Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Vipers Look To Final 10
Vipers look to final 10
Feb 3, 2016
Morning Star Staff
Putting that 6-1 loss to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Saturday night on the shelf, the Vernon Vipers have been a team on the rise in the B.C. Hockey League.
The Vipers are 5-2 in their last seven games and face the 11-win Prince George Spruce Kings tonight at the Coliseum with forward Christian Cakebread returning from injured reserve.
“We’re disappointed with the effort in Salmon Arm, but they’re a good hockey team and I don’t think they had won in seven or eight games,” said Viper head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “We’ve done some good things in our last seven games. Our powerplay went 8-for-31 and we gave up one goal on 19 penalty kills.”
The coaching staff has asked the Vipers to find a higher level for the remaining 10 regular-season games. After playing Prince George, Vernon gets a five-day break before visiting the last-place Merritt Centennials Tuesday night at Nicola Valley Arena.
“We gotta worry about how we play and not who we play,” said Ferner. They’re (Spruce Kings) gonna come out hard and I respect that. We have to focus on our job.”
The Vipers left injured forwards Hunter Zandee and Riley Brandt and goalie Brendan Barry at home. The Vipers, at press time Tuesday afternoon, had not found a back-up for Andrew Shortridge.
Ross Heidt pulled the hat trick as the Silverbacks won in front of a raucus crowd of 1,688 fans at the Shaw Centre on Hockey Day in Salmon Arm. The Vipers clipped the Silverbacks 3-2 Friday night at Kal Tire Place.
“Despite the result on Friday night, I think the boys response on Saturday was great,” said Silverbacks head coach Brandon West. “Our depth was really hard to handle and we wore them down.
“We took our chances well, we made the most of the opportunities we had, as opposed to Friday where we missed three empty nets and ran into a goalie (Shortridge) who played very well.”
Nick Hutchison, d-man Kodi Schwarz and Jared Turcotte also scored for the Gorillas, who outshot the Snakes 40-29. Colton McCarthy rang up his 18th goal of the season for Vernon.
The Vipers hold down the fourth and final playoff spot in the Interior Division, five points ahead of the Trail Smoke Eaters, who lost 4-3 to Penticton.