Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Vees Take 2-0 Series Lead Into Vernon With Tight Win:
Vees take 2-0 series lead into Vernon with tight win
by Emanuel Sequeira - Penticton Western News
March 9, 2016
Vernon Vipers coach Mark Ferner is fired up, and it’s not because his team is now trailing its BCHL Interior Division series 2-0 against the Penticton Vees.
Not long after Vees defenceman Dante Fabbro sacrificed his body to block a hard slap shot and secure a 3-2 win at the South Okanagan Events Centre Sunday, Ferner learned that Vees coach Fred Harbinson made unacceptable comments to his player Odeen Tufto. In their dressing room, Ferner asked Tufto what happened.
"He has no reason to lie to me. He told me exactly what was said," said Ferner. "I talked to the chief of officiating after and apparently it was going to get written up in the report.
“I’ve never chirped another player because I’m not in the battle,” said Ferner continued. “When Fred puts up two fingers, to Peter Tufto and says (expletive) you, only two more games left in your series, that’s unacceptable. There’s no room for that. Especially from a guy that’s never played the game.”
Ferner, who plans to leave the situation with the BCHL, added that the Vees’ trainer was also involved. While heading towards their exit to get off the ice, a few of the Viper players, including Mac Ferner, were heated and exchanged words towards the Vees bench, which primarily had a trainer and an assistant coach.
"I was off the bench right after the horn went," said Harbinson. "Maybe he was talking about Nick (Fuher, assistant coach). Mark wants to focus on the wrong things, let him focus on the wrong things."
When asked about the situation, Vees forward Nicholas Jones said he didn’t see what happened, but said emotions were high.
When it came to the action on the ice, the Vees didn’t need much time to strike first. The home side drew a penalty when Riley Brandt took a charging penalty for crunching Dixon Bowen behind the Vees goal. Just over a minute into the power play, Scott Conway cashed in on a loose puck after Vipers goalie Andrew Shortridge made a save. With no Viper in sight to clear the puck, Conway deposited his third of the playoffs into the gaping cage. Then with less than eight minutes remaining in the period, Conway was credited with his second of the night when a shot from Jones from the point was redirected, though it appeared that it was Tyson Jost who scored. Jost was given an assist on the play.
The Vipers cut into that lead when Brett Stapley found Hunter Zandee by himself in the slot. Zandee one-timed the shot past Zach Driscoll and the Vees headed into the dressing room leading 2-1.
Only one goal was scored in the second and that was by Jones. Jones was able to lift a backhand in the low slot area past Shortridge’s blocker side with a couple of Vipers piled on him.
“It was a good forecheck by Mitch Brooks there,” said Jones. “The puck popped out and I was able to get a quick shot off.”
In the final period, during four-on-four action, Tufto was able to free himself from a Vees defender at the side of the net to swat a puck past Driscoll, who wasn’t in position to make the save at 8:17.
“I thought our compete level got better. We’ve asked our kids to play with some more passion, some more urgency,” said Ferner. “Later in the game I thought we did do that. We had some real good looks, they didn’t go in.”
With the goalie pulled for the extra attacker in the final minute, the Vees withstood the Vipers pressure. The Vees covered lanes and received a couple of key blocked shots from Jones and Fabbro.
"I thought we did a good job of keeping them to the outside," said Harbinson. "We did a good job of blocking shots. We played desperate around the net, which you have to. We kept them under 10 shots every period. If we continue to do that, it's going to make it real tough for them to get wins."
Jones said getting the win was huge.
“We knew they were going to be desperate tonight,” said Jones. “They came out and gave us all we had in the third period. They really came out firing. It was a great team win.”
While the Vees struck twice on four power plays, their penalty kill was on its game, going three-for-three. Shortridge finished with 36 saves, while Driscoll turned aside 22.
Attendance was 1,883.
The series now switches over to Vernon for Game 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday.