Saturday, March 31, 2018

Vipers Alumni Goaltender Hammond Sustains Head Injury:

Former Vernon Vipers goaltender Andrew Hammond sustained a head injury in a February 26th win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Hammond has played the past five seasons with the Ottawa Senators/American Hockey League Binghamton Senators before being traded to the Colorado Avalanche November 5th 2017. Hammond has spent this season in the American Hockey League with the Belleville Senators & Colorado Avalanche.

After four seasons with Bowling Green University, Hammond signed his first pro contract with the Ottawa Senators on March 20th 2013. Hammond attended the Chicago Blackhawks 2012 development camp and Ottawa Senators 2013 development camp.

Hammond made his NHL debut  February 27th 2014 vs the Detroit Red Wings. Hammond was called up that night from the American Hockey League as the backup for Senators starting goaltender Robin Lehner. Hammond would replace Lehner late in the 2nd period who was pulled after giving up six goals on fifteen Detroit shots. Hammond would finish the game playing just over thirty four minutes stopping all eleven Red Wing shots in a 6-1 loss to Detroit. Hammond made his first career NHL start February 18th 2015 vs the Montreal Canadians, recorded 42 saves in a 4-2 win over the Habs for his first career NHL victory. 

Hammond played parts of two years in Vernon (2007-2009) after coming over in a trade with the Surrey Eagles during the 2007-08 season. In 52 regular season games with the Vipers Hammond posted a (33-15-1) record recording 6 shutouts.

Andrew Hammond's Player Profile:

This was posted on

Avalanche's Andrew Hammond: Dealing with head injury

by RotoWire Staff

Feb 28, 2018 

Hammond sustained a head injury in Monday's win over Vancouver, Mike Chambers of The Denver Post reports.

According to the report, Hammond was injured when a stray stick hit him while he was sitting on the bench. The former Senator hasn't featured in an NHL game since 2016-17 and in 18 AHL games this campaign, he's 8-6-2 with a 3.34 GAA and .900 save percentage. Colorado will provide additional information on Hammond's recovery when it becomes available, though it remains to be seen how the organization intends to deploy him when he returns to health.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Brandt Big For Paladins:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Brandt big for Paladins

Kevin Mitchell

Mar. 30, 2018

Local Sports

Riley Brandt made a difference in a hurry with the Royal Military College Paladins in Kingston, Ont. this college hockey season.

Brandt, who captained the Vernon Vipers to the B.C. Hockey League Interior Division final last year, was the first rookie to win the Tommy Smart Cup as the RMC Male Athlete of the Year since legendary basketball player Kevin Dulude, who was on hand to present the award 17 years after earning the title during his first year at RMC in 2000-2001.

“It was quite an honour,” said Brandt. “We just about made the playoffs. It was a good year, but we’re going to be good next year. I think we only lose three guys.”

Brandt, a 21-year-old Trail product, joined the Paladins this season through the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year (ALOY) program, and immediately made an impact on the ice. Tying an RMC record, Brandt led the nation in scoring this season with 21 goals, and tacked on 12 assists.

Brandt, who played right wing alongside former BCHLer Rhett Wilcox of Surrey (4-14-18) and Deric Boudreau of Seeley’s Bay, Ont. (3-8-11), is in the basic arts program.

“I have the option to leave, but I’m coming back. It’s pretty good hockey. Definitely a step up from the BCHL. You have guys who are faster, bigger and older.

“I played my physical game but I also did some scoring. Our team doesn’t get the ex-Major Junior guys like most teams because it’s tough to get guys to commit to the military training.”

The McGill Redmen of Montreal topped the 10-team East Conference title at 22-4-2, while RMC was ninth at 7-16-5.

The 5-foot-8-195-pound hit machine was named the Ontario University Athletics OUA East Rookie of the Year, a member of the U SPORTS and OUA East All-Rookie teams, as well as an OUA East First Team All-Star. Brandt will enter next year as a first-year student at the college.

Brandt spent four years in the BCHL, a rookie season with the Trail Smoke Eaters and the last three with Vernon. He will spend the summer doing military training at a base yet to be announced.

Kara Stephan (Barrie, Ont.) earned the Kelly Gawne Memorial Cup and the title of RMC Female Athlete of the Year for another standout season with the women’s volleyball team. Named an OUA East First Team All-Star, Stephan was one of the top offensive threats in the league during the 2017-18 season, finishing the year first in aces, third in points per set, fourth in kills, and fifth in digs.

After setting an RMC women’s volleyball record with 26 kills in a game against Nipissing, the Computer Engineering student was named the OUA Female Athlete of the Week in January. On hand to present the award was RMC alumna and Olympic triathlete Sharon Donnelly, who was the inaugural winner of the Kelly Gawne Memorial Cup in 1989.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Vernon Vipers Alumni-WHL Hockey On Sportsnet:

Former Vernon Vipers "AP" affiliated forward Dante Hannoun & Former Vernon Vipers Trainer Matt Auerbach & the Victoria Royals take on the Vancouver Giants in Langley tonight at 7pm on Sportsnet 360 The Giants lead the best of seven series 2-1.

Dante Hannoun the younger brother of former Vernon Vipers forward Demico Hannoun (2013-14) is in his fourth season with the Royals, played one game as an "AP" (affiliated player) with the Vipers during the 2013-14 season. In 66 games this year with the Royals Hannoun collected (25-goals-54-assists-79-points).

Dante Hannoun's Player Profile: 

Auerbach was a trainer with the Vernon Vipers back in the late 90's was also with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs before making the jump in 2006 for the WHL's Chilliwack Bruins. Auerbach has spent the past ten seasons with the Bruins & Victoria Royals.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Vipers Reloading For 2018-19:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers reloading for 2018-19

Vipers lose Game 6 in OT

Kevin Mitchell

Mar. 27, 2018 

Mark Ferner was in his office Tuesday morning, trying to get over the numbness from being knocked out of the playoffs while recruiting all over North America for next season.

The Vipers finished second overall in the 17-team B.C. Hockey League and were picked by many to reach the national championship Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack.

Things first starting going sideways when the Vipers lost beloved longtime franchise owner Duncan Wray, who died in his sleep Jan. 11, at age 68.

Two weeks later, the Vipers lost NHL prospect Josh Prokop, who rang up three hat tricks and 21 goals before being sidelined for the season with a shoulder injury.

Vernon stuck together and got through the loss of Wray and Prokop, finishing with a 10-game winning streak before losing Game 3 of the best-of-seven quarterfinal series to the Wenatchee Wild. The Vipers went 7-1 in February.

The Snakes’ season appeared headed in the proper fashion when they went up 2-0 on the Wild with captain Jagger Williamson using duct tape to stick to power forward and league MVP Jasper Weatherby, holding him pointless in Games 1 and 2. Williamson was suspended for Games 4 and 5, both losses, for taking his third goaltender interference penalty of the season in the third game.

Centre Brett Stapley, also an NHL prospect, was concussed in Game 3 and lost for the series. Monster d-man Shane Kelly, as intimidating the mean as they come in the BCHL was sorely missed all series on Injured Reserve.

The depleted Snakes earned their shower every shift in a 3-2 double overtime loss to the Wild before the loudest crowd of the season Friday night at Kal Tire Place before losing 4-3 in overtime Saturday night in Wenatchee to close their season.

“It’s very, very disappointing for the players,” said Ferner. “We ran out of gas, we ran out of bodies. I let them know how proud of them I was. I always talk about not beating ourselves and we certainly didn’t do that. I’ve always said you need good goaltending, good defence and a little luck to win in the playoffs and we didn’t get any luck. Sometimes it’s a war of attrition. The best part about this group was they didn’t quit and the best thing you can do for a teammate is put in an unwavering effort.”

Ferner said the line of Derek Brown, Jimmy Lambert and Alex Swetlikoff had enough Grade A chances for five goals, while Josh Latta just missed on a breakaway.

“I kept saying to myself, “We need a goal here when it was 3-1 for us.’ Tip of the hat to Wenatchee, they’re a good team. I told the guys whoever won this series would win the Royal Bank Cup. Credit to them.”

Ferner, assisted by Kevin Kraus and Kevin Pedersen, was high on his roster.

“It was a great group of kids. The kids we brought in did what we expected and we wanted. Every kid that came here said it was the best group they had ever played with. We have to continue to build on that culture.”

The Vipers lose most of their core group, but d-man Michael Young (9-23-32) of Boston has de-committed from the UConn Huskies and will join Jack Judson and Mitch Andres as minute-munchers on the back end. There are rumblings that Ariona State Sun Devils, who have 19 forwards recruited, may ask centre Jordan Sandhu to play one more year with the Vipers. Same goes for Williamson, a Western Michigan Wildcats’ commit.

Winger Keyvan Mokhtari will wait a year before playing for the Colorado College Tigers.

Rookie winger Elan Bar-Lev-Wise, who was summoned from Burnaby Winter Club Midgets (23-39-61) for the last part of the Wenatchee series, and freshman d-man Will Dow Kenny, who saw some action with Vernon (8-22-30 with Fraser Valley Major Midget Thunderbirds) will be regulars in 2018-19. Bar-Lev-Wise, 17, already has a scholarship with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Playing like a team with their season on the line Saturday, the Vipers got on the board first on a Brown shot fired from the left circle. Ufberg drew the assist at 3:31.

Just under 10 minutes later, Brown set up Lambert for a similar score from the opposite wing on a 2-on-1 rush. Swetlikoff earned the secondary helper.

D-man Zak Galambos blasted home a shot from the left circle as a Wild power play expired almost three minutes later.

The Wild trailed 2-1 until a defensive zone gaffe allowed Niko Karamanis to walk in alone on Austin Park and tuck a nifty shot around him low to the glove side. It was 3-1 Vernon after 40 minutes.

The energy of the Wolves Den seemed to lift the Wild to a level that transcended physical fatigue in the third period. The determined Wild peppered Viper goalie and third star Ty Taylor with 27 shots in the third period with Weatherby lasering a shot high, glove side, after walking off from the right wing wall at 4:27, and Sam Hesler equalized at 12:33 after Murphy Stratton entered the zone on the right wing and snapped a crisp pass across to the left size where Cooper Zech was entering across the Viper blue line. Zech’s shot was finished off by Sam Hesler standing at the top of the crease. The game was tied at 3-3 and the building was sizzling.

Wenatchee had two power play chances in the final five minutes but couldn’t find the equalizer, sending the game to overtime for the second consecutive evening. It took just over three and a half minutes. Wenatchee ripped seven shots at Taylor in overtime, and Park never saw a single one. As consistent pressure stayed in the Vipers’ zone, it was eventually captain AJ Vanderbeck who found a clear shooting lane to wire home the winner at 3:38.

The Wild will meet the Trail Smoke Eaters in a semifinal series starting Friday night in Wenatchee.

Veteran Ross Armour pocketed 2+1 as the Smokies bounced the Vees 4-2 in Game 7 Monday night before 4,324 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Vernon’s Blaine Caton picked up one assist for the Smokies, who finished fourth in the Interior Division, 17 points behind Penticton.

The Vees sorely missed Toronto Maple Leafs’ draft Ryan O’Connell, a d-man, and high-scoring forward Grant Cruikshank in the playoffs. Both players were badly injured 25 games into the regular season.

Meanwhile, Quinnipiac Bobcats recruit Ethan de Jong bagged a deuce as the Prince George Spruce Kings dispatched the Surrey Eagles 4-0 in Game 7 before 2,112 fans Sunday night at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena. The Kings take on the Powell River Kings in semifinal play.

De Jong compiled 10 points (5-5-10) in the series, including two goals in both Game 6. The Burnaby product posted the first two goals Monday night.

SNAKE BITES: Trainer Tyrol Deeg will not return to the Vipers after his three-year contract expired…Ferner plans to scout the national U16 and U18 tournament, April 5-10, in Philadelphia…Ferner says the Vees and Brooks Bandits are chasing the same elite goalie for next year. The Okotoks Oilers are riding a 27-game win streak going into the South final series with Brooks…Kelowna’s Ryan Moon is in his second year with Trail after one year of Junior B in Armstrong with the North Okanagan Knights.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

AJ Vanderbeck's Overtime Winner:

AJ Vanderbeck scored at 3:38 of overtime, giving the Wenatchee
Wild a 4-3 come from behind victory over the visiting Vernon Vipers in Game 6 of the Interior Division semi-finals Saturday in Wenatchee. With the win the Wild advance to the Interior Division finals for the first time in franchise history.

AJ Vanderbeck's overtime winning goal,

Vipers-Wild hand shake following overtime,

Monday, March 26, 2018

Ex Viper Andrusiak Scores Overtime Winner To Even Series:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Zach Andrusiak scored the overtime winner giving the Seattle Thunderbirds a 5-4 overtime victory over the Everett Silvertips Saturday in Everett in Game 2 of the best of seven opening round playoff series. The series is tied 1-1.

Thunderbird's-Silvertips Game Highlight's,

Andrusiak's overtime winning goal call,

Andrusiak is in his second season with the Thunderbirds. In 72 games this season with Seattle Andrusiak has (36-goals-38-assists-74-points). The Vipers signed Andrusiak October 1st 2015 after being released from the WHL Tri-City Americans. Andrusiak played in 11 games picking up two assists before being released November 5th 2015. 

Zach Andrusiak's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Thunderbirds website:

Zack Attack In Overtime Wins Game 2

March 24, 2018

EVERETT, March 24, 2018 — Zack Andrusiak scored 5:04 into overtime Saturday night at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 5-4 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Game 2 of their first round playoff series.

Andrusiak took a pass from Reece Harsch in the neutral zone and split two Everett defenders. Andrusiak beat Everett goalie Carter Hart with a backhand shot over the blocker.

The first-round playoff series is tied 1-1.

Game 3 is Tuesday, March 27, at 7:05pm at accesso ShoWare Center. This game will be a Directors Mortgage 2-for-Tuesday game that will feature two-for-one tickets and beers and $2 popcorn, $2 hot dogs, and $2 soda.

Single game tickets for Game 3 currently on sale. Single game playoff tickets can be purchased on the T-Birds website and at the accesso ShoWare Center box office. The accesso ShoWare Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday 10am to 5pm and Saturday game days at noon.

Game 4 is Friday, March 30, at accesso ShoWare Center at 7:35pm.

First Round Schedule

Everett vs. Seattle

Game 1 At Everett 4, Seattle 1
Game 2 Seattle 5, at Everett 4, OT
Game 3 Everett @ Seattle Tuesday, March 27 7:05pm
Game 4 Everett @ Seattle Friday, March 30 7:35pm
Game 5 Seattle @ Everett Saturday, March 31 7:05pm
Game 6 Everett @ Seattle Tuesday, April 3 7:05pm*
Game 7 Seattle @ Everett Wednesday, April 4 7:05pm*
*if necessary

Everett went in front 1-0 at 2:17 of the first period on a goal from Martin Fasko-Rudas. Gianni Fairbrother had the only assist.

Seattle quickly tied the game 1-1 on the power play at 4:15 of the first. Turner Ottenbreit passed the puck from the right point to Austin Strand at the left point. Strand one-timed the pass and beat Hart over the glove. Donovan Neuls had the second assist.

The T-Birds took a 2-1 lead 2:18 after their first goal. Ottenbreit carried the puck up the ice and passed to Sami Moilanen who entered the zone on the left wing Moilanen took a shot from the left circle that rebounded off Hart to Wedman in the slot. Wedman put back the rebound and the puck came off Hart right to Moilanen to the left of the goal. Moilanen put the puck into an empty net as Hart was down from making the save on Wedman.

Midway through the first period an Everett shot hit the right post and came into the slot. The T-Birds carried the puck up the ice and held some zone time until the puck got trapped under a T-Bird in a board battle behind the Everett net. The referees went to the scorer’s table for a video review of the Everett shot. After several minutes the referees waved no goal.

Everett outshot Seattle 18-14 in the first period.

Everett tied the game 3-3 33 seconds into the second period on a five-on-three goal by Garrett Pilon. Kevin Davis and Patrick Bajkov had the assists.

Ottenbreit gave the T-Birds a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal at 13:23 of the second. Neuls passed the puck to Ottenbreit at center ice and he beat Hart with a slap shot over the glove. Wedman had the second assist.

Pilon tied the game 3-3 at 17:11 of the second off an assist from Reece Vitelli.

Everett’s Riley Sutter kneed T-Birds defenseman Jake Lee with two minutes left in the second period. Sutter received a five-minute kneeing major and a game misconduct.

The Silvertips outshot the T-Birds 11-8 in the second period and had a 29-22 advantage in shots after two periods.

Mike MacLean put the T-Birds in front 4-3 at 7:35 of the third period. MacLean won a battle along the right boards and brought the puck behind the Everett net. MacLean dropped the puck for Wedman who charged the net from behind the goal line. Wedman put the puck into the low slot to MacLean. MacLean put the puck over Hart’s blocker for the go-ahead goal.

Everett pulled Hart with 1:30 left in the game for an extra attacker. Pilon was able to put back his own rebound with 54 seconds left to tie the game 4-4.

The Silvertips had a 46-31 advantage in shots after 60 minutes.

Seattle goalie Liam Hughes had 45 saves on 49 shots.

Hart had 28 saves on 33 shots.