Friday, February 27, 2009

Road To The Fred Page Cup Begins:

The road to the Fred Page Cup begin's as the 2009 BCHL Playoffs get underway tonight. Check out Shawn Mullin's Trail Smoke Eaters blog for a great preview on the 1st round of the BCHL Playoffs,

Here's a look at the BCHL Playoff Schedule,

Game On, At Home:

This was in the Morning Star Newspaper:


Game on, at home

VERNON VIPERS player Sahir Gill (left) tries to get the puck past seven-year-old goalie Troy Cruzzetto and his brother, Kyle, 11. Friend Josh Pringle (right) waits in front of net for a pass while other Vipers watch on the sidelines. About 12 members of the team came to the Cruzzetto’s house for an hour of ice time after the family won the Home Depot Backyard Rink contest.
Eleven-year-old Kyle Cuzzetto could hardly believe his ears when his dad, Mike, told him Vernon Viper players were coming over to play hockey.
“I was like, really? Are they really coming?” said Cuzzetto, standing on his family’s backyard rink last Sunday as defenceman Kyle Bigos and forward Sahir Gill pass the puck in front of his younger brother, Troy.
“I’m a big fan of the Vipers and skating with them is a once in a lifetime chance,” said Kyle.
The Cuzzettos won the Home Depot Backyard Rink contest, which brought nearly a dozen of the BCHL players to their house for an hour of ice time.
The net is facing the sun and the Cuzzetto boys take turns being the goalie. The oldest child, 14-year-old Megan, likes to watch more than play, but she picks up a stick and takes her share of shots too.
“It’s really cool because usually you don’t get to do this,” said Megan, who, like her brothers, is a huge Vipers fan and wants to be a sportscaster when she’s older.
As much as the Cuzzetto kids and their friends are having the game of their lives, the Vipers are enjoying the event too.
“It’s good to come out and have fun with the fans,” said Kevin Kraus, who didn’t have a backyard rink growing up in California.
Vipers captain Chris Crowell, who did have one at his family’s house in Williams Lake, albeit not quite as nice as the Cuzzetto’s, agreed that the contest is a fun way to spend time with the kids who look up to them.
“It’s cool to get to come to something like this,” said Crowell.
Wearing his signed, pale blue Vipers jersey, seven-year-old Troy beams at him, even when a puck is about to slip past his pads and into the net. He was “psyched” when his dad told him they’d won the contest, that he’d get to play with his favourite players at home for a whole hour.
“It was really fun,” said Troy, whose dad built the rink for them for the first time last year.
As Mike, his wife, Lori, and a handful of neighbours watch from the sidelines — their porch steps — the sun melts the edges of the ice and shines on the smiles of everyone inside the wooden frame.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Vipers Alumni Update With Aaron Volpatti:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Aaron Volpatti is in his 3rd season with Brown University. Volpatti played three season’s in Vernon from 2003-06. In 23 games this year the Brown’s are 2-17-4 In In 23 games this season Volpatti has 3 goals & 4 assists for 7 points.

Aaron Volpatti’s Bio,

Vipers Backyard Rink Contest:

The Vernon Vipers put on a backyard rink contest earlier this month with the winning family having the Vipers over for a skate & some fun with the kids,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vipers Eye Playoff Run:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers eye playoff run

With the Interior Conference pennant already in their pocket, the Vernon Vipers went out and shut down the struggling Trail Smoke Eaters 4-0 Sunday to close out their B.C. Hockey League regular season.
The Vipers (42-14-1-3) settled for second place overall in the 17-team BCHL, two points behind the Victoria Grizzlies, 5-4 winners Saturday night over the Cowichan Valley Capitals. Vernon lost 5-3 to the host Penticton Vees Saturday night.
Both Vernon and the second-place Salmon Arm SilverBacks, who finished five points back of the Vipers, received first-round byes.
The Smoke Eaters, who lost their last 10 games, placed sixth and will meet the third-place Westside Grizzlies in a best-of-five series starting Friday night. Penticton hosts the fifth-place Prince George Spruce Kings in the other first-round series.
Vernon’s first playoff game will be Friday, March 6, at the Wesbild Centre against the lowest remaining Interior seed.
Andrew Hammond registered 22 saves to earn first star and his fifth shutout of the season before 2,911 fans in Sunday’s matinee.
“Trail’s offence wasn’t too busy tonight, but when they did shoot the puck, they were pretty good chances,” said Hammond, a 21-year-old White Rock native. “Trail was probably pretty tired, facing their third game in their third day, but so were we, coming off two tough losses to Westside and Penticton, while Trail lost twice to Merritt. We really needed to rebound back from that tough loss Saturday night in Penticton and bring lots of momentum into this one. I think we played a much better and disciplined game.”
The Snakes got off to a relatively quick start Sunday, peppering Smokies’ goaltender Paul Barclay with 15 shots in the first period, for a game total of 39.
After losing their first two games of the year to Trail in their eight-game mini-series, the Snakes rallied back for six straight victories.
“They definitely had our number at the beginning of the year, but we’ve come on strong since then, especially after the trade deadline when we got Cameron Brodie and Mike Leidl from Burnaby,” said Hammond. “They’re a big help to me on the defence, as they’re both big bodies who keep the puck to the outside and bring a physical presence to every game.”
Bryce Kakoske (12th) got the Snakes on the board first on an easy goal where he jumped on the loose puck in front of Barclay.
Vernon also dominated the second stanza, piling 28 shots on Barclay before the end of the period. They did have a bit of a lapse however, when they got tired in their own end and Trail took over, throwing some good quality chances on net. Trail’s Justin Brown had two quick opportunities but was denied by Hammond.
The Vipers soon woke up and got a late goal with 1:55 to go, from Sahir Gill. Gill potted his 18th on a nice three-way passing play from Kellen and Connor Jones.
Some rough stuff was featured in the period, as former Viper Patrick Raley was ejected from the game after a hit from behind on Mike Collins. Coming to Collins’ defence, Chris Crowell and Kyle Bigos jumped on Raley.
Everyone who was on the ice at the time of the hit got involved in the mini scrum. In the end, Vernon lost all three of their captains (Crowell, Bigos and Braden Pimm) for a good chunk of the game as they were slapped with misconducts. Jayson Reardon (Lumby product) and Scott Jacklin of the Smokies received the same. Cole Ikkala and Brown fought in a spirited bout two seconds after Gill’s goal.
Collins scored the Snakes’ lone powerplay goal seven minutes into the third, on a crisp pass from second star Kevin Kraus. Collins finished as the Vipers’ leading goal scorer, with 25. Pimm finished second with 24. Connor Jones finished as the top Vernon point-getter, with 19 goals and 60 points.
Trail enjoyed a two-man advantage halfway through the third period but couldn’t solve Hammond.
Ryan Santana (12th) bagged the Vipers’ fourth goal. Kraus also factored into the goal, as he set up Santana who carried the puck through the zone and slipped the puck past a surprised Barclay.
Vernon assistant coach Jason Williamson was pleased with his team’s last regular-season game.
“Night in and night out, I believe the Interior Conference is one of the top divisions in Canada. It’s a pretty tough division to play in, with us, Salmon Arm, Penticton, and Westside always being so close. It’s a real accomplishment for these boys and puts a real feather in their cap.
“Our last two games weren’t our greatest effort, when we lost 4-3 to Westside and 5-3 to Penticton, but tonight we switched things around and came out to win. Our defence played pretty poor in those two games and that just can’t happen come playoff time. We will work really hard in practice these two weeks we have off leading up to the second round, and not allow for those type of mistakes to happen again.”

SNAKE BITES: Robbie Short served game two of his three-game suspension, thanks to a match penalty he received in Westside Friday night for a check from behind on Brendan Ellis with four seconds to play...Cody Ikkala joined Short in the press box, as he was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s tilt...Gill, Cory Kane and James Kerr had the Viper goals versus the Vees...Cowichan meets Nanaimo, while Langley battles Surrey in Coastal Conference first-round tilts...University of North Dakota junior defenceman Chay Genoway, a Viper grad, has been named a Western Collegiate Hockey Association Scholar-Athlete recipient. This is the second time that Genoway, a management major, has been honoured for academic excellence while studying at North Dakota. The Manitoba product is UND’s leading scorer with 2-26-28.

Hammond Nets Top Goalie Award:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Hammond nets top goalie award

It was a double dose of good news for netminder Andrew Hammond at the Vernon Vipers’ award banquet Monday night at the Best Western Vernon Lodge.
Not only did the 20-year-old White Rock product pick up team MVP, it was also announced he had earned the B.C. Hockey League’s top goalie award and top goaltending tandem award along with Graeme Gordon.
Hammond was the league’s top net detective at 27-12-1 with five shutouts, a 2.30 GAA and .912 save percentage. Gordon was 14-6 with a 2.92 GAA.
“There are so many guys on this team that you could have given it to,” said Hammond. “There’s probably five guys you could put your finger on, and everybody would agree with it. That just speak to the quality of guys on this team.
“You can just look at my stats last year in Surrey (Eagles), and then when I came to Vernon that same year and my goals against average was quite a bit different. It’s more of a team award, I think.”
Added Vipers captain Chris Crowell: “Hammy’s been great for us all year. He won us a lot of games, and kept us in a lot of games as well. That’s definitely well deserved for him.”
Hammond also earned the Vipers’ Squires Four Pub Shutout scholarship, valued at $350.
Vipers’ head coach Mark Ferner picked up the Interior Conference Joe Tennant Memorial trophy as coach of the year. Ferner piloted the Vipers to a 42-13-1-3 record and helped them earn No. 4 in the country’s final top-15 rankings. The Spruce Grove Saints of Alberta were No. 1 ahead of the Humboldt Broncos and Winnipeg Saints.
Ferner credited the Vipers organization for much of the team’s success.
“Everyone has put in a lot of hard work, right from the coaching staff and office staff to the scouts. You’re only as good as your players, and we were fortunate enough to have a good year.”
Added assistant coach Jason Williamson: “He’s not too high, not too low, and I think that’s key as a coach. He sticks up for his team, he doesn’t call them out in the media. He’s a players’ coach if there’s ever been one.”
The Salmon Arm SilverBacks’ Mark Zengerle earned the Vern Dye Memorial award (Interior MVP), the Westside Warriors’ Justin Schultz pocketed Top Defenceman, and the Penticton Vees’ claimed the Bruce Allison Memorial award (Top Interior Rookie).
In other Vipers’ awards, Connor Jones earned the Leading Scorer and Three Star awards, while Mike Collins was Top Rookie with a team-leading 25 goals.
“I didn’t even know he was that close to Pimmer (Braden Pimm) in goals,” said Crowell, who plays on a line with Pimm and Collins. “It’s good for him, but maybe if he’d pass the puck a few more times, maybe I would have beat him in goals.”
Kyle Bigos took the Vipers’ top d-man award.
“Not too many guys know of his plus-minus, but going into this weekend, (Bigos) was a plus-42,” said Williamson. “He can do it all back there. He can play an offensive game or he can shut other teams down.”
Ryan Santana (Most Sportsmanlike and $800 Short Handed scholarship), Cody Ikkala (Community Service), Kevin Kraus (Unsung Hero), Crowell (Academics and $1,325 Powerplay scholarship), Steve Weinstein (Most Improved) claimed the other awards.

Former Viper Genoway Named WCHA Scholar-Athlete:

This is on the BCHL website:

BCHL Grad Genoway named WCHA Scholar-Athlete

Monday, February 23, 2009 - Submitted by UND Athletics

University of North Dakota junior defenseman Chay Genoway (Vernon Vipers/BCHL) has been named a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Scholar-Athlete recipient, the conference office announced today.

This is the second time that genoway has been honoured for academic excellence while studying at North Dakota and suiting up for the Sioux.

To earn the recognition, student-athletes must have completed at least one year of residency at their present institution prior to the current academic year and must also have a grade-point average of at least 3.50 on a 4.0 scale for the previous two semesters.

Genoway, a native of Morden, Manitoba, is a management major and a 2007-08 member of the All-WCHA Academic Team. He is UND’s leading scorer this season with two goals and a career-high 26 assists for 28 points in 31 games.

"The WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award is among the most prestigious of all individual honors the Association presents each year and we are extremely proud of what these outstanding young men and women have accomplished – both on the ice and in the classroom," WCHA Conference Commissioner Bruce McLeod said. "They represent the very best in collegiate athletics."

The 2009 WCHA Scholar-Athletes are being recognized and honored on-ice with a commemorative plaque at home games during the remainder of the season. The winners will also be recognized in tournament programs and in future men’s and women’s conference yearbooks.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hammond & Gordon Named Top Goaltender Duo:

Vernon Vipers goaltender's Andrew Hammond & Graeme Gordon have been named the league's Top goaltender duo for the regular season. This award awarded to the goaltending tandem whose team allows the fewest number of goals during the regular season. Hammond in his 2nd season with Vernon playing in 43 games, with a record of 27-12-1 picking up 5 shutouts along with the league's best 2.30 GAA & a 91.22 SV% Gordon in his 1st season with the Vipers played in 19 games, with a record of 14-4 picking up 2 shutouts along with a 2.40 GAA & a 89.95 SV%

Ferner Named Interior Conference Coach Of The Year:

Vernon Vipers Head Coach & GM Mark Ferner has been named the Interior Conference's Coach of the year. Ferner in his 2nd season as Head Coach & GM guided the Vipers to 1st place in the Interior Conference with a record of, 42-14-1-3 falling just four points shy of the Victoria Grizzlies who claimed the BCHL's Chevrolet Cup as the League's best team.

Hammond Named Top Goaltender:

Vernon Vipers goaltender, Andrew Hammond has been named the BCHL's Top Goaltender for the regular season. This is awarded to the goaltender with the lowest goals-against average with a minimum of 1000 minutes played. Hammond in his 2nd season with Vernon playing in 43 games, with a record of 27-12-1 picking up 5 shutouts along with the league's best 2.30 GAA & a 91.22 SV%

Former Viper Earn's NCAA Notice:

Scofield’s skills earn NCAA notice

Written by Ted Clarke, Citizen staff

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Physically, Tyler Scofield says he hasn’t grown much since his junior hockey days as a high-scoring playmaker in B.C. Hockey League rinks. He’s still the five-foot-eight, 150-pound jitterbug he was when he left Prince George four seasons ago to begin his NCAA college career with the Bemidji State University Beavers. While there’s been no Incredible Hulk transformation to change his genetic makeup, Scofield has left a huge carbon footprint on the pages that document his college career. He’s one of the most productive forwards in the school’s history. With four games left this season, Scofield is six points shy of 100 in his career, a milestone only four other Beavers have reached. “I hadn’t thought about that until our coaches brought it up but it’s definitely exciting,” said Scofield, 24. “It’s a nice benchmark and I’m in good company up there but first things first, I want to win a championship. If I can accomplish that (100 points), that’s a bonus.” Scofield ranks second in team scoring with 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points in 26 games. The Beavers currently lead the College Hockey America conference with a 9-4-1 record (13-14-1 overall), and are two points ahead of second-place Niagara (8-3-1) who hold two games in hand over the Bemidji State. “For the most part we’re right where we want to be in a race for the championship right now and we just have to win the rest of our games and hopefully we can take first place,” said Scofield, from his home in Bemidji, Minn. Like every NCAA player, Scofield’s dream is to be in Washington, D.C. for the Frozen Four championship tournament April 10-12. Even if the Beavers fail to qualify, there’s a chance he will be there. Scofield is among 68 finalists in the Frozen Four Skills Challenge, from an original list of 140. The selection committee will now pair the list to 16 (eight from the East, eight from the West) for the skills competition. On-line voting for player selections ended Wednesday. Considering his speed and soft hands around the net, Scofield would be a logical choice for either the fastest skater contest or breakaway challenge events. Any scouting report on Scofield would include the phrase, “small, but quick,” and his skating
skills continue to allow him to thrive in the NCAA. “I’m the exact same size I was in the last year I played for the Spruce Kings but I’m definitely stronger,” said Scofield. “My coaches harp on that and they have quite the strict off-season training regimen. We only play on the weekends so you get a lot more practice than games.” Scofield played all his minor hockey in Prince George, which led to a four-year B.C. Hockey League career in Vernon, Prince George, Alberni Valley. He finished off his junior A career in Manitoba, with the OCN Blizzard. He signed a scholarship agreement with Bemidji State in 2005, after the season ended at OCN. “They called me right near the final signing deadline to say they had some scholarship money left and it’s been awesome,” Scofield, a business major. “I didn’t really have anything going on and I didn’t know if I was going to continue to play hockey. It was the best thing I’ve ever done and the most fun four years of my life. I’ve made great friends that I’ll never forget. “They gave me a chance to play every game of my freshman year, something I wasn’t expecting. The big emphasis in college is defence and they definitely improved my defensive game immensely and that’s the biggest thing I’ve changed since juniors. We won a championship my first year and made it to the NCAAs (final-16 playoffs) and hopefully we can do that again.” Scofield says he hasn’t crossed paths this season with many of his former Prince George teammates but stays in touch with them regularly through email. “I played against Keenan Hopson last year when we started the year off in Maine,” said Scofield. “Mark Nelson is one of my best buddies and we were hoping we’d play each other once in the four years but we never did. He’s at Quinnipiac. We’ll have to meet in the Sweet 16 (playoffs).” Scofield is considering his pro options next season in either Sweden or Finland and plans to stay in northern Minnesota for the summer where he can continue to train.

Monday, February 23, 2009

2008/09 BCHL Award Winners Announced:

2008/09 BCHL award winners announced

Monday, February 23, 2009 - Submitted by BCHL Media

The British Columbia Hockey League announced today its award winners for the 2008/09 regular season, which concluded Sunday.

A total of five awards -- MVP, Top Defenceman, Rookie of the Year, Most Sportsmanlike Player and Coach of the Year -- are presented to one individual in each of the Coastal and Interior Conferences and were chosen by coach and media voting.

The recipients of four other trophies were determined based on final statistics and standings from the 2008/09 regular season.

The award winners for each conference are below:

Most Valuable Player -- Vern Dye Memorial Trophy:

Coastal Conference: Chris Rawlings, Cowichan Valley Capitals Interior Conference: Mark Zengerle, Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Top Defenceman:

Coastal Conference: Zack Currie, Cowichan Valley Capitals Interior Conference: Justin Schultz, Westside Warriors

Rookie of the Year -- Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy:

Coastal Conference: Mat Bodie, Powell River Kings Interior Conference: Garrett Milan, Penticton Vees

Most Sportsmanlike Player -- Bob Fenton Trophy:

Coastal Conference: Darcy Oakes, Powell River Kings Interior Conference: Conor Morrison, Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Coach of the Year -- Joe Tenant Memorial Trophy:

Coastal Conference: Kent Lewis, Powell River Kings Interior Conference: Mark Ferner, Vernon Vipers

Additional trophy winners are below:

Top Scorer Brett Hull Trophy:

Winner: Darcy Oakes, Powell River Kings

* Trophy awarded to the player who accumulated the highest number of regular season points

Top Goaltender:

Winner: Andrew Hammond, Vernon Vipers

* Trophy awarded to the goaltender with the lowest goals-against average with a minimum of 1000 minutes played

Top Goaltender:

Winner: Andrew Hammond and Graeme Gordon, Vernon Vipers

* Trophy awarded to the goaltending tandem whose team allows the fewest number of goals during the regular season

Chevrolet Cup:

Winner: Victoria Grizzlies

* Trophy awarded to the team that accumulates the highest number of points during the regular season

Vipers Close At #4 On CJHL's Final Top 15:

Vipers close at #4 on CJHL's final Top 15

Monday, February 23, 2009 - Submitted by CJHL Network

The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) announced today its Final Top 15 rankings for the week of February 16th to February 22nd.

Last week’s rankings and the leagues in which the teams belong to are in parenthesis. The CJHL Final Top 15 as of Monday, February 23rd:

1. (2) Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
2. (1) Humboldt Broncos (SJHL)
3. (3) Winnipeg Saints (MJHL)
4. (4) Vernon Vipers (BCHL)
5. (6) Couchiching Terriers (OJHL)
6. (7) Georgetown Raiders (OJHL)
7. (11) Portage Terriers (MJHL)
8. (8) Grande Prairie Storm (AJHL)
9. (9) Pembroke Lumber Kings (CJHL)
10. (10) Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
11. (NR) Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
12. (12) Summerside Western Capitals (MJAHL)
13. (14) Fort William North Stars (SIJHL)
14. (13) North Bay Skyhawks (NOJHL)
15. (15) Les Cougars du College Champlain – Sherbrooke (LHJAAAQ)

Honorable mention goes to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL), Powell River Kings (BCHL), Okotoks Oilers (AJHL), Weyburn Red Wings (SJHL), Selkirk Steelers (MJHL), Oakville Blades (OJHL), Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) and the Nepean Raiders (CJHL).

The rankings are based upon a variety of factors which includes the league in which the teams belong to, their winning percentage, their win-loss record, total points accumulated, their goals-for versus goals-against ratio, amongst other factors.

The CJHL is an amalgamation of ten Junior A hockey leagues from across Canada. More information on the CJHL can be found by clicking on the league website.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vernon 4 Trail 0

Was at todays BCHL game as Vernon defeated Trail 4-0 in front of 2,911 fans at the Wesbild Centre.

1st Period: Some good flow in the early first few minutes as the play went back & forth with no scoring chances. Vernon then took over and it was all Vipers for the remainder of the period. The Vipers were skating, moving the puck well and getting shots towards Paul Barclay from everywhere getting alot of shots towards the net. No real good scoring chances early as most of the Viper shots were from the perimiter. Vernon would get the first and only powerplay of the period but it was the Smoke Eaters who had the best chance, Patrick Martin went in for the breakaway, with Cameron Brodie in chase, Martin missed going high and over the net. Vernon struggled on the man advantage getting just one shot seconds before the minor expired. The Smokies tried the long stretch pass a few times through out the 1st period. The line of Cory Kane, Bryce Kakoske and Cole Ikkala was the Vipers best line this afternoon, Kane was flying making some end to end rushes through out todays game. Kane was a good shot from in close but was stopped by Barclay. Kakoske would open the scoring at 10:51 beating Barclay in close. Assists going to, Cory Kane & Cole Ikkala. Ryan Santana who showed lots of hustle, working hard all afternoon had a great chance from the slot but hit the post as Vernon come close to going up 2-0. Justin Brown come down the wing and snapped a shot wich Andrew Hammond just got a piece of it with his glove, the puck sat in the crease as Trail stormed the crease before Hammond covered up the loose puck. The Smoke Eaters couldnt generate much offence, as most of the play was held in the Trail zone. The Vipers dominated the play outplaying the Smoke Eaters. Braden Pimm & Chris Crowell went in two on one as Pimm's pass couldnt get through over to Crowell. In the final few seconds Trail had a few chances in close but couldnt find the back of the net. Vernon was up 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers outshot the Smoke Eaters 15-4.

2nd Period: Off the opening faceoff Trail had two good chances coming close to tying the game, it didnt take long before the Vipers took over play, really dominating the play in the Smokies zone. Vernon carried the edge in play within the first five minutes getting some chances, before Trail finally woke up. Justin Brown showed lots of energy and hustle getting two good chances on the same play but was stopped by Hammond. The tables now seemed to turn as the Vipers got a little lazy on a few plays as the Smoke Eaters picked up their play, getting some good quality chances. Vernon turned the tide and took over control in the second half, as the Vipers were buzzing in the Trail zone. Cory Kane cut wide, then drove towards the net but was stopped in front by Barclay, Kane would then feed Cole Ikkala on the same shift with a nice pass out front, but Ikkala's tip was stopped by Barclay. Former Viper Patrick Raley was tossed from the game after a check from behind on Mike Collins. Chris Crowell & Kyle Bigos jumped in, going after Raley as everyone on the ice jumped in getting involved in the scrum. Some pushing and shoving with a few punches being throwen as even Paul Barclay was in the middle of the scrum. Crowell, Pimm & Bigos recieved ten minute misconducts for Vernon, Jason Reardon & Scott Jacklin picked up ten minute misconducts for the Smokies. Just a few minutes later some nice three way passing from the Vipers top line on a three on one, Kellen Jones made a nice move at the Trail blueline, feeding his brother Connor Jones who setup Sahir Gill who beat Barclay putting Vernon up 2-0 at 18:05. Assits going to, Both Connor & Kellen Jones. Trail played a much better period, getting some good chances. Giving up a late goal seemed to take the wind out of their sails. Shortly after the Vipers goal, Justin Brown dropped the gloves with Cole Ikkala. Brown was fired up, yelling at his bench trying to get the Smoke Eaters going. The Vipers were up 2-0 after 40 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Trail 13-9.

3rd Period: In the first few minutes Cory Kane had a great chance but Barclay kicked out his shot with a nice toe save. Vipers were buzzing in the first few minutes getting some quality shots on net. Trail would get the first powerplay of the 3rd but couldnt get one past Hammond. Shortly after the Vipers would jump on the powerplay and take advantage, Kevin Kraus made a nice move at the blueline, setting up Mike Collins who tried making a pass out front, the puck ended up going off d-man Steve Koshey and into his own net past Barclay as Vernon went up 3-0 at 7:10 putting the game away. Assists going to Kevin Kraus. The Vipers backed off the attack just putting shots towards the net, trying to wind down the clock. For most of the 3rd it looked as if the Vipers were on one long man advantage but both teams were even strength, as the Vipers speed and skill was just too much for the Smokies to handle. The Smoke Eaters would get a two man advantage as the Vipers got into some penalty trouble, the Smokies did get a few chances but had troubles creating any offence. Trail did come up with a few chances in close but Hammond looked very confident between the pipes this afternoon. With five minutes remaining Kevin Kraus setup Ryan Santana, Santana carried the puck through the zone, then doing a spin o rama in close beating Barclay at 14:25 as the Vipers went up 4-0. Not much of a showing from the Smoke Eaters in the final frame as the Vipers snapped their two game lossing streak defeating Trail 4-0 to close out the regular season. The Vipers outshot the Smoke Eaters 11-9. The Vipers won the season series 6-2.

Top Players: (Vernon)

Kevin Kraus (2 assists) Looked very strong defensively and offensively. Kraus jumped up into the play on several occasions. Kraus can handle the puck very well at times and can be very dangerous at times.

The line of Cory Kane, Bryce Kakoske, & Cole Ikkala was the Vipers best line. Kane (1 assist) Was flying this afternoon. Kane needs to play like this each and every game, can be very effective and dangerous with the puck. Went end to end twice today putting some unreal moves while cutting up ice. Kakoske (1 goal) played well, was driving to the net all afternoon. Ikkala (1 assist) dropped the gloves with Justin Brown, played physical. Played with some good energy.

Andrew Hammond played well, making a few tough saves. Hammond looked very confident through out this afternoons game.

Ryan Santana (1 goal) looked very good with the puck. This kid works hard every night, showed lots of hustle this afternoon, carried the puck alot. Scored a real nice goal late in the 3rd. Id like to see some more scoring from Santana whos a bigger body and hard to knock off the puck.

Top Players: (Trail)

Paul Barclay (35 saves) played a solid game between the pipes for the Smokies, giving them a chance to win. Barclay is very quick on his feet, made a few nice saves down low.

Justin Brown was by far the best player for Trail. Dropped the gloves with Cole Ikkala trying to set a fire under his team late in the 2nd. Played with a ton of energy, showed lots of hustle and emotion. Had the better of the Smokies scoring chances.

Brandon Clark played a solid game on the Trail blueline. Dosnt give you much room to move along the end boards, was all over the Jones-Gill line, not allowing them to get the cycle going down low.

Game Thoughts: (Vernon)

I thought the Vipers played well against a Trail team who didnt play all that well. Vernon basically dominated the play for most of todays game having the better of the play. Vipers were shooting from anywhere, getting lots of shots towards Barclay. Had lots of chances through out this afternoon's game, played a strong defensive game, eliminating Trails chances not giving them much room in close. For a mean nothing game, other then team pride I was pleased with the teams effort. The Vipers have shutout the Smoke Eaters three times this season. Vernon now gets a first round bye and will wait to faceoff against the winner of either Prince George or Penticton in the second round of the playoffs. Nice to see a huge crowd on hand for the last game of the regular season.

Game Thoughts: (Trail)

Both teams must be getting sick of one another, as this was the fourth straight weekend these two teams have faced off against one another. Trail got off to a bad start being outplayed and outworked for most of the 1st period. Down 1-0 the Smokies did get some chances in the 2nd period, playing much better hockey, but couldnt capitalize on their chances. Giving up a late goal to end the period seemed to take the wind out from their sails. Not much showing in the 3rd, as it looked like the Vipers were on a long extended powerplay. Trail didnt have much jump in todays game, only a few bright spots coming from the Smoke Eaters roster, as the Smokies have gone down hill since the Christmas break. The Vipers won most of the races and battles along the boards and in the corners.



Cody Ikkala
Rob Short
Steven Weinstein


CJ LeGassic
Adam Gummer
Paul Mailey
Marco Raimondo

3 Stars:

1st Star: Andrew Hammond (22 saves)
2nd Star: Kevin Kraus (2 assists)
3rd Star: Sahir Gill (1 goal)

Trail @ Vernon: (Game Preview)

Vernon (41-14-1-3) @ Trail (25-30-2-2)

Today will be the 8th & final regular season meeting between these two hockey clubs. Vernon leads the season series 5-2. This is the fourth straight weekend these two teams have faced off against one another. Vernon is coming off back to back losses over the weekend losing 4-3 to Westside Friday & 5-3 last night in Penticton. The Vipers are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games. After winning 7 straight, the Vipers have just 4 wins in their last 7 games. Trail is in a tail spin as of late, losing both games in a home & home series to the Merritt Centennials. The Cents defeated the Smokies 3-2 Friday and 4-3 last night. The Smoke Eaters are 1-9-0-0 in their last 10 games. This will be the last regular season game of the year for both teams, before heading into the playoffs. For great coverage and interviews from tonight’s game, please check out Trails play by play man, Shawn Mullin’s Smoke Eaters blog, Shawn does a great job covering the Smokies and the BCHL. I always enjoy his thoughts and comments on the Smoke Eaters along with what he has to say on the game.

Heres a look at the season series:

October 4th @ Vernon: Trail wins 5-2

The Smoke Eaters would go ahead 3-1 in the 2nd period and not look back, going home with the 5-2 victory over the Vipers. JF Boisvert lead the Trail attack with 3 pts. Andrew Pickering, Ryan Bulach, Nick Sandor, & Paul Mailey all collected 2 pts each. Paul Barclay made 33 saves in the win, & Andrew Hammond made 28 saves taking the loss. Braden Pimm was the lone bright spot for the Vipers, scoring 2 goals.

November 14th @ Trail: Trail wins 3-2

Tied 2-2 heading into the 3rd Marco Raimmondo stands on his head keeping Vernon off the scoreboard, as the Vipers outplayed the Smoke Eaters in the final frame but couldnt solve the strong goaltening from Raimondo. Ryan Bulach beats Andrew Hammond with just 35 seconds remaining to put the Smoke Eaters up 3-2, Chris Crowell then hits the post in the dying seconds with Hammond on the bench for the extra attacker as Vernon falls to Trail 3-2. Raimondo makes 25 saves earning 1st star.

December 9th @ Vernon: Vernon wins 2-0

The Vipers would get goals from Mike Collins and Rob Short as Andrew Hammond only has to make 19 saves in earning the shutout, as Vernon gets its first win over Trail this season. Vernon outshoots Trail 28-19.

January 3rd @ Vernon: Vernon wins 4-1

Vernon outshoots Trail 40-22 defeating the Smoke Eaters 4-1. Don’t let the score fool you, the Vipers had to earn tonights victory, having to work hard scoring two goals in the 3rd period to pull away with the win. Kevin Kraus led the way for Vernon with 3 assists. Braden Pimm chipped in with 2 assists. Goals from Mike Collins, Kellen Jones, Chris Crowell, & Rob Short. Steve Koshey scored the lone Trail goal. Graeme Gordon made 21 saves getting the win, while Marco Raimondo made 36 saves in the loss.

January 30th @ Trail: Vernon wins 4-1

The Vipers would score three goals in under two minutes during the 2nd period enroute to a 4-1 win. Goals from, Cole Ikkala, Braden Pimm, Kellen Jones & Ryan Santana. Andrew Hammond made 21 saves getting the victory. The lone Trail goal came from, Paul Mailey. Marco Raimondo allowed four goals on just 14 shots before being pulled in favour of Paul Barclay who finished the remainder of the game. Barclay made 15 saves between the pipes not allowing a goal.

February 6th @ Trail: Vernon wins 6-0

Mike Collins scored the game winner late in the 1st period in a 6-0 win over the Smoke Eaters. A very tight checking game with both teams getting some chances. Heading into the 3rd period this was anybodys game as Vernon was still up 1-0, the Vipers would score five goals in the final frame putting the game away. Cory Kane, Kellen Jones with two, Mike Collins & Cole Ikkala would round out Vernon’s scoring. Paul Barclay was chased from the Trail net after giving up four goals, “AP” Peter Alexander would take over giving up the final two Vernon goals. Graeme Gordon made 20 saves for the shutout. Tonights game was alot different then the score indicated.

February 13 @ Trail: Vernon wins 6-3

Before the game the 1939 Trail Smoke Eaters were hourned for it was 70 years ago today Trail won the world championship. The Vipers jumped out to 3-0 lead on goals from, Rob Short, Steven Weinstein (PP) & Cole Ikkala before the Smokies battled back tying the game on goals from, Brett Corcoran (PP) Sean Nugent, & Nick Sandor (PP) Specialty teams took over come the midway mark of the 3rd as Connor Jones & Cole Ikkala (2nd) scored on the powerplay for Vernon. Mike Collins added an empty netter to put the game away in a 6-3 Vipers victory. Graeme Gordon made 18 saves for the win, while Paul Barclay made 33 saves in the loss. Riley Loyst & JF Boisvert both collected two points. Kevin Kraus, Cameron Brodie, Cory Kane & Cole Ikkala collected two point nights for the Vipers.

Key Players To Watch:


Connor Jones 59 pts
Braden Pimm 54 pts
Kellen Jones 51 pts
Mike Collins 49 pts
Chris Crowell 42 pts
Cory Kane 41 pts
Sahir Gill 38 pts
Cameron Brodie 24 pts
Andrew Hammond 26-12-1 record-2.36 GAA
Graeme Gordon 14-6 record-2.92 GAA


Ryan Bulach 56 pts
JF Boisvert 45 pts
Brett Corcoran 42 pts
Paul Mailey 40 pts
Nick Sandor 39 pts
Travis St. Denis 37 pts
Marco Raimondo 12-14-1 record-3.47 GAA
Paul Barclay 12-16-1 record-3.28 GAA

Vipers Clinch Interior Pennant On Sour Note:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers clinch Interior pennant on sour note

It was hardly the way they envisioned it, but the Vernon Vipers have clinched the B.C. Hockey League’s Interior pennant for the first time since 2004-05.
The Snakes gave up a shorthanded goal at 18:17 of the third period as they bowed 4-3 to the Westside Warriors Friday night at Royal LePage Place.
However, the second-place Salmon Arm SilverBacks were shelled 6-0 by the host Penticton Vees Friday night. With one game remaining and trailing by three points, the Gorillas (40-16-1-2) are unable to catch Vernon (41-13-1-3). Both Vernon and Salmon Arm get a bye to the conference semifinals, with Vernon maintaining home-ice advantage.
The Snakes wrap up the regular season against the Trail Smoke Eaters (25-29-2-2) this afternoon (2 p.m.) at Wesbild Centre.
The line of twins Connor and Kellen Jones with Sahir Gill was once again the main threat for the Vipers, factoring in all their goals.
After Winfield product Trevor Bailey (20th goal) opened the scoring for Westside on the powerplay, Vipers’ d-man Adam Thompson (seventh) took a drop pass from Kellen on an odd-man rush, beating netminder Kevin Jebson with a slapper that rolled in off the keeper at 7:49
Kellen then made a great diving play to keep the puck in at the blueline to set up Gill’s 15th goal, a one-timer from the circle at 15:46.
“Two games in a row they’re our best line, and it was all down to their effort,” said Vipers’ head coach Mark. “We had some no-shows, and that’s the disappointing part. But good teams and good players bounce back from efforts like that, and I have a lot of faith in our guys.”
Michael Quinn, who scored the shorthanded winner, pulled Westside (36-18-1-4) even early in the second.
Gill (16th) gave Vernon their second lead at 14:19 of the second, but Westside’s Alex Grieve answered just over a minute later.
“I’m disappointed with the way we played at times,” said Ferner. “We gave the puck away way too many times. Three of their goals stemmed from giveaways, and they came from guys who have been around the league and they should know better.
“We forced too many pucks, and you can’t do that against any team in this league. You can’t try to make plays that aren’t there, and that’s when you turn pucks over.”
The Vipers could be without forward Rob Short for three games, including their first playoff game, after he earned a match penalty for hitting Brendan Ellis from behind. Ferner plans to appeal referee Colby Smith’s decision.
Jebson recorded 32 saves for his 26th win, while Graeme Gordon made 27 stops for Vernon, who visited the Vees (35-17-0-7) Saturday night in Penticton.

Penticton 5 Vernon 3

Was at tonights BCHL game as Penticton defeated Vernon 5-3 in front of 2,076 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

1st Period: Mike Collins just a minute into the game with a great back hand, was stopped by Jordan White in close whith a nice pad save on the first good scoring chance of the night. The Vipers jumped out to a quick start with some good jump showing lots of energy. Vernon looked very good in the early goings, with the better of the play, really taking it to the Vees. Braden Pimm with a great scoring chance was stopped by White. Ryan Santana carried the puck through a maze of players before cutting towards the front of the net, beat Jordan White in close but Brad Reid was in the crease making the big defensive save keeping the puck out of the net. The Vipers forecheck and strong play along the end wall was too much for Penticton as the Vipers outplayed the Vees in the first eight minutes before finally Max Grassi had the best scoring chance. Grassi in along the wing, cut towards the net and then snaped a shot before Andrew Hammond had to make a tough shoulder save stopping the BCHL veteran. Shortly after the Vees dumped the puck into the Vipers zone, Steven Weinstein slipped behind the net, Brad Reid got the puck out front where a scramble in front and Curtis McKenzie burried the puck past Hammond at 9:48 of the 1st. Assists went to, Brad Reid & Matt Paltridge. Just three minutes later Vernon would get into penalty trouble, with the Vees on a man advantage Cody Ikkala was given the gate and tossed from the game after a check from behind. This putting the Vipers down two men, with some good puck movement the Vees Garrett Milan scooped up the loose puck, feeding a nice pass out front, where Curtis McKenzie burried his 2nd goal of the night on the powerplay at 13:02. Assists going to, Garrett Milan. Still on the powerplay Zac Josepher with some slick wheels flew by everyone up the wing, putting a nice move around the Vernon d-man, cutting towards the net and then beating Hammond at 15:38 as Penticton jumped out to a quick 3-0. The goal was unassisted. Minutes later the Vipers would head back on the penalty kill but this time Vernon would kill off the minor. Just before the Vees first goal Vernon was outshooting Penticton 5-4 at the end of the period the Vipers would record just one shot in the final ten minutes of play. After a good start to the game, and getting some solid chances the Vipers couldnt capitalize and now were down 3-0 after 20 minutes of play. Penticton outshot Vernon 12-6.

2nd Period: Graeme Gordon started the 2nd period between the pipes for the Vipers as Andrew Hammond was given the hook after allowing three goals on 12 shots in the 1st period. The Vipers come out strong like the 1st period, showing lots of hustle and good forecheck down low, this resulting in the Vees taking back to back minors in the early going. With the Vipers on the powerplay, Steven Weinstein jumped up into the play, the pass come across the crease, but Weinstein was robbed by White who come across making a huge pad save. Vernon put all kinds of pressure on the powerplay but couldnt beat White. The Vees would kill off the first minor with Vernon on their second man advantage Connor Jones come down the wing, snapping a quick shot that just missed the far side, the puck went into the corner, back to the point, Jones stayed in front of the net, as the shot come from the point and Jones tipped the puck that just went wide of the empty net. As the Vipers moved the puck back around the point, Jones once again got his stick on a tip in front but Jordan White was square with the shooter making the big chest save, holding onto the rebound. The Vipers were getting all kinds of chances but couldnt beat White who played very strong tonight. The Vees would kill off the minor. Vernon owned the 2nd period outplaying the Vees, as the better of the play was in the Penticton zone. Sahir Gill was left alone in front, and had a wide open goal, before White somehow dove across the crease to rob Gill with the paddle of his goal stick. Vernon didnt quit their, Captain Chris Crowell & Braden Pimm went in two on one, Crowell made the pass over to Pimm who fired just high and wide missing on a great opportunity. The Vipers showed alot of character in the 2nd, battling hard, winning most of the races, really forechecking the Vees down low, some good cycle down low by Connor Jones, Kellen Jones and Sahir Gill who were buzzing in and around the Vees goal. Just before the midway mark Penticton finally had their best chance of the period, Logan Johnston snapped a quick shot low from the circle but Gordon kicked out the right leg making a big pad save. After Vernon carried the edge in play and couldnt find the back of the net, on some glorious chances the Vees would come back late in the period, Brodie Reid would fire the puck outfront from behind the Vipers net, Max Grassi was left all alone at the side of the net, where he quickly beat Gordon down low putting Penticton up 4-0 at 16:07. This was a heartbreaker for the Vipers after battling so hard and not getting rewarded, their now down 4-0 late in the period. Vernon didnt quit, with under a minute remaining James Kerr who played well showing lots of hustle, finally got the Vipers on the board at 19:29. The goal was unassisted. White and the Vees complained on the play as they thought Kerr may have kicked the puck into the goal. On the replay on the jumbo tron the puck went off Kerrs leg and into the net, as Kerr was driving to the front of the goal. The goal stood and Vernon was now on the board but down 4-1 after 40 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Penticton 15-3.

3rd Period: Once again Vernon come out strong, getting the play in deep and once again forechecking the Vees down low. The Vipers with some good cycle down low, really moved the puck well, getting some good chances in front. Connor Jones had an early chance after firing a shot from the corner, the puck went through the crease past White and coming out the other side. James Kerr had another good chance later on with a shot from the slot but Jordan White once again made a big save. Penticton would get an early powerplay but it was the Vipers penalty kill who did a solid job at killing off the minor. Vernon carried the edge in play outplaying the Vees for the second straight period but once again couldnt seem to get the bounces. Cory Kane with some good hustle caught a nice pass from Cole Ikkala, Kane beat White at 9:48 as Vernon cut the lead to 4-2. Ikkala and Bryce Kakoske picked up the assists. Connor Jones, Kellen Jones and Sahir Gill with some relentless forecheck, played another solid game for the second straight night. This line was getting knocked around, but held on to the puck, getting some good chances in close. Penticton couldnt generate much of an offensive attack, having all kinds of trouble with the Vipers forecheck. In the second half of the period the Vees were having to ice the puck on several occasions, just to clear the puck out from their own end. Just before the two minute mark, Graeme Gordon went to the bench for the extra attacker, but before Gordon could get to the bench, Curtis McKenzie got control of the puck, and took a long shot from just before centre, as the puck was heading towards the empty net, Gordon tried racing back, then throwing his stick wich the stick and puck both went into the empty net at 17:53. This was a killer for the Vipers, after all the pressure they poured on and couldnt buy a break, they give up a goal like this. The goal was unassisted. The Vipers didnt quit, they kept battling and just under a minute later after some hard work down low by the Jones Twins, Sahir Gill beat White down low as Vernon cut the lead to 5-3 at 18:49 Assists went to Connor & Kellen Jones. The Vipers would take a minor in the final minute of play, giving up any hopes of a comeback. Penticton would end up winning tonights game 5-3 in the teams final game of the regular season. Vernon would win the season series 6-2. Vernon outshot Penticton 8-3.

Top Players: (Vernon)

Once again the Vipers top line of Connor Jones (1 assist), Kellen Jones (1 assist) & Sahir Gill (1 goal) looked very dangerous down low. All three showed lots of energy and hustle, with some good cycle in the Vees zone. The Jones Twins took a beating down low but didnt quit battling hard, with that relentless forecheck.

James Kerr (1 goal) Played well, played with lots of jump, was skating well.

Cameron Brodie played a solid game on the Vipers backend. Played very well defensivly and physical. Nice to see Brodie rebound after a not so good game last night.

Steven Weinstein looked very good on the backend. Weinstein played well on the powerplay, getting involved in the play.

Adam Thompson played his second strong game on the Vernon blueline. I was very impressed with his play the last two games. Thompson played with lots of confidence, getting lots of icetime while on the PP.

Mike Collins played another solid game, battling hard down low. Had a few good scoring chances. Collins has really improved since the start of the season, battled hard tonight.

Top Players: (Penticton)

Curtis McKenzie (3 goals) killed the Vipers tonight. McKenzie was all over the ice, was very dangerous around the Vipers net.

Zac Josepher (1 goal & 1 assist) looked very good on the powerplay, scored a highlite real goal while on the man advantage.

Garrett Milan (1 assist) played very well, especially in the 1st period. Milan is smaller but hard to get off the puck. Very shifty player when with the puck.

Jordan White (26 saves) Played his best game vs Vernon this season. White was the difference as the Vipers outplayed and outhustled the Vees in the 2nd and 3rd periods but couldnt beat White, who made some big saves.

Matt Paltridge (1 assist) played a solid defensive game for the Vees. Another one who jumped up into the play.

Brad Reid (1 assist) I thought played a very defensive game, coming back into the zone, showed lots of hustle. Played well at both ends of the rink.

Game Thoughts: (Vernon)

A much better performance and effort tonight after last nights 4-3 loss in Westside. Vipers got off to a quick start, having the better of the play but couldnt beat White. After some great scoring chances playing some smart hockey, the Vipers couldnt capitalize on their chances, giving up the first goal and then getting into penalty trouble and allowing two powerplay goals, the team was now in a big whole down 3-0 and having to try and battle back on the road. Give the Vipers credit, down 3-0 they kept battling outplaying and dominating the Vees in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Vipers defence looked much better after last nights poor performance. Vipers did a great job at slowing down the Vees offence, not allowing them to get in close and did a great job at only giving up just 6 shots in the final two periods. Specialty teams was the difference along with not getting any of the bounces. The Vipers forecheck was unstopable down low, the guys worked hard and tried to battle back, but ran into a hot goaltender. These are games when you lose as long as they battled hard and had chances, you cant complain. Vernon has now dropped back to back games and lost out on winning the league as Victoria defeated Cowichan Valley tonight moving four pts up on the Vipers.

Game Thoughts: (Penticton)

Penticton took advantage of their chances and burried them. Scoring two powerplay goals and goals at key times, got them the victory tonight. The Vees seemed to be at the right place at the right time. Penticton was outworked and outplayed for most of tonights game, but give them credit for scoring more goals and coming away with the two pts. The Vees have a very good powerplay, so you cant be going down two men giving them a two man advantage, like tonight they will hurt you on the man advantage. Penticton seemed to get the bounces tonight, after getting outplayed and outworked for most of the period, they would come down and score on just one play or one shot after the Vipers had a flurry of chances. The Vees have now won three straight heading into the playoffs.



Kevin Kraus
Rob Short
Nick Amies


Matt Ridley
Denver Manderson (Injured)
Mitch LaBreche
Colton Jobke

3 Stars:

1st Star: Curtis McKenzie (3 goals)
2nd Star: Jordan White (26 saves)
3rd Star: Cameron Brodie

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vernon @ Penticton: (Game Preview)

Vernon (41-13-1-3) @ Penticton (35-17-0-7)

Tonight will be the 8th & final regular season meeting between these two hockey clubs as the Vipers hold the season series at 6-1. This is the second meeting between these two teams this week, as Vernon defeated Penticton 2-1 in Overtime Tuesday night in Vernon. The Vipers are coming off a 4-3 loss last night in Westside, but with the Silverbacks loss in Penticton, have clinched the Interior Division and are now 8-2-0 in there last 10 games. Vernon has won 10 out of there last 12 games. Penticton is coming off a 6-0 victory over Salmon Arm at home last night. Penticton has been playing its best hockey of the season over the last month or so, going 7-2-0-1 in there last 10 games. The Vees are tied for 3rd place with Westside. Make sure and check out Ryan Pinder’s Penticton Vees blog, for all the latest info and stats on the Vees and the BCHL. Pinder gives a good insight with game previews and interviews. You can listen to Todd Miller and tonights broadcast live on 107.5 Kiss FM starting with the pre-game at 6:45pm

Here's a look at the season series:

October 5th @ Vernon: Vernon wins 6-2

Tonight was the first meeting between these two teams since last years Game 7 Playoff Game. Penticton didn’t look very good as the Vipers handelled the Vees easily winning 6-2. Brent Vandenberg & Anthony Perdicaro each recorded two pts for Penticton in the loss. Bryce Kakoske with 3 pts, Braden Pimm & Adam Thompson each collected 2 pts each in the Vipers 6-2 win. Andrew Hammond picked up the win in goal.

November 22nd @ Penticton: Vernon wins 4-3 in Overtime

The Vipers made there first ever visit to the brand new South Okanagan Events Centre, coming home with a big 4-3 OT victory. Kellen Jones scored just 10 seconds into Overtime giving Vernon the win. This was a very entertaining hockey game. Ryan Viselli & Denver Manderson collected 2 pts each, as Jordan White looked very shaky taking the loss for the Vees in goal. Connor & Kellen Jones each picked up 2 pts, as Andrew Hammond played well getting the win between the pipes.

November 29th @ Penticton: Vernon wins 3-1

Curtis McKenzie scored the lone Vees goal in a 3-1 loss to Vernon. This was the second meeting between these two teams within a week. Cory Kane, Rob Short, & Captain Chris Crowell scored for Vernon, Andrew Hammond made 23 saves getting the win, looking very sharpe between the pipes.

December 5th @ Vernon: Vernon wins 5-4

Tonights game was the 3rd meeting within two weeks for these two teams as the rivalry goes on. Vernon was down 4-3 heading into the 3rd period but goals from John Digness and Rob Short helped the Vipers defeat the Vees 5-4. Brodie Reid, Zack Jojespher, Logan Johnston, & Garrett Milan scored for the Vees. Kevin Kraus, Sahir Gill, and Rob Short paced the Vipers with 2 pts each. Andrew Hammond picked up the win, Sean Bonar took the loss.

January 10th @ Penticton: Penticton wins 5-1

Vernon looked very good in the 1st period outshooting Penticton 15-0 but couldn’t solve veteran Joradn White to made some key saves. The Vees come out hard in the 2nd period, but it would be the Vipers who would open the scoring on a goal from Sahir Gill. The Vees would rally getting two goals from, Denver Manderson & Curtis McKenzie. The Vipers would get into penalty trouble come the 3rd as the Vees would score twice on the PP putting away Vernon 5-1. Brodie Reid with two and Ryan Viselli scored in the 3rd. Denver Manderson was by far the best player tonight picking up 1 goal & 3 assists in the victory. Andrew Hammond took the loss, while Jordan White picked up the win.

January 24th @ Vernon: Vernon wins 4-2

Ryan Viselli opens the scoring as the Vees get on the scoreboard first, but not before Sahir Gill ties things up 1-1 in the 1st period. Adam Zamec gives Penticton the 2-1 lead early into the 2nd period, before the Vipers rally with three straight goals to defeat the Vees 4-2. Chris Crowell, Connor Jones & Mike Collins with an empty netter rounded out Vernons scoring. Jordan White took the loss making 27 saves. Andrew Hammond gets the win, making 22 saves.

February 17th @ Vernon: Vernon wins 2-1 in Overtime

After a scoreless 1st period Ryan Johansen opened the scoring just 15 seconds into the 2nd period putting Penticton up 1-0. Mike Collins tied the game on the powerplay as both teams headed into the 3rd deadlocked at 1-1. No scoring in the final frame as both teams had some good chances. Rob Short would score the Overtime winner on a wrap around play, wich gave the Vipers there fourth straight win. Andrew Hammond played very well making 22 saves getting his 26th win of the season. Jordan White also played well, making 28 saves taking the loss.

Key Players To Watch:


Connor Jones 58 pts
Braden Pimm 54 pts
Kellen Jones 50 pts
Mike Collins 49 pts
Chris Crowell 42 pts
Cory Kane 40 pts
Cameron Brodie 24 pts
Andrew Hammond 26-12-1 record with a 2.30 GAA
Graeme Gordon 14-5 record-2.92 GAA


Curtis McKenzie 61 pts
Denver Manderson 57 pts (Injured)
Garrett Milan 56 pts
Travis Ouellette 53 pts
Ryan Viselli 52 pts
Max Grassi 51 pts
Zack Joespher 50 pts
Brodie Reid 37 pts
Devon Krogh 33 pts

Vipers Clinch Interior Division:

I’d like to thank and congratulate the Vernon Vipers on winning the Interior Division Pennant last night. Mark Ferner, & Jason Williamson have done an amazing job this season, in just Ferner’s 2nd season with Vernon. Even though the Vipers lost last night 4-3 in Westside, the Vipers still managed to clinch the Interior Division Pennant as the Penticton Vees defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 6-0. A win by Vernon or a loss by Salmon Arm and the Vipers would clinch top spot. This is Vernon’s first Interior Pennant since 2004-05. With the loss the Victoria Grizzlies moved two pts up on Vernon for top spots in the BCHL overall standings with a 4-1 victory over Nanaimo. Victoria has one game remaining with a visit to Cowichan Valley tonight, Vernon heads to the Peach City tonight with a game vs the Vees and then has a game in hand with the final home game of the season vs Trail tomorrow afternoon. Looks like were in for a great finish.

Short Given Match Penalty:

Vernon product Rob Short was tossed from last nights game in Westside late in the 3rd period after a check from behind on Warriors Brendan Ellis. With the Warriors leading 4-3 late in the game, the Vipers got the puck in deep as the clock was winding down, Ellis went into the end boards, as Short was in pursuit of the puck & Ellis, Ellis moved the puck behind the Warriors net, as Short checked Ellis from behind. Ellis laid on the ice as Captain Ron Kelly come flying in, going after Short. Some pushing and shoving started as Kelly and Short were tangled up in the corner before Kyle Bigos and a few other Warriors were now all involved. Short was given a 5 minute major for checking from behind and a match penalty (3 games) Did Short deserve the 5 minute major? Yes, You dont want to see any player get hit from behind or see another player check a player from behind. Did Short deserve a match penalty? It was a bad hit but it looked like most check from behinds this season, Ellis got up on his own strength and skated off, wich was great news. I will agree and say Short deserved the penalty but a match? I guess the league will look at the video and go from their. Rookie Kory Roy will now get his chance to suit up for the Vipers, playing the final two games of the regular season and then get his first taste of the Playoffs in Game 1 of the second round. Roy has 2 goals & 2 assists in just 14 games with the Vipers this season. Short plays a key role with the Vipers and will be missed. Short plays hard with lots of intensity, physical play and gives it his all every shift. Short plays an aggressive game but in no way is a dirty player or intended to hurt or injure Brendan Ellis. Lets hope Brendan Ellis is fine and can play tonight.

Westside 4 Vernon 3

Was at tonights BCHL game as Westside defeated Vernon 4-3 in front of 1,253 fans at Royal Le Page Place.

1st Period: The Vipers won the opening faceoff, the puck come back to Kyle Bigos, who then wired a shot right at Mark Howell & the Warriors bench, Captain Ron Kelly went right after Bigos, as Captain Chris Crowell tried getting involed with Kelly. Both teams started yapping back and forth with some pushing & shoving. On the next faceoff Kelly started jabbing at Crowell who tried getting Kelly to drop his gloves, Kelly was yapping at Crowell but didnt drop his gloves. Garrett Watson then started yapping with a few Vipers, and then tried dropping the gloves with Bigos as things started to heat up between these two Okanagan rivals. A bit of a slow start as both teams played a little tenative with some scrambly play. No real flow with a few stopages in play within the first four minutes before the Warriors went on the first powerplay of the game. Some good puck movement by Westside, Vince Mihalek & Cory Pritz passed the puck back and forth before setting up a nice pass through the slot to super pest Trevor Bailey who beat Graeme Gordon upstairs at 5:06 on the powerplay. Assists going to, Mihalek & Pritz. Just over two minutes later Connor Jones & Kellen Jones with the cycle down low, Kellen Jones dropped the puck back to Adam Thompson who wired his shot from the circle, the puck beat Kevin Jebson and laid in the crease, Jebson went down with a scramble in the crease as the puck somehow crossed the goal line with a mad scramble in front as the Vipers tied the game at 7:49. Adam Thompson was credited with the goal, assists going to, Connor & Kellen Jones. Jebson would like to have this one back. Westside would get two more powerplays in the period but couldnt capitalize as Vernons penalty kill played well. Both teams went back and forth with a few scoring chances. The Warriors seemed to have the better of the jump as the Vipers got off to a bit of a slow start. Shortly after a Vernon powerplay, Kellen Jones with some good hustle at the blueline made an unreal diving play to keep the puck in at the line, Connor Jones picked up the loose puck before setting up Sahir Gill at the side of the net who wired one upstairs over Jebson at 15:46 putting Vernon up 2-1. Assists going to, Kellen and Connor Jones. As the period went on Vernon seemed to pick up there play, with some good forecheck deep in the Warriors zone. Sahir Gill was stopped in front on a good scoring chance, as Kevin Jebson looked a little shaky in the opening period. In the dying seconds the Vipers showed some good hustle, really forcing the play down low, and with just seconds remaining Rob Short had a great chance in front but was stopped by Jebson who made a big save just before the buzzer. Vernon was up 2-1 after 20 minutes of play, the Warriors outshot the Vipers 10-9.

2nd Period: Just 49 seconds into the 2nd Cameron Brodie coughed up the puck just inside the Vernon blueline, and then made a soft attempt at checking Michael Quinn who then stepped over the circle and ripped a high shot over Gordons blocker tying the game 2-2. Garrett Watson with the lone assist on the goal. The Warriors got off to a good start really moving the puck well, getting some good chances. Vernon couldnt seem to generate much of an offensive attack, after Jebson looked shaky in the opening period the Vipers were firing shots on Jebson from almost everywhere, but getting no solid scoring plays. Westside carried the edge in play for most of the middle frame. Vernon did get a few powerplays but struggled with the man advantage giving up two scoring chances. Alex Grieve went in two on one with Craig Eisenhut, Grieve fed Eisenhut with a pass through the slot, as the puck bounced over his stick. On the same powerplay Trevor Bailey stole the puck going in all alone before Kevin Kraus hustled back, diving breaking up the breakaway. The Warriors would kill off both minors. Vernon gave up way too many odd man rushes in the period as the Warriors were all over the Vipers. Kyle Singleton was stopped by Gordon at the side of the net on a good scoring play. Give credit to the Warriors defence, clogging up the neutral zone, not giving the Vipers much room to move. Vernon finally got the play in deep late in the period, with some good cycle down low, the line of Sahir Gill, Connor Jones & Kellen Jones went to work. This line was by far the Vipers best line, Connor & Kellen Jones were unstopable down low, creating all kinds of havoc, Kellen Jones fed Sahir Gill down low, Gill fired a shot from the corner wich somehow went in past Jebson putting Vernon ahead 3-2 at 14:19 assists going to Connor & Kellen Jones. On the next rush and just over a minute later Westside battled back, getting the play in deep. Cody Ikkala was being forced along the wall, Ikkala with too hard of a pass caused a turnover inside the blueline, as Alex Grieve picked up the puck, moving and roofing a shot over Gordons glove at 15:29 tying the game 3-3. This was the Vipers second blowen lead of the game as both teams were tied 3-3 after 40 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Westside 18-11. Alot of the Vipers shots were shots from the perimiter with no traffic in front.

3rd Period: The Warriors with a good chance to take the lead jumped on an early powerplay but couldnt find the back of the net. Garrett Watson with a shot from the circle was stopped by Gordon. Both teams battled hard with some good action at both ends of the rink in the first half. Sahir Gill had a great chance out front to get the hat trick but couldnt beat Jebson in close. Trevor Bailey at the other end had a good chance at the side of the net but couldnt beat Gordon. Rob Short & Mike Collins played very well especially in the 3rd showing lots of hustle all night. Short also played very well on the penalty kill. Just before the midway mark the Warriors would get into penalty trouble going down two men, this was an excellent opportunity with Vernon on a two man advantage. With some good puck movement down low, the Vipers had some great chances while on the powerplay, Mike Collins was stopped twice at the side of the net. Kevin Jebson looked very confident making some key saves on the penalty kill. Vernon couldnt capitalize as the Warriors killed off both minors. This seemed to give Westside the momentum as shortly after the Warriors would get the man advantage. This time it was Chris Crowell who stole the puck at the blueline, going in on the parcial breakaway, but Justin Schultz with some good hustle, got back into the play, breaking up the play. The Warriors re-grouped and moved the puck well, getting traffic in front of Gordon come up with three solid scoring chances. Vernon would kill off the minor in a very entertaining period coming at both ends of the rink. Late in the period the Vipers would get a great chance, going on another powerplay. Vernon couldnt seem to generate much offence on this man advantage, coming out of there own end, Kevin Kraus coughed up the puck inside the line, Michael Quinn scooped up the loose puck, going around Kraus and then sliding the puck past a sprawling Gordon shorthanded as the Warriors went ahead 4-3 at 18:17 the goal was unassisted. Royal Le Page Place erupted with the most noise I have ever heard at a Warriors-Vipers game. With Vernon still on the powerplay the Warriors really forced the play, hemming the Vipers back in their own end, as Vernon was having all kinds of trouble breaking out of their own end, trying to get Gordon to the bench for the extra attacker. Give Westside credit as the Warriors forecheck was unstopable clogging up the neutral zone. As the minor expired the Vipers would finally get the play in the Warriors zone, the puck went to Brendan Ellis with just seconds remaining, as Ellis dumped the puck inbehind the goal, Rob Short come flying in, checking Ellis from behind with just 4.2 seconds left. Captain Ron Kelly rushed into the play, taking a crosscheck at Short, Kyle Bigos then come flying in going after Kelly as both teams started pushing and shoving while Ellis laid lying on the ice. Short was tossed from the game with five minutes for checking from behind and a match penalty. As Short was skating off the ice, the Warriors bench erupted yelling and screaming at the Viper veteran, Short started yapping back. One of the Warriors assistant coaches was yelling and screaming at Short before Mark Howell had to hold him back and settle him down. Ellis got up on his own and skated off the ice, wich was very good news. On the final faceoff Kyle Bigos was trying to line up with Joel Woznikoski, trying to drop the gloves, but both linesmen and the ref got between everyone as the buzzer sounded. Westside snapped Vernons four game winning streak as the Warriors jumped onto the ice in a big celebration. Vernon wins the season series 5-3. The Warriors outshot the Vipers 10-8.

Top Players: (Vernon)

The line of Sahir Gill, Kellen and Connor Jones was by far Vernons best line. Sahir Gill (2 goals) looked very strong in and around the goal, Gill had some great chances to record his first career BCHL hat trick. Connor Jones (3 assists) Was very dangerous down low, was knocked around several times, but kept battling coming out with the puck each and every time. Kellen Jones (3 assists) was also very dangerous with the puck. Kellen made an unreal diving play in the 1st period to keep the play alive, keeping the puck inside the line to assist and setup the Vipers 2nd goal. Kellen played with lots of energy and showed a ton of hustle all night.

Other then coughing up the puck on the Warriors game winning shorthanded goal, Kevin Kraus played very well on the Vipers backend. Kraus made a huge defensive play, breaking up Trevor Baileys shorthanded breakaway.

Mike Collins looked very good up front. Collins played an excellent 3rd period, coming up with two solid chances while on the Vipers two man advantage.

Rob Short played his second straight good game. Other then the bad check from behind late in the final few seconds, Short was flying all game. Showed lots of hustle, looked very good on the penalty kill. Was skating hard, had some good chances through out tonights game.

Adam Thompson looked good defensivly in the first two periods. I thought played very well in the 1st period, making a few nice defensive plays, and also jumped up into the rush on a few plays. Looked very confident for most of the game.

Top Players: (Westside)

Justin Schultz looked very good on the Warriors blueline. Shultz showed good hustle getting back into the play in the 3rd breaking up Chris Crowells shorthanded breakaway.

Michael Quinn (2 goals) had a heck of a game tonight. Scored two real nice goals, not bad for a d-man. A very nice skater, with some real nice hands.

Craig Eisenhut played well up front. Had a great chance shorthanded on a two on one with Alex Grieve but couldnt connect on Grieves pass that hopped over his stick at the last minute.

Kyle Singleton looked good for most of the night. Seemed to always be involved in the play.

Ron Kelly was tonights super pest. The Warriors Captain was beaking with many Vipers all night. Kelly was getting under the skin of Chris Crowell and Kyle Bigos.

Garrett Watson (1 assist) played physical, had a few scoring chances, was in and around Vernons net most of the night.

Trevor Bailey (1 goal) played a pretty clean game, on most nights, Bailey is the teams super pest trying to get under anyones skin. This kid is always yapping at the visitors, giving little wacks after the whistles etc but tonight stuck to hockey and looked good. Had a few nice scoring chances. Showed lots of hustle all game. A very quick smaller player who is hard to get off the puck.

Kevin Jebson looked shaky in the 1st period but seemed to settle down as the game went on. Jebson seemed to have troubles with his rebounds and shots from the perimiter but was very good down low with traffice in front.

Game Thoughts: (Vernon)

The Vipers need to have more then one line going if they expect to beat a good team in Westside as well as go far in the Playoffs. The Gill-Jones line was by far the Vipers best line but seemed to be really the only one line that come to play tonight. You think after lossing 4-1 just two weeks ago to the Warriors Vernon would be fired up and ready to go tonight. The Vipers played spirts in the 1st period and was outplayed for the most parts of the 2nd period. I thought the team looked good in the 3rd showing more consistancy but couldnt capitalize on a two man advantage. Had troubles breaking out of their own end for most of the night, alot of bad-poor first passes coming out from their own end. Gave up way too many odd man rushes, Westside had some great shorthanded chances scoring the game winner while shorthanded. Vernon needs to tighten up defensively come playoff time. The Vipers need to step up the physical play vs a team like Westside, match their intensity and physical presence. Mark Ferner and the coaching staff wont be happy blowing two leads and coughing up the puck on three out of the four Westside goals. Very uncharacteristic of the Vipers defence. With Salmon Arm lossing 6-0 in Penticton the Vipers have clinched first place in the Interior Division for the first time since 2004-05.

Game Thoughts: (Westside)

I wouldnt want to face the Warriors come playoff time. Westside has looked very impressive against the Vipers in the last two meetings and has been playing its best hockey of the year over the last two months. Westside once again come to play vs Vernon tonight, having some good jump, playing with fire in their eyes. The Warriors were the better team tonight, having the edge in play. This team looked very hungry for the win, going after 3rd spot in the Interior. Westside showed good hustle winning alot of the races and battles down low. Give the Warriors credit for not giving up, battling back twice coming back down twice and then scoring shorthanded late in the game to get the win. Westside plays with that in your face style of play, a very hard working and well coached team, once again was trying to get under the skin of many Vipers. After Brodies giveaway on the Warriors 2nd goal the Warriors were yapping at Brodie every time he was heading off to the bench, trying to get under his skin. Vernon was in full control of the season series early in the year, but the Warriors have now won the last two meetings. With the Rockets out of town, you think the Warriors would have got a bigger crowd for such a big game.



Kory Roy
Steven Weinstein
Nick Aimes


Tyler Miller
Jordan Gidaro
Grayson Downing

3 Stars:

1st Star: Michael Quinn (2 goals)
2nd Star: Kellen Jones (3 assists)
3rd Star: Kevin Jebson (32 saves)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Vernon @ Westside: (Game Preview)

Vernon (41-12-1-3) @ Westside (35-18-1-4)

Tonight will be the 8th & final regular season meeting between these two hockey clubs as the Vipers hold the season series at 5-2. The Vipers are 9-1-0-0 in there last 10 games and coming off a 2-1 Overtime victory Tuesday night at home VS Penticton, winning there 4th straight hockey game and 11 out of there last 12. The Warriors are 8-2-0-0 in there last 10 games and are coming off a 4-1 win over Trail Tuesday night at home. This will be the second meeting between these two teams within the last two weeks. Two weeks ago Westside defeated Vernon 4-1 at home. With the Warriors up 4-1 and on a two man advantage, Mark Howell calls a time out after having his top powerplay unit on the ice, resting his troops and then putting them back out there to finish off the powerplay. This didn’t sit too well with Mark Ferner and the Vernon Vipers, as this was the talk around the league for the next few days. The Vipers start a mini two game road trip this weekend with games in Westside tonight and then Saturday night in Penticton. The Warriors finish this weekend and the regular season with home games VS Vernon & Salmon Arm. Westside is still fighting for 3rd spot in the Interior Division, tied with 75 pts with the Penticton Vees. You can listen to Todd Miller and tonights broadcast live on 107.5 Kiss FM starting with the pre-game at 6:45pm

Heres a look at the season series:

September 12th @ Westside: Vernon wins 4-2

Cory Kane & Captain Chris Crowell lead the Vipers victory with two pts each. Andrew Hammond makes 31 saves for the win. This was Vernons 2nd win ever in Westside.September 19th @ Vernon: Vernon wins 3-1Kevin Jebson looked shaky between the pipes, allowing three goals in the loss. Mike Collins, Cory Kane (2 pts) and Adam Thompson lead the Vipers scoring.

October 10th @ Vernon: Vernon wins 2-1

The Warriors would score first with a goal from Michael Quinn but the Vipers would score in the 3rd with a goal from Ryan Santana on the powerplay to give Vernon the 2-1 win. Andrew Hammond makes 25 saves for the win, while Kevin Jebson made 28 saves in the loss.

October 24th @ Vernon: Westside wins 5-2

The Vipers didn’t look good all night in a disappointing 5-2 loss. Garrett Watson lead the way with three pts, Justin Schultz & Ron Kelly collected two pts each in the victory. Kevin Jebson made 26 saves for the win.

November 15th @ Westside: Vernon wins 4-1

Mike Collins, Braden Pimm & Chris Crowell all lead the Vipers with two pts each, while Graeme Gordon makes 33 saves in the win, losing his shutout bid in the 3rd period with a goal from Jordan Gagne.

January 2nd @ Vernon: Vernon wins 5-1

Connor Jones, Cory Kane, Cole Ikkala, Sahir Gill & Chris Crowell would hit the scoreboard in a Vipers 5-1 win over the Warriors. Westside;s loan goal would come from, Justin Schultz. Vernon outshot Westside 38-24. Former Burnaby Express goaltender Kevin Jebson took the loss, while former Surrey Eagle & Westside Warrior goaltender, Andrew Hammond took the win between the pipes for the Vipers.

Saturday February 7th @ Westside: Westside wins 4-1

Grayson Downing opened the scoring for the Warriors just 2:14 into the game but Kyle Bigos would reply just three minutes later to tie the game on the powerplay. This would be all the scoring from the Vipers as Westside would score the next three goals skating away with the 4-1 win. Vernon played the night before in Trail, with the team already down with the flu, getting home at 4:30am and then having to jump back on the bus for the trip up the highway to Westside, didn’t make it any easier on the hockey club. It showed on the ice as the Vipers looked tired and out hustled for most of the night. Chad Gehon on the powerplay, and Quinn Gould rounded out the scoring in the 2nd period before Jordan Gagne put the game away on another powerplay goal early into the 3rd period. The Vipers played most of the final two periods shorthanded. Late in the game things got interesting as Mark Howell called a time out while the Warriors were on a two man advantage. With the teams top powerplay unit on the ice, the Warriors rested there top unit sending them back out to finish off the two man advantage. This didn’t sit well with Mark Ferner and the Vipers as comments were said after tonights game, as well as talk around the league coming from other teams & fans. Andrew Hammond took the loss, making 31 saves. Kevin Jebson made 29 saves picking up the win.

Key Players To Watch:


Connor Jones 55 pts
Braden Pimm 54 pts
Mike Collins 49 pts
Kellen Jones 47 pts
Chris Crowell 42 pts
Cory Kane 40 pts
Cameron Brodie 24 pts
Andrew Hammond 26 wins- 2.30 GAA- 4 shutouts
Graeme Gordon 14-4 record- 2 shutouts


Chad Gehon 59 pts
Trevor Bailey 58 pts
Jordan Gagne 54 pts
Justin Schultz 48 pts
Cory Pritz 46 pts
Ron Kelly 44 pts
Garrett Watson 43 pts
Cam Reid 39 pts
Kevin Jebson 25-17 record- 2.67 GAA

Short Wraps Vipers’ Win:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Short wraps Vipers’ win

Vipers' netminder Andrew Hammond (above) catches Vees’ forward Ryan Viselli off-guard with a well-timed poke check to deny him a scoring chance in BCHL action Tuesday night at Wesbild Centre.

His captain told him to go out and get the job done and win the game, and he listened.
Deadlocked at 1-1 with overtime looming, Vernon Vipers’ captain Chris Crowell was getting anxious for someone to score and cushion their first-place lead by three points over the Salmon Arm SilverBacks.
During a stoppage in play just two minutes into overtime, Crowell approached Robbie Short on the bench, and told him to get on the ice and score the winning goal, which Short promptly did, giving the Snakes a 2-1 B.C. Hockey League win Tuesday night at Wesbild Centre.
Short’s 16th of the year brought the 2,007 fans to their feet, cheering the most they had for the better part of the game, a slow-moving tilt from both sides.
Short’s goal came on a gorgeous play where he received a nice pass from Cory Kane. He then drove the puck up the wing, beat the defender, and made a wraparound move that caught Vees’ starting goaltender Jordan White off-guard, and shot the puck into the wide open net.
“Crow (Crowell) told me the shift before my goal to go out there and score the goal for him,” said Short. “It’s definitely nice to now be only two more points away from clinching first place in our division. From every game now down the stretch until the beginning of the playoffs we’re trying to get the playoff mode into our heads.
“Our game-plan for the rest of the season is to have a strong defence and not allow the other team’s forwards to get any easy breaks past us, and in turn, our forwards will do everything they can to outsmart their defencemen. Penticton has a good defensive core and a small gritty forward crew who grind the puck out.”
Vernon’s assistant coach Jason Williamson had lots of praise for the 19-year-old Vernon native.
“Robbie has got to be one of the fastest skaters in this league for sure. He’s got great wheels and he plays a tireless game night in and night out and always gives it his all. We’re very lucky to have him on our team.”
The Vipers (41-12-1-3) battle the Vees again Saturday night in Penticton, 24 hours after visiting the third-place Westside Warriors. Vernon closes the regular season with a Sunday matinee versus the sixth-place Trail Smoke Eaters.
Salmon Arm has weekend road games against Westside and Penticton so the Vipers can clinch the Interior pennant with a win Friday in Westside.
The Victoria Grizzlies are tied with the Vipers for the overall lead, and have two games remaining (home to Nanaimo Clippers and away at Cowichan Valley Capitals).
Tuesday’s game had a playoff-like atmosphere with only three penalties being dished out. Despite missing a couple calls on both sides, referee Kris Hartley let the boys play. Vernon outshot the Vees 30-23.
On the season series with the Vees thus far, Viper leading scorer Braden Pimm said: “We’ve definitely got their number this year, which is nice since they beat us in the playoffs last year, and this year we want to return the favour. With our playoff exit last year thanks to the Vees, it lit a fire within us and warmed us up to beat them all we could this year, and if we meet in the playoffs again.”
After being stoned by goalie Andrew Hammond on a first-period powerplay, the Vees opened the scoring just 15 seconds into the second, right off the faceoff.
Ryan Viselli, who was the victim of the Kellen Jones’ first-period penalty, as he was hit into the boards, returned for the second stanza after leaving the ice from the hit. He fed the puck to Ryan Johansen, who then went five-hole on Hammond.
The Snakes finally got on the board at the midway point of the second frame. On their first and only powerplay opportunity of the night, Crowell fed the puck to Mike Collins (24th), who then cut towards centre ice and roofed the puck past White.
On the game in general, Williamson said: “We didn’t have the start we wanted, as we kind of just sat back and waited to get our game going. We finally got our bearings by the end of the second period, where we figured out the simple things that win the game, by getting the puck deep in their zone, and ultimately turning the game over. Penticton didn’t create much offence, but when they did, Hammond was solid for us in net.
“Our d-men did a good job of clearing the pucks out when they needed to. We’ve had their number for the most part of this season, and we might face them in the playoffs again for a third straight year. But playoffs are a whole different story as the games can go either way.
“We will just have to work hard at outworking, outplaying, and out-coaching whoever it is we face in the playoffs.”
Added Penticton assistant coach David Small: “Vernon is a very good team. They came out ready to go and played a hard 60 minutes. They deserved the two points. The game did feel like a pre-playoff match with the tight defensive play and not many penalties being called. Down the stretch, special teams make a difference. Fans pay to come to these games and they don’t want to see the star player sitting in the penalty box in the most crucial part of the game, and getting his team scored on, and the team itself most certainly doesn’t want to see that either.”