1, giving them a share of fourth spot in the Interior Division with the Trail Smoke Eaters. The second-place Vipers, who had earned points in 11 straight games, dipped to 22-14-4-3.
Bell finished with a deuce, while captain Brett Jewell, a Vernon minor hockey grad, Cade Gleekel and Zach Metsa completed the Cents’ offence. Jewell hit the nine-goal mark.
Hunter Zandee pocketed his fourth and fifth goals of the year for the Vipers, putting them up 3-1 on a powerplay midway through the second period. Steven Jandric, with his 19th, and Austin Adamson, with his ninth, registered tallies four minutes apart to make it 2-0 Vernon nine minutes after the national anthem.
Merritt outshot Vernon 42-33 with Jake Berger posting his 14th win of the season. Three stars: 1. Bell. 2. Zandee. 3. Cents’ LW Stephan Seeger with 2A.
The Vipers visit the West Kelowna Warriors Friday night and entertain the Powell River Kings Saturday night.