The Vipers, who snapped a three-game losing streak, routed the second-place Sherwood A&S Scrap Metal Falcons 10-2.
The ensures the Vipers will have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, and the loss by the Falcons also opens the door for the Arsenault’s Fish Mart Western Red Wings to move past them into second place.
The Red Wings, who are on a six-game winning streak and have closed to within one point back of the Falcons, will host the Montague Maniacs at the Evangeline Recreation Centre in their final regular-season game on Sunday at 7 p.m. The Falcons completed their schedule on Friday night while the Vipers have two home games remaining against the Holland College Hurricanes. Those games are Sunday, Feb. 10, and Sunday, Feb. 17, with both contests starting at 7 p.m.
The Vipers increased their record to 16-7-1 (won-lost-overtime/shootout losses) while the Falcons fell to 14-10-2. The Red Wings are 14-10-1.
Before approximately 200 fans at Community Gardens, Tanner McGuigan (3-2), Isaac Jay (3-1), Brett Hogan (2-1), Spencer Montgomery (1-5) and Ty Price scored for the Vipers. Kyle Doucette (2), Tyler Doyle and Brandon Gallant added assists.
For the Falcons, Pat Brazil and Kyle MacKinnon contributed goals while Brandon Birt, Josh Kirkpatrick, Willie Whelan and Mike Callaghan drew helpers.
The Vipers built period advantages of 3-1 and 6-1 while outshooting the Falcons 56-34. Logan Reid earned the goaltending win.
The Vipers picked up three minors, one fighting major and one game misconduct. The Falcons were assessed three minors, one slashing major, one fighting major and two game misconducts.