Friday, December 19, 2008

Vipers Seek No. 1 Tag:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers seek No. 1 tag

By Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star Published:

December 18, 2008 6:00 PM

There are 141 teams chasing the Salmon Arm SilverBacks for the No. 1 ranking in the Canadian Junior A Hockey League.
The Vernon Vipers, who come in at No. 8, are just three points back of the SilverBacks, and can make a move with four games versus Salmon Arm in the next 10 days. Game 1 goes tonight at Wesbild Centre.
The Vipers-Gorillas rivalry basically started when Salmon Arm’s Joey D’Amico inexplicably won the ceremonial first face-off when Vernon opened its brand new Multiplex in 2001 against the expansion SilverBacks.
Since then, there have been bananas, streakers and fireworks involved in one of the best rivalries in the B.C. Hockey League.
Asked if the SilverBacks deserved to be in the national penthouse, Viper winger Bryce Kakoske said: “We’ll see what we have to say about it (the rankings) after this weekend.”
Kakoske, traded to the Vipers from the Westside Warriors two months ago, noticed the rise in arena temperature when Vernon plays Salmon Arm.
“It’s a completely different atmosphere,” said Kakoske, who will skate on a new line with Rob Short and Sahir Gill tonight. “The rivalry’s a lot bigger (than Westside-SilverBacks) and we’re all really excited about these two games. You really can’t afford to lose too many games after Christmas, and these games are just the start to the more serious part of the season.”
Both Kakoske and veteran defenceman Kevin Kraus said the Vipers will be aware of which SilverBacks are on the ice, and when.
Salmon Arm is led by New York product Mark Zengerle (22-38-60), Ontario’s Conor Morrison (29-28-57) and Albertan Keenan Desmet (18-31-49). Former Vancouver Canuck Doug Lidster’s son, Colin, leads a big and nasty Gorilla backline.
“Everybody gets a little more pumped up for Salmon Arm,” said Kraus, who flies home to California Sunday with four teammates. “We’re pretty much battling for first place, and it would be nice to go home in first place.”
Kraus said the Vipers held some good feisty one-on-one battle drills in practice so will be ready to play a physical contest tonight.
Salmon Arm has won 10 straight games, while the Vipers are 9-1 in their last 10. The same two teams meet Saturday night at the Sunwave Centre.
They resume the rivalry Monday, Dec. 29 in Vernon, followed by a game in Salmon Arm the next night. The Vipers play the Swedish Under 17s Sunday, Jan. 4.

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