Saturday, February 24, 2018

Vees Clinch 1st Place/Win Seventh Straight Interior Division Pennant:

The 40-12-2-3 defending Interior Division Champion, League Champion and Royal Bank Cup semi-finalist Penticton Vees have clinched 1st place and a BCHL record seventh straight Interior Division Pennant after a 5-1 victory over the visiting Wenatchee Wild tonight.                                            

The Vees will host the 5th place Coquitlam Express (15-38-1-4) in the opening round of the BCHL playoffs. Penticton went 2-0 vs Coquitlam this season, outscoring the Express 12-2 in their two games. With the Vees victory the Vernon Vipers (39-14-1-4) will finish the 2017-18 regular season 2nd in the Interior Division host the 7th place Salmon Arm Silverbacks (24-29-3-1) in the 1st round of the playoffs. Vernon went 5-1 in six regular season games vs Salmon Arm, while the two teams split their two exhibition games.

Vernon 8 Trail 3

I have had season tickets for the past 28 years and been following Junior hockey in Vernon for close to thirty five years. I have missed only three home games since the 1998-99 season. For anyone who could not attend or watch tonight’s Vipers game here are my thoughts and views from tonight’s game. You may agree or disagree but we all have our own view and opinion on any game we watch. This is my opinion and my thoughts on how I saw tonight’s game. I try to be unbiased and give a fare recap on both sides. Thanks for stopping by & visiting my blog.

I was at tonight's Vipers-Smoke Eaters game as Vernon defeated Trail 8-3 in front of 2,158 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Anthony Yamnitsky
Trail: Tanner Marshall

Before tonight's game the Vipers honoured fourth year forward/captain Jagger Williamson with a special plaque for playing in his 200th career BCHL February 18th in Alberni Valley. Williamson becomes just the seventh Vernon Junior hockey player to play in 200 or more career games.

1st Period: Two minutes in Daine Dubois setup Braeden Tuck going to the net, tried beating Anthony Yamnitsky in close before the net come off its pipes. A quality chance early for Trail. Jagger Williamson come back the other way on the following shift/play, the Viper captain come down the left wing, leaned into a shot from just inside the circle beat Tanner Marshall but not the post as Vernon comes within inches of opening the scoring. The Vipers carrying the play early, would get the games first powerplay about seven minutes in, but shorthanded Braeden Tuck alone in the slot wired high and over the goal, on a missed opportunity. The Snakes with a ton of pressure moved the puck around, had some looks. Michael Young with two shots that just went up and over the goal, before Jagger Williamson setup Jesse Lansdell who put Vernon up 1-0 at 8:31 Williamson drew the lone helper. It was all Vipers in the first half as Vernon was outshooting Trail 9-1 at the midway mark. Just past the halfway mark, Vernon sprung Derek Brown in for the parcial breakaway, would be denied by Tanner Marshall in close. The Snakes would get their second powerplay of the night just minutes later. Trevor Zins blocked a shot and felt it, was limping around on the penalty kill was basically useless in front of the Trail goal, couldn't get off before finally making his way to the bench. Jagger Williamson spotted Niko Karamanis in front giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 14:35 Williamson and Michael Ufberg collected the assists. With three and a half minutes remaining Derek Brown would get in behind the Smokies defence, go in for the parcial breakaway would be denied for a second time this evening. The Vipers would get a late powerplay with just over a minute to go. The Snakes unable to capitalize would run out of time before the final buzzer. It was 2-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. It was all Vipers as the Snakes outplayed the Smoke Eaters. Vernon using their speed and skill, totally dominated the edge in play, played most of the entire 1st period in the offensive zone. The Vipers with several quality chances, had a ton of looks. The Smokies played most of the period in their own end, were chasing the Vipers most of the period. Trail couldn't muster any real kind of offence, struggled to get into the offensive zone. The Smoke Eaters didn't have much time with the puck, were defending most of the period. Vernon outshot Trail 19-4.

2nd Period: The Snakes started the middle frame on the man advantage, that was carried over from the 1st period. Former Salmon Arm Silverbacks d-man Cameron Trott stepped into one beat Smoke Eaters starting goaltender Tanner Marshall rang his shot off the crossbar, as the Vipers were within inches of grabbing a 3-0 lead. Trail with a quick turn around, quickly fired the puck up ice sprung Andre Ghantous for the breakaway just as the penalty expired. Ghantous snapped home a quick wrist shot beating Vipers starting goaltender Anthony Yamnitsky who barely even flinched on the goal cutting Vernon's lead to 2-1 at 1:12 Ghantous's goal was unassisted. Six minutes later Jimmy Lambert setup Brett Stapley on a two on one rush, giving Vernon a 3-1 lead and their two goal lead back at 7:36 Lambert with the lone helper. Just minutes later the Smoke Eaters would get their first PP of the contest. But shorthanded Jagger Williamson lead the two on one attack setup Jesse Lansdell who was robbed by the pad save off Tanner Marshall. A huge game saver, keeping this a two goal game. The Vipers weren't done there. Jimmy Lambert and Brett Stapley broke out on an oddman rush shorthanded, Lambert setup Stapley for his second of the night, giving Vernon a 4-1 lead at 10:16 Lambert with the assist. On the same penalty kill and less then a minute later Niko Karamanis sprung Keyvan Mokhtari for the breakaway, put a nice deke in on Tanner Marshall giving Vernon a commanding 5-1 lead at 11:11 Karamanis with the lone assist. The Snakes with back to back shorthanded goals. Whats up with the Trail powerplay? The Vipers would eventually kill off the remainder of the minor. Vernon would jump on a late powerplay with about five minutes left. The Snakes with a ton of looks/opportunities couldn't capitalize as the Smoke Eaters killed off the minor. Just as the penalty expired, Josh Latta alone at the side of the net, looked to have a sure goal was flat out robbed by Tanner Marshall who come diving across the blue paint to make an unbelievable save off the former Salmon Arm Silverback. On the following shift/play, Vernon sprung former Kelowna Rockets draft pick Jordan Sandhu in for the breakaway, couldn't solve Tanner Marshall. Marshall with back to back large saves, keeping his team from getting blown out. Shortly after on a goal mouth scramble the Vipers couldn't clear the front of the goal, allowing Daine Dubois to beat Anthony Yamnitsky in front, cutting Vernon's lead to 5-2 at 18:08 Ryan Moon & Braeden Tuck picked up the assists. Inside the final minute Andre Ghantous was able to get behind the Viper defence, in for the parcial breakaway couldn't solve former Wenatchee Wild goaltender Anthony Yamnitsky. It was 5-2 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. For a second straight period the Vipers were the better team and outplayed Trail for most of the second frame. Viper fans may have got a little worried once Andre Ghantous got the Smokies on the board. It was all Vipers but yet it was only 2-1 early to start the 2nd. It didn't take long before the Snakes blew the doors open and pulled away with back to back shorthanded markers to really take control of the game. The Vipers with a ton of quality chances, were buzzing in and around the Smoke Eaters goal. The Smoke Eaters again saw most of the period in their own end, didn't generate/create much of anything offensively until getting a few late shifts in the attacking zone inside the final three minutes. The TSN turning point was giving up the two shorthanded goals. This was a killer for the Smokies. Vernon outshot Trail 16-12.

3rd Period: The Vipers with several good looks-opportunities early to start the final frame before Jimmy Lambert gave Vernon a 6-2 lead at 4:36 Michael Young & Michael Ufberg collected the assists. On the following shift/play Vernon would go to the PP and capitalize. Mitch Andres wired a shot top shelf on a lazer shot from the circle gave Vernon a commanding 7-2 lead at 5:57 Andres goal was unassisted. Just over three minutes later Spencer McLean took a high stick from Josh Latta and was down on the ice before rushing to the bench for repairs. Latta was given four minutes for high sticking, sending Trail to just their second man advantage of the evening. The Snakes would kill off the first two minutes before Connor Welsh's shot from the point would be redirected in by Levi Glassman cutting Vernon's lead to 7-3 at 12:19 Welsh and Seth Barton picked up the assists. Just under three minutes later Jimmy Lambert spotted Brett Stapley for the open cage and his third goal of the contest, put Vernon up 8-3 at 14:54 Lambert & Chris Jndric drew the helpers. Tanner Marshall had no chance was still between the pipes after giving up all eight Vernon goals. With just over two and a half minutes left Tyler Ghirandosi stepped over the blueline beat Anthony Yamnitsky with a long shot but not the post as Trail come very close to getting within four goals. This was the third post/crossbar of the game. The Snakes took their foot off the gas and basically coasted the rest of the way before coming away with the 8-3 victory. A bit of a scrum would take place at the buzzer but was quickly broken up. Ethan Martini would take a slashing penalty at the buzzer. The Smokies come off the bench to console Tanner Marshall who stayed between the pipes the entire game, even after giving up eight goals. The Vipers carried the better of the play, didn't dominate as much as the first two periods, looked to take their foot off the gas once the score got out of hand. Because of this the Smoke Eaters were able to get some play in the offensive zone from time to time. With the score out of hand and the game basically over didn't make for much of a 3rd period. Vernon outshot Trail 11-6.

I thought the Vipers were suppose to have their year end awards banquet tonight on ice after the game, but didn't. This has been a special presentation for the fans on the final regular season home game the past few seasons.

Top Player's: (Vernon)

Michael Ufberg (2 assists) I thought showed a lot of hustle getting back defensively on a few occasions. Made some smart plays on the point while on the powerplay, really played hard/well.

The line of Brett Stapley (3 goals), Jordan Sandhu & Jimmy Lambert (1 goal & 3 assists) were very dangerous in the win. This line was very strong last night in the victory over Wenatchee but just as dangerous tonight vs Trail. Brett Stapley & Jimmy Lambert both had a ton of looks/quality chances through out the contest. The Smokies had troubles all night defending against this line.

Jagger Williamson (2 assists) Had another strong night. Four assists over the weekend. Great to see the Vipers honour their captain and fourth year forward before the game with a plaque for playing his 200th career game last weekend. Look at the amount of games hes been out of the lineup due to injury, he may have broken the franchise record for most games played in a Vernon jersey.

The Vipers 4th line of Connor Marritt, Coleton Bilodeau and Alex Swetlikoff saw a ton of ice tonight and were out after almost every goal, really played well. This line has played very well this season. They don't put up the big numbers but play hard, get their fare share of opportunities, work hard and play hard against their opponents.

Jesse Lansdell (1 goal) Had another impact game physically, is another kid who played hard/well this weekend. Laid out some big checks last night and again tonight. Levelled Kyle Chernenkoff hard into the boards in the 2nd period.

Keyvan Mokhtari (1 goal) Played with a ton of jump/energy, had some looks/opportunities was skating hard, going hard for the puck, was hard to defend against.

Niko Karamanis (1 goal & 1 assist) Scored twice in the win over Wenatchee Friday, I didn't think really stood out other then scoring two goals. Tonight was a different story. Karamanis really used his wheels and was driving hard to the net, played hard, was another forward giving Trail defenders a difficult time.

Game Thought's: (Vernon)

Tonight was a totally different game compared to last night's hard fought come from behind win over the Wenatchee Wild. Playing their final regular season game the Vipers gave the fans their money worth scoring eight goals. Vernon was by far the better of the two teams, dominated most of the game. The Vipers gave the Smokies all kinds of trouble with their speed and skill. The Snakes getting a ton of looks/opportunities, were buzzing in the offensive zone most of the night. In a game where the Vipers were in full control, the score was only 2-1 early into the 2nd before Vernon jumped ahead 3-1 and then scored two quick back to back shorthanded markers to change the momentum of the game and blow the doors open. This was the TSN turning point. I think even if the Snakes don't get those two shorthanded goals, up 3-1 at that point and how well they were playing I don't think the Smoke Eaters were getting back in this hockey game. The Vipers looked poised, confident and in control of the game from the start. I really liked the Viper powerplay, going 3-6 with the man advantage I thought Vernon's PP looked much better after struggling with the man advantage in the win over Wenatchee Friday. The Snakes win their seventh straight on home ice, have won eleven of their last thirteen home games. Vernon has now won four straight and nine of their last eleven games overall. The Vipers won six out of the seven games vs Trail this season (exhibition & regular season) outscoring the Smoke Eaters 38-12 in seven games. The Vipers pick up win #39 of the season, one short of 40. This is the 37th time a Vernon Junior hockey team has picked up thirty or more wins during the regular season. With the victory the Vipers finish the 2017-18 regular season 2nd in the Interior Division with a record of 39-14-1-4 four points ahead of Wenatchee and two points back of Division/League leading Penticton who still has one game remaining in the season. With the victory and Penticton's win over Wenatchee the Vipers will host the 7th place Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the opening round of the BCHL playoffs. Former Vernon Lakers forward and current West Kelowna Warriors head coach/gm Rylan Ferster was in attendance tonight. Ferster and the Warriors will face Trail in the 1st round of the playoffs. A small handful of Viper parents were also in attendance tonight.

Top Player's: (Trail)

Braeden Tuck (1 assist) I thought created a few looks/opportunities, was going to the net, played well in the loss.

Andre Ghantous (1 goal) Was by far Trail's best forward/player. Played with a lot of jump/energy, really used his speed to blow by a few Vernon defenders, had some quality chances, scored on a 2nd period breakaway.

Tanner Marshall (38 saves) I know the kid gave up eight goals but give the kid credit for battling-staying between the pipes for the entire game. Most kids would want the heck out of their. Marshall may have given up eight goals but didn't get a lot of help from his defenders. The Smokies netminder made several big stops through out the night, or this could have easily been a bigger outcome.

Game Thought's: (Trail)

The Smoke Eaters weren't in this game much at all right off the opening puck drop. Trail was outplayed, outhustled and outscored most of the night. The Smokies with very little puck posession, offensive zone time, created/generated very few quality opportunities, had troubles getting pucks to the goal, played most of the night in their own end. Trail was chasing Vernon most of the night, had troubles defending against the Vipers speed and skill. The Smoke Eaters give up several chances shorthanded, resulting in two shorthanded goals, didn't look very good in the loss. The Smoke Eaters were missing some key/veteran players. Trail has lost seven straight on the road and winless in their last nine road games (8 losses-1 tie). The Smoke Eaters have now lost five of their last six games going into the playoffs. The Smoke Eaters playing in their final regular season game had nothing to play for other then team pride/stats. The Smokies coming off an 8-5 victory over the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday will open the 1st round of the BCHL playoffs vs the West Kelowna Warriors. Trail won four of the six regular season meetings with the Warriors. With the loss the Smoke Eaters finish with a record of 32-21-4-1 will finish 4th in the Interior Division. Great to see a small handful of Trail fans in attendance.



Shane Kelly (Injured)
Josh Prokop (Injured-Out for the season)


Kale Howarth
Ross Armour
Troy Ring

Energy Player of the Game:

Michael Ufberg (2 assists)

Three Star's:

1st Star: Brett Stapley (3 goals)
2nd Star: Jimmy Lambert (1 goal & 3 assists)
3rd Star: Niko Karamanis (1 goal & 1 assist)

Boxscore-Game Summary,

Game Report,

Text Boxscore,

Game Preview: Trail @ Vernon:

Trail (32-20-4-1) @  Vernon (38-14-1-4) 6pm

Tonight is the sixth and final regular season meeting between the Vernon Vipers & Trail Smoke Eaters. The Vipers lead the season series 4-1

Last Game:

Friday, February 23rd Vernon defeated Wenatchee 4-3
Friday, February 23rd Trail defeated Salmon Arm 8-5

Next Game:

Friday, March 2nd Game 1 Team Unknown @ Vernon
Friday, March 2nd Game 1 West Kelowna @ Trail

To read more of this post, please click the "read more" button in the bottom left hand corner of this article.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Vernon 4 Wenatchee 3

I have had season tickets for the past 28 years and been following Junior hockey in Vernon for close to thirty five years. I have missed only three home games since the 1998-99 season. For anyone who could not attend or watch tonight’s Vipers game here are my thoughts and views from tonight’s game. You may agree or disagree but we all have our own view and opinion on any game we watch. This is my opinion and my thoughts on how I saw tonight’s game. I try to be unbiased and give a fare recap on both sides. Thanks for stopping by & visiting my blog.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Ty Taylor
Wenatchee: Seth Eisele

I was at tonight's Vipers-Wild game as Vernon defeated Wenatchee 4-3 in front of 2,222 fans at Kal Tire Place.

1st Period: The Wild jumped on the Vipers early and often. Ty Taylor had to be sharp early, making a big stop on a wrap around just fourty seconds into the opening frame. Off the following faceoff the Wild with a goal mouth scramble in front of Ty Taylor and the Viper net, Wenatchee digging for the loose puck, couldn't get it through a maze of players in the Vernon crease. The Snakes needed two and a half minutes to record their first shot of the game before Wenatchee would get the games first powerplay just minutes in. The Wild with a few early looks-chances before AJ Vanderbeck beat Ty Taylor high giving Wenatchee a 1-0 lead at 4:06 Vanderbeck's goal was unassisted. The Vipers would respond off the following faceoff. Jimmy Lambert got the play into the offensive zone before chipping the puck up to Keyvan Mokhtari who was denied in closed. Wenatchee with the early jump, were outshooting the Snakes 7-2 five minutes in. Minutes later on another goal mouth scramble the Wild looked to bump Ty Taylor, who lose control of the puck, as the play continued Vernon couldn't clear the front of the net, before August Von Ungren spotted Zak Galambos at the side of the net, hit the open cage, giving Wenatchee a 2-0 lead at 7:59 Von Ungren drew the lone helper. But just 1:09 later the Vipers with a bit of a goal mouth scramble of their own, were able to find Niko Karamanis open at the side of the goal, getting Vernon on the board, cutting Wenatchee's lead to 2-1 at 9:08 Jack Judson & Jagger Williamson picked up the assists. In the second half Vernon would get their first powerplay of the evening, after Jasper Weatherby took Jimmy Lambert hard from behind into the boards. The Vipers would struggle with the man advantage. The Snakes struggled to keep the play/puck in the offensive zone, didn't record a single shot with the man advantage as the Wild killed off the minor. Wenatchee getting at least two or three big shot blocks on the penalty kill. Late in the 1st Michael Young with a long stretch pass spotted Jimmy Lambert who got behind the Wenatchee defence, Lambert went in for the breakaway, deked out Seth Eisele tying the game 2-2 at 17:10 sending Kal Tire Place into a frenzy. Young with the lone helper. It was 2-2 after 20 minutes of play. It was all Wenatchee for most of the opening period. The Wild jumped on Vernon off the opening faceoff, were a step ahead of the Snakes most of the 1st. The Wild are very quick, can move the puck up ice in a hurry, fore checked the heck out of the Vipers most of the frame. Wenatchee with an aggressive fore check, were limiting the Viper time and space, forcing Vernon into turning over the puck or being caught running around in their own end. The Wild didn't get any real quality chances, had more goal mouth scrambles. The Vipers didn't seem to have their legs going early, fell behind two goals early but managed to battle back to tie the game, in a period I thought the Wild were by far the better team. The Vipers just couldn't seem to generate/create any kind of offensive opportunities, had troubles getting sustained pressure in the attacking zone. It seemed like once the Vipers got into the offensive zone, they couldn't get any zone time, were quickly going back the other way. The Snakes lucky to be in the game at this point, were lucky to be tied after one period. The Vipers went long periods at a time with no shots on goal. Wenatchee outshot Vernon 13-7.

2nd Period: The Wild would get an early powerplay to start the middle frame. But it would be the Vipers who would come close to capitalizing shorthanded. Jimmy Lambert setup Brett Stapley on a Viper odd man rush shorthanded. Stapley missed the net managed to get the puck back out front, Jimmy Lambert with a quick release missed the top corner as the Snakes with back to back shorthanded chances, couldn't grab their first lead of the contest. The Vipers killed off the minor. Just as the penalty expired, Jimmy Lambert couldn't clear the zone, allowing Matt Dorsey to wheel in from the high slot, missed the goal from the slot, showed some hustle, managed to get the puck back before ripping a quick shot from just inside the circle forced Vipers starting goaltender Ty Taylor to just get a piece of it with his glove, making a big stop. It didn't take long before Vernon went back to the penalty kill. The Wild with their second PP of the period. Wenatchee with good pressure, had some looks/chances couldn't capitalize as the Vipers killed off the penalty. Just before the midway mark former Victoria Grizzlie Keyvan Mokhtari with a great look/opportunity in front, couldn't solve Wild starting goaltender Seth Eisele. Back come the Wild about a minute and a half later, Jasper Weatherby lead the attack decided to shoot on a two on one, missed the net. In the second half the Snakes would get their first man advantage of the 2nd but again the Vipers struggled. For a second straight powerplay, Vernon didn't record a single shot as Wenatchee killed off the penalty. Late in the 2nd Jagger Williamson sprung Niko Karamanis down the left wing, Karamanis beat his defender before going hard to the goal, looked to make contact with Seth Eisele somehow managed to beat Eisele on his way to the goal, giving Vernon a 3-2 lead at 16:03 their first lead of the night. Williamson collected the assist. Karamanis's goal got the Viper bench and the crowd up on their feet. Shortly after the Vipers would get a second PP but again unable to register a shot on goal. Wenatchee with a very aggressive fore check, took away Vernon's time and space. Slava Demin with a huge defensive play, broke up a Viper odd man rush down low. The Wild with another penalty kill. It was 3-2 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. For a second straight period I thought the Wenatchee Wild were the better team. The Wild with a very aggressive fore check had the Vipers hemmed in their own end on several occasions. Vernon back on their heels, had all kinds of trouble with the Wenatchee fore check. The Wild were winning the races/battles had more puck possession and zone time. But for a second straight period I didnt think Wenatchee had any real quality chances. Yes the Wild had some good looks but no real scoring threat, other then a few goal mouth scrambles and broken plays in and around the Vernon goal. The Snakes again had troubles generating/creating chances. Vernon's powerplay struggled for a second straight period. The Viper passing was off, due to the Wild's strong fore check. Again I thought the Vipers were lucky to be ahead. The Snakes went long periods at a time with no shots on goal. Wenatchee outshot Vernon 12-7.

3rd Period: The Vipers would grab an early two goal lead after Michael Ufberg's shot looked to be redirected on it's way to the goal, found it's way through a maze of players giving Vernon a 4-2 lead at 5:34 Ufberg would be credited with the goal. Brett Stapley drew the lone helper. Minutes later the Snakes would jump on the powerplay. Vernon again struggled and couldn't capitalize as Wenatchee killed off the minor. Both teams battled hard, not giving up an inch in a very tight checking 3rd period. Viper captain Jagger Williamson was hit awkwardly along the boards was slow getting to his feet, managed to get to the bench, needed to catch a breather, seemed to be ok, stayed in the game. Just past the halfway mark, Cameron Trott went for the big hit in front of the Viper bench opened up the ice for Lucas Sowder who come down the left wing, ripped a lazer of a shot a shot from the circle, beating Ty Taylor far corner, cutting the Vernon lead to 4-3 at 12:29 August Von Ungren picked up the assist. I think Ty Taylor would like this goal back. Taylor was a little too deep in his crease, gave up just a little too much room on the other side of the net. Never less a wicked shot from Sowder. With about six minutes left, Jimmy Lambert setup Brett Stapley who couldn't solve Seth Eisele in close on a large save from the Wild netminder. On the following shift the Vipers/Jesse Lansdell playing physical, laid out several big checks. Lansdell levelled Cooper Zech along the end wall, Zech was down and didn't get up until Zak Galambos went after Lansdell. Galambos would take an undisciplined penalty with just under five minutes remaining. Zech was very slow getting off the ice, went to the Wild bench. Some pushing and shoving between whistles as both teams getting involved in some altercations after the whistle. Vernon unable to capitalize with the man advantage as Wenatchee gets a huge kill late in the contest, still down a goal. The Wild would get Seth Eisele to the bench for the extra attacker with about 1:30 remaining. A shot from the point somehow got through traffic, forced Ty Taylor into reaching out to make a large pad save, before the net was pushed off its pegs to stop play. Vernon catches a bit of a break, as I don't think Taylor fully had the puck covered before the net come loose. The Vipers with two attempts at the empty net, failed but would end up fore checking the Wild back into their own end, to eventuallty run out the clock and hang on for the 4-3 victory, as the Viper bench poured onto the ice to celebrate with Ty Taylor. I thought the third was very evenly matched in a very tight checking period. Both teams didn't give up much. I thought for the first time in the game Vernon was finally able to get some sustained pressure in the offensive zone, were winning battles/races to the puck. The Vipers seemed to step up their play in the 3rd had a bit more jump/energy, really battled hard along the wall. The Vipers played a very smart period, made very little mistakes. Wenatchee had to play more in their own end in the third, were now the team having to win the battles/fight for the puck along the wall. The Snakes were the more physical team in the final frame. Both teams didn't give up many scoring chances. Shots were 6-6.

Top Player's: (Vernon)

Michael Young (1 assist) I thought had a strong night on the blueline. The Vipers d-man played very well through out the contest.

The line of Brett Stapley, Jimmy Lambert (1 goal) & Jordan Sandhu were very strong up front. Stapley & Lambert had a lot of chemistry going tonight. The two were setting one another up, as both had some quality chances.

Jagger Williamson (2 assists) The Viper captain and Lumby product played/battled hard up and down the ice.

Jesse Lansdell Was physical, in the face of the Wild all night. Lead the charge with several big hits.

Keyvan Mokhtari Had a few good opportunities, I thought was skating hard, getting involved in the play, was making things happen.

Mitch Andres Seemed to settle in come the 3rd found some open ice and looked confident moving the puck up ice. Played a heck of a 3rd period.

Josh Latta I thought battled hard, was physical at times, really worked hard. Was in the battle zone, wasn't afraid to muck it up in the trenches.

Chris Jandric Was another Vernon defenceman who played well on the backend.

Game Thought's: (Vernon)

I thought the Vipers were outplayed for the first two periods, had all kinds of trouble with the Wenatchee fore check. It seemed like when Vernon had the puck, they quickly panicked under attack, forcing turnovers or poor judgement passes. I thought the Snakes were a step behind the Wild off the opening faceoff and at least the first half of the opening frame. Down 2-0 early it looked like Wenatchee may walk away with the game but give Vernon credit, they battled back even though being outplayed, managed to tie the game. I thought the Vipers were lucky to be tied after the 1st and ahead heading into the 3rd. The Vipers were losing the battles, races to the puck, had troubles creating/generating opportunities. Vernon had troubles getting pucks to the net, the Vipers have been managing 30-40 shots a game couldn't get over seven shots in a period. The Vipers had troubles getting any kind of pressure in the attacking zone in the first two periods. Vernon really struggled with the powerplay. The Vipers didn't record a single shot in their first three powerplay's. Vipers went 0-5 with the man advantage. I thought the Vipers really stepped up their game in the 3rd and played much better. Vernon seemed to get their legs going and were really skating hard, I really liked the Snakes game in the third. The Vipers used a strong fore check, were winning the battles./races were finally able to get some sustained pressure in the offensive zone and kill time off the clock. Vernon picked up their intensity, starting laying the body a bit more, were physical and getting under the Wild's skin at times in that 3rd period. The Snakes played a very tight checking style of play in the final frame, limiting the Wild's scoring chances. Overall I thought the Vipers had more quality chances compared to Wenatchee. Give the Vipers full credit for not folding the tent early. Vernon could have easily folded the tent after giving up the first two goals, battled back with four straight of their own. A Wild victory tonight and Vernon would have finished the regular season in 3rd place. A win tonight and the Vipers clinch 2nd place and look to host the 7th place Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the 1st round of the playoffs, but still have a shot at 1st place depending on what happens with the Penticton Vees. The Vees would have to lose Saturday and Sunday, combined with a Viper win tomorrow night and both teams would be tied atop the division, with the Vipers clinching 1st. With the win Vernon improves to 38-14-1-4 move two points ahead of Wenatchee into 2nd place are now just two points back of Division/League leading Penticton. The Vees need just a single point in one of their final two games to clinch 1st place and a seventh straight Interior Division Pennant.

Top Player's: (Wenatchee)

Nicholas Kent I thought had a strong game on the Wild blueline. Not the biggest kid but plays big. Took a few big checks, but stayed on his feet. Was one of the better Wenatchee players.

Jasper Weatherby Had some looks/chances was dangerous with and without the puck.

AJ Vanderbeck (1 goal) Was another Wild forward that was dangerous. Gave the Viper defence troubles all night.

Sam Hesler Played physical, was in battling for the puck. Played hard all night.

Game Thought's: (Wenatchee)

With a shot to clinch 2nd place the Wild looked like a team on a mission off the opening puck drop. Wenatchee got the early jump on Vernon, were just a step ahead of the Snakes most of the opening frame. The Wild jump out to an early 2-0 lead look to be in full control before allowing the Vipers back in the game. Wenatchee would give up four straight goals before getting to within a goal to make things interesting in the final minutes. Overall I thought the Wild were the better of the two teams, at least for the first two periods. I thought Wenatchee had more jump/energy, were skating, moving the puck, getting pucks to the net early, creating/generating chances, had Vernon back on their heels on several occasions in the first two periods, but yet unable to find the back of the net. The Wild with a strong aggressive fore check, forced the Snakes into several turnovers-poor passes didn't generate a lot of grade a chances, had more goal mouth scrambles/broken plays. The Wild get pucks to the net, create alot of action in and around the goal, had several goal mouth scrambles tonight. Wenatchee penalty kill was very strong, again a very aggressive fore check, forced the Vipers into turnovers-having troubles keeping the puck in the offensive zone. The Wild outplayed the Vipers in the first two periods really needed to capitalize on some of their chances. Wenatchee couldn't put the Vipers away up two goals. This game/loss will sting after blowing a two goal lead and having a great opportunity to clinch 2nd place. With the loss, the Wild's three game winning streak comes to an end. Wenatchee's final regular season game is tomorrow night in Penticton. With the loss the Wild fall to 37-15-4-1 sit 3rd in the Interior Division are two points back of Vernon and four points back of Penticton. The Wild twitter account is reporting the Wild will finish 3rd and face the 6th place Merritt Centennials in the 1st round of the playoffs. Great to see a fan bus up for the trip from Wenatchee, made a ton of noise through out the game, cheering on their Wild. Former longtime BCJHL referee and Vernon product Darren Zupp was in attendance tonight. Wild Assistant Coach Chris Clark was a goaltender with the 2001-02 Salmon Arm Silverbacks.



Shane Kelly (Injured)
Josh Prokop (Injured-Out for the season)


Noah Kim
Jackson Wozniak
Drake Usher

Energy Player of the Game:

Jimmy Lambert (1 goal)

Three Star's:

1st Star: Niko Karamanis (2 goals)
2nd Star: Jagger Williamson (2 assists)
3rd Star: AJ Vanderbeck (1 goal)

The league website looked to have trouble with the boxscore/game summary from tonight's game. The league website had the boxscore showing suspended after the 1st and the game showing 2-2 after the 1st period. It looks like the BCHL has updated the boxscore/game summary.

Boxscore-Game Summary,

Game Report,

Text Boxscore,

Game Preview: Wenatchee @ Vernon:

Wenatchee (37-14-4-1) @ Vernon (37-14-1-4) 7pm

Tonight is the sixth and final regular season meeting between the Vernon Vipers & Wenatchee Wild. The Wild lead season series 3-2

Last Game:

Sunday, February 18th Vernon defeated Alberni Valley 4-1
Wednesday, February 21st Wenatchee defeated West Kelowna 7-6 overtime

Next Game:

Saturday, February 24th  Trail @ Vernon
Saturday, February 24th Wenatchee @ Penticton

To read more of this post, please click the "read more" button in the bottom left hand corner of this article.

Vernon Vipers Alumni Seibel Suspended:

Seibel played parts of two seasons in Vernon (2016-2018) playing in 77
games with the Vipers collecting (1-goal-12-assists-13-points). The Vipers traded Seibel and future considerations to the Alberta Junior Hockey League Bonnyville Pontiacs for forward Derek Brown January 8th 2018. Seibel never played a game with Bonnyville was traded to Salmon Arm January 10th 2018.

This is posted on the BCHL website:

22-Feb-18 The Salmon Arm Silverbacks Sol Seibel is suspended 4 games for receiving a major penalty for a blow to the head

Sol Seibel's Player Profile:

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Interior Division Playoff Race Coming Down To The Wire:

With just four days remaining in the 2017-18 BCHL regular season, the Interior Division playoff race is coming down to the wire with the top three teams (Penticton, Wenatchee & Vernon) all fighting for the top three spots in the division.

The division/league leading Penticton Vees need just a single point in one of their final two regular season games this weekend to clinch 1st place and a league record seventh straight Interior Division Pennant. If Penticton clinches 1st the Vees would host the 5th place Coquitlam Express.

Penticton Vees Schedule:

Saturday- Wenatchee @ Penticton
Sunday- Salmon Arm @ Penticton

The Wenatchee Wild sit tied second in the Interior Division in points with the Vernon Vipers. Both teams have two games left in their regular season. A Wild victory Friday night in Vernon, would clinch 2nd place for Wenatchee playing their first season in the Interior. While the Vernon Vipers who have spent most of the regular season atop the Interior Division/overall standings until January would finish 3rd.

Wenatchee Wild Schedule:

Friday- Wenatchee @ Vernon
Saturday- Wenatchee @ Penticton

The Vernon Vipers are unsure what position they will finish, but as of now know they will likely either host the 6th place Merritt Centennials or 7th place Salmon Arm Silverbacks. If the Snakes finish 2nd in the Interior, they would host the 7th place Salmon Arm Silverbacks, if Vernon finishes 3rd the Vipers would host the 6th place Merritt Centennials. The 4th place Trail Smoke Eaters will host the 5th place West Kelowna Warriors, unless Merritt or Salmon Arm can surpass West Kelowna in the final weekend of the season.

Vernon Vipers Schedule:

Friday- Wenatchee @ Vernon
Saturday- Trail @ Vernon

The race near the bottom of the Interior Division is also very interesting. Salmon Arm sits last/7th has four games remaining, while Merritt sit 6th only two points up on the Silverbacks with three games remaining. West Kelowna cant catch 4th place Trail but has needs just one victory in one of their final two regular season games to clinch 5th place in the division.

West Kelowna Schedule:

Friday- West Kelowna @ Merritt
Saturday- West Kelowna @ Salmon Arm

Merritt Schedule:

Thursday- Salmon Arm @ Merritt
Friday- West Kelowna @ Merritt
Saturday- Merritt @ Langley

Salmon Arm Schedule:

Thursday- Salmon Arm @ Merritt
Friday- Salmon Arm @ Trail
Saturday- West Kelowna @ Salmon Arm
Sunday- Salmon Arm @ Penticton

Taylor & Prokop Nominated For League Awards:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

Nominees named from each division

February 21, 2018

After stage one of voting by the league’s head coaches, a finalist has been named from each division for the BCHL’s annual awards.

For the first time in league history, the Goaltending Award is being voted on. Prior to this season, it simply went to the goalie with the lowest goals-against average and 1,000 minutes played.

Other trophies that will be awarded but are not voted on are the Ron Boileau Memorial Trophy (best regular-season record), the Brett Hull Trophy (top scorer) and the Wally Forslund (goalie tandem with the best combined goals-against average).

The coaches will submit another round of votes to determine the winner of each trophy and those will be announced next week before the start of the playoffs.

Here are the finalists for the 2018 BCHL awards:

Vern Dye Memorial Trophy – Most Valuable Player

Island – Alex Newhook, Victoria Grizzlies
Mainland – Ethan De Jong, Prince George Spruce Kings
Interior – Jasper Weatherby, Wenatchee Wild

Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy – Rookie of the Year Award

Island – Alex Newhook, Victoria Grizzlies
Mainland – Corey Andonovski, Chilliwack Chiefs
Interior – Josh Prokop, Vernon Vipers

Defensive Award – Top Defenceman

Island – Max Crozier, Nanaimo Clippers
Mainland – Colin Bernard, Langley Rivermen
Interior – Cooper Zech, Wenatchee Wild

Goaltending Award

Island – Taz Burman, Nanaimo Clippers
Mainland – Evan DeBrouwer, Prince George Spruce Kings
Interior – Ty Taylor, Vernon Vipers

Bob Fenton Trophy – Most Sportsmanlike Player

Island – Gavin Rauser, Powell River Kings
Mainland – Ben Poisson, Prince George Spruce Kings
Interior – Nicholas Wicks, Merritt Centennials

Joe Tennant Memorial Trophy – Coach of the Year

Island – Matt Hughes, Alberni Valley Bulldogs
Mainland – Adam Maglio, Prince George Spruce Kings
Interior – Bliss Littler, Wenatchee Wild

Working With Special-Needs Kids Refocused Former Viper Bigos:

Here is an article/story on former Vernon Vipers defenceman Kyle Bigos.

Bigos is in his first season with the East Coast Hockey League Quad City Mallards, spent last season with the East Coast Hockey League Idaho Steelheads. Bigos played in just two games with the Steelheads went pointless. In 34 games this season with the Mallards Bigos has (1-goal-6-assists-7-points).

After four years at Merrimack College Bigos has spent the past four seasons in three different leagues with four teams. Bigos played from 2013-2017 with the American Hockey League San Francisco Bulls, Worcester Sharks, the East Coast Hockey League Ontario Reign, Idaho Steelheads & the Elite Ice Hockey League Edinburgh Capitals. The Capitals are a Scottish ice hockey club, playing in the UK-wide Elite Ice Hockey League based in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh Scotland.

Bigos played two seasons in Vernon (2007-2009) collecting (10-goals-40-assists-50-points) in 166 regular season games with the Vipers. Bigos an assistant captain in his second and final season with the Vipers was drafted 99th overall by the NHL Edmonton Oilers in the 4th round of the 2009 NHL Draft. Bigos attended the Oilers Developement Camp two out of three years before being traded to the San Jose Sharks for Lee Moffie on July 7th 2013.  Bigos never played a game in the NHL with the Oilers or Sharks.

Kyle Bigos's Player Profile:

This was in the Quad City Times Newspaper:

Working with special-needs kids refocused Mallards' Bigos

Bobby Metcalf

Dec 21, 2017

Kyle Bigos is one of those players other teams don't like playing against.

The Quad-City Mallards defenseman is big, filling out every bit of his 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame. He's physical, with 20 fights in his professional career, and despite his minus-4 rating, Bigos is sound in his own end. He plays with a nastiness that is readily apparent and deeply ingrained.

"It’s just the willingness to compete, you want to do anything you can to win," Bigos said. "You see other guys on other teams playing the same role I do, and that makes me mad. I want to do it better for my team. I want to give my team the best chance to win. I’m a big guy. It would be kind of a waste to not use that side of my game, and I think that’s how I help my team, playing pretty hard defense."

Off the ice, the 28-year-old Bigos is completely different, a smile seemingly always on his face and sporting an easy-going, readily approachable demeanor. But once he steps on the ice, watch out.

"It’s really the professional side of it," Bigos said. "I want to get paid; I want to eat; I want a job. It’s just so much fun to shut them down and say ‘I was better than you tonight. You didn’t score on me.’ That’s where it really comes from, that fire, that desire to win. I just want to be better."

Bigos scored his first goal of the season Wednesday night and has two assists for three points in 13 games after missing a stretch with a lower body injury. He's in his fifth year as a pro after graduating from Merrimack College in Massachusetts. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and has played eight games in the AHL over his career.

But that career was in jeopardy last season when he was suspended by the Idaho Steelheads after playing in just two games.

"The playing opportunity that was presented to me wasn’t what I was looking for so that ended my season early, being suspended by the team rather than traded," Bigos said. "I don’t know what the thought process was behind it, but it kind of forced my hand."

Unable to play for another ECHL team, Bigos weighed his options. He decided it was too late to try and land a European contract after playing for the Edinburgh Capitals the year before. He contemplated retirement but decided to wait and see what options came about.

While he was debating whether or not to end his hockey career, Bigos turned his sights to his other passion. The Upland, California, native returned home and began helping children and adults with autism, working with Autism Behavior Services Inc. in Santa Ana.

That path began when Bigos was in college. Originally a business major, Bigos eventually realized his future lay elsewhere.

"Through college, one of my professors opened my eyes that I was very good with kids and connecting with children and it’d be a waste not to use that," he said. "So I changed my major to human development, started doing more community outreach work and felt the special-needs kids is where my heart is. I was really good at connecting with them."

Bigos became a registered behavioral therapist and provides one-on-one support to those who need it. His role changes from case to case, sometimes helping with academic needs, in other cases helping with motor and cognitive skills.

"I made so many friends that way and had so many great connections. It really opened up my eyes to that side of life that I don’t think I would have got if I didn’t go to college," he said. "Growing up, it was unknown to me. I didn’t have any special-needs friends or family around. Now that I do, I just feel like I was missing out. I have a very good connection with them, and I love to be around them."

All that work over the spring and summer helped him realize how lucky he was to have the option of playing hockey for another year, and he decided to return, signing with the Mallards in the offseason.

He's been a welcome addition to the team, one of its more reliable defensemen at a position where the Mallards have certainly had issues, allowing 3.64 goals per game.

"Not playing last year is hard enough for anyone," head coach Phil Axtell said. "You go from mentoring and helping special-needs kids to having to push your body to the limits for 60 minutes and not doing that last year, it’s going to be hard, but his role … he’s been a great guy off the ice and tough to play against on the ice."

Bigos' offseason work has also kept him motivated this year, throughout an injury that caused him to miss 12 games and a slow start to the season that has the Mallards in last place in the Central Division heading into tonight's matchup with the Cincinnati Cyclones.

He's still optimistic there's time to turn this thing around.

"Once you’re missing something in your life, you have second thoughts about what you could have done better. So I’m definitely trying to give it all I have this year to make it the best year possible," he said. "There’s a lot of hard work, commitment and I would say love in that locker room. We’re going through some losses right now, but that doesn’t change the atmosphere or the attitude of the team.

"I think we’ve got something special. We’re just waiting to break out."

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BCHL Report:

This is posted on the website:


Published: Tuesday, 20 Feb 2018  

By: Stephen Heisler,

The BCHL Report is a weekly look at Canada’s British Columbia Hockey League.

Our final Report/Rankings of the regular season will also include the final Insider as well. We will resume BCHL coverage next week with the Playoff Update.

Now for the disclosure… the following is my opinion and not written under the influence of anything or anybody. The BCHL Insider is just that; a coach or employee with incredible insight into the league.

The actual grade scale is based on winning percentage and nothing else. That scale has been established for four seasons.


#1 Penticton (38-12-2-3 / .736) – I’m not going to get too excited about meaningless games to close out the season. Losing at Langley means much more to the Riv then it did the Vees. Penticton closes the season with a pair of games with Salmon Arm and a visit from Wenatchee.   INSIDER SAYS: The Vees only need 3 of the possible 6 points to cinch the top overall spot. They’ll have to work for it but it’ll get done.


#2 Vernon (37-14-1-4 / .705) – The Vipers’ trip out to the Island was enjoyable enough. Wenatchee and Trail visit Kal Tire Place to close out the regular season. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Two huge games for the Snakes and playing them at home is a huge help. Only one of the opponents has something to play for, and that matchup will be a great one.

#3 Wenatchee (36-14-4-1 / .700) – I like the way Wild head coach Bliss Littler is able to keep his boys focused. With a consistent 3400+ in the building, it’s always important that the boys put on a good show.  The Wild are in West Kelowna, Vernon, and Penticton this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Can’t bite off a much bigger chunk than that, but if the Wild can handle it, second or even first is in reach.

#4 Powell River (29-16-6-4 / .618) – The Kings are riding a seven-game winning streak into the final week of the season. Closing with a ten-game streak is a real possibility. That would be the prime example of going into the playoffs in nearly perfect form. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: A lot of people predicted the Kings to win the division, and the way they’re playing now is what we all envisioned.

#5 Prince George (30-17-4-4 / .618) – This group managed to lose at both Surrey and Coquitlam last week and nobody really cares. PG plays a pair at Chilliwack before playing the last game at Langley. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: No matter what happens from here on out, the Spruce Kings can measure for a spot to hang their banner, so this year is an automatic success.

#6 Trail (31-19-4-1 / .609) – Head Coach Cam Keith gets it; just keep the boys healthy before the real fun begins. The Smokies close it with games at Merritt and Vernon with the final home game with Salmon Arm. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Between proven veterans and a high end rookie class, this team is one no one wants to see in the playoffs. They have what a lot of teams lack, and that’s depth.

#7 Victoria (30-18-4-4 / .607) – The Grizz took one of three during their Interior trip. Nothing to see here, move along. Alberni Valley and Surrey visit the Q this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Alberni Valley will curl up on the porch but Surrey may swoop in looking to prove a point. Expect a #2 finish.


#8 Nanaimo
(30-20-3-3 / .589) – Like the Kings, the Clippers are on a tear of their own. Winners in eight straight, Nanaimo would love to make it ten after a pair of homes games at Frank Crane this weekend against Chilliwack and Surrey. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Nice late push, but too much ground had already been lost. Either way, at 2nd or 3rd they’ll see Victoria in Round 1.

#9 Langley
(24-19-10-2 / .545) – For the good folks in Langley, beating the Vees is always going to be a big deal. Can they carry that momentum into this weekend and beyond? That remains to be seen. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Rivermen have overachieved all year, and might just have enough going for them to win a playoff series. But not two.

#10 Chilliwack (26-23-3-3 / .527) – I’m thinking that the Chiefs are looking forward to this weekend. Getting clobbered at Powell River could not have been too much fun and there is a real chance something similar could happen at Nanaimo tomorrow night. PG visits Prospera Centre this week for a pair. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: If the Chiefs get trounced by PG, that may well mean they face each other in the first round of the playoffs. Excellent chance for a dress rehearsal.

#11 Surrey (25-22-6-2 / .527) – I’ll say this for the Eagles, I’m pleasantly surprised that they have been able to buy into Brandon West’s way of thinking and find success. Are they the dominant Eagles of the past? Not yet, but are certainly on the way back. The bus stops in Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley, and Victoria this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The message is take it one game at a time. Can’t win all three in one day. Two of the three opponents are fighting for a banner. Better be ready.

#12 West Kelowna (27-26-1-1 / .509) – WK is so close to being able to finish the season with a winning record. Doing so would be a nice way to go into the playoffs. Wenatchee visits tomorrow before the Warriors see Merritt and Salmon Arm. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Warriors most likely will finish in fifth and that means an opening round series with Trail. West K can get feisty but they’ll be better served to stay calm and healthy and with a full, unsuspended lineup for next week.


#13 Salmon Arm (23-26-3-1 / .472) – It would take all but a miracle for the Silverbacks to get back to .500 before the end of the season after getting shutout in their last two games. The Vees visit tomorrow before going back to Trail on Friday. West Kelowna visits Saturday before the bus rolls to Penticton for Sunday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: At the rate things are going, the ‘Backs are destined to slide to seventh as the Cents roar past. Like West Kelowna, their best bet is stay healthy and ready for the postseason and hope to catch someone napping.

#14 Merritt
(22-26-4-2 / .463) – The Cents can’t get back to .500, but are already into playoff hockey mode while unbeaten in their last four games. If that trend can continue through this weekend (vs Trail, WK, and Langley), Merritt will be the last team anybody wants to face in the opening round.  BCHL INSIDER SAYS: This team has a lot of guys who took Penticton to 7 games last year after sweeping the first round, and this is the time of year they like to shine, so look out!

#15 Alberni Valley (15-31-5-4 / .355) – The Bulldogs have tallied only three goals in the last four games, all losses. Alberni Valley is at Victoria early this week before hosting Powell River twice to close the season. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: As predicted early in the year, if the Bulldogs didn’t get off to a fast start, they would end up going right back into being the same ol’ Bulldogs.


#16 Coquitlam (15-38-1-3 / .298) – The Express are a game away from the end of the regular season and a new lease on life in the playoffs. Langley visits Friday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Their strength is their newfound confidence. Their weakness is the fact they just don’t have quite enough to go very far. If they win a playoff game, it’ll be a huge plus for them to grow on next season.

#17 Cowichan Valley
(9-40-5-2 / .223) – The Capitals have not won since January 17 (6-2 over Alberni Valley), a stretch of eleven games. Getting a win against Powell River or Surrey this weekend would be a nice cap on an otherwise dismal season. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Yup. Sure would. (cues up Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and skates off into the sunset).

SCALE: A 725+, B 600-724, C 475-599, D 350-474, F 0-349

Vipers Gear Up For Post-Season:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers gear up for post-season

Vernon News Staff

Feb. 21, 2018

The Merritt Centennials? Possibly.

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks? Could be.

The Coquitlam Express? Maybe.

The Vernon Vipers will play their final two BC Hockey League regular season games at home this weekend, and it likely won’t be known until after the regular season ends Sunday who they’ll face in the first round of the playoffs starting March 2 at Kal Tire Place.

The Vipers entertain the Wenatchee Wild Friday (7 p.m.) and the Trail Smoke Eaters Saturday (6 p.m.). As of Wednesday, the Snakes were in second place in the Interior Division, two points behind the Penticton Vees, who have a game in hand, and two points ahead of the third-place Wild, who also have three games left.

Should the Vipers finish second, they would play the Interior’s seventh-place team (the fifth place team in the Mainland Division, the Express, cross over to become the Interior’s eighth seed and will meet the division champion in the opening round). If they finish first, they’ll play Coquitlam. If Vernon places third, they’ll play the sixth-place team.

If the playoffs started today, Vernon would play Merritt. The Centennials, who have four games left, are tied with the Silverbacks, who have the task of finishing the season with five games in five nights. A game in Merritt was added for Thursday after it was canceled last weekend due to weather. Salmon Arm has one more win than Merritt.

Both Salmon Arm and Merritt are six points back of the fifth-place West Kelowna Warriors, who have three games left.

The Smoke Eaters will finish fourth and play the fifth-place team in the opening round.

The Vipers, 8-2 in their last 10 games, took two of three on a three-game weekend road swing.

After falling 2-1 on the Sunshine Coast to the Powell River Kings Friday, the Vipers hopped aboard a B.C. Ferry over to Vancouver Island, where they blanked the Cowichan Valley Capitals – the only team out of 17 in the league to miss the playoffs – 4-0, and finished the trip Sunday with a 4-1 victory in Port Alberni over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

Vernon jumped out to a 3-0 lead Sunday on first period goals from Jesse Lansdell, shorthanded, Jimmy Lambert and Michael Young. Brett Stapley added an empty netter. Anthony Yamnitsky made 26 saves for the win, following up his 24-save performance in Duncan Saturday for his third shutout of the year.

Young, Derek Brown, Lambert and Josh Latta scored for Vernon, who peppered Capitals goalie Michael Corson with 40 shots.

Tickets for the playoffs will go on sale at the Viper office beginning on Monday at 10 a.m.

Season ticket holders will have until noon on game day to pick up their seats or they will be released for general sale. Adult tickets for round one will be $17 while seniors will be $15.

All children and students tickets in round one will be free with Hytec, Beach Radio and The Vernon Morning Star teaming up to make that happen.

There is no purchase necessary, however each child or student will require a game ticket to be admitted.

Taylor Commits To University Of New Hampshire:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

Taylor takes offer to play for Wildcats

February 20, 2018

It’s hard to imagine Ty Taylor’s sophomore BCHL season with the Vernon Vipers going any better than it has and the latest headline is that he’s locked up an NCAA future.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound netminder has committed to play at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and is currently slated to head off to school this fall.

Taylor has recorded a 22-5-3 mark this season and leads the BCHL in save percentage (.932) and goals-against average (1.83). With a league-leading seven shutouts this season, Taylor has matched a single-season league record as well.

At UNH, Taylor will join at Wildcats program that competes in the NCAA’s Hockey East conference along with Maine, Boston College, Vermont, Providence, Massachusetts, Boston University, Northeastern, UMass-Lowell, Merrimack and Connecticut. The Wildcats play on an Olympic-size ice surface and are coached by longtime bench boss Dick Umile, who is in his 27th season with the program.

BCHL alums on the Wildcats roster this season are Michael McNicholas, Adam Clark, Cam Marks, Dylan Chanter, Joe Sacco, Marcus Vela and Liam Blackburn.

Other current BCHLers committed to UNH are Angus Crookshank and Chase Stevenson.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Vernon Vipers Concept Jersey:

I found these Vernon Vipers concept jersey's online on

Klub hokeja na ledu Medveščak Zagreb Sign Ex Vernon Viper Defenceman Noonan:

Klub hokeja na ledu Medveščak Zagreb have signed former Vernon
Vipers defenceman Garrett Noonan.

Klub hokeja na ledu Medveščak Zagreb) is a Croatian ice hockey club based in Zagreb established in 1961 that currently plays in the Austrian Hockey League (EBEL).

In 24 games this season Noonan has recorded (4-goals-12-assists-16-points).

Noonan started the season with the American Hockey League Hartford Wolf Pack. The Wolf Pack loaned Noonan to the East Coast Hockey League Greenville Swamp Rabbits October 23rd 2017. Noonan never played a game with Greenville. Noonan played in just six games with the Wolf Pack before being released October 30 2017.

Noonan split last season between the Wolf Pack & Swamp Rabbits, also attended the New York Rangers training camp last year before being assisgned to the Wolf Pack.

After four seasons at Boston University Noonan signed a Entry-Level Deal with the Nashville Predators on April 22nd 2014 also signed an amateur try-out contract (ATO) with the American Hockey League (AHL) Milwaukee Admirals. Noonan has spent the past three seasons playing in the American Hockey League & East Coast Hockey League with Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Hartford & Greenville. Noonan was drafted by Nashville in Round 4 #112 overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Noonan played one season in Vernon (2009-2010) In 58 regular season games with the Vipers Noonan collected (2-goals-16-assists-18-points).

Garrett Noonan's Player Profile:

This was posted on the Klub hokeja na ledu Medveščak Zagreb website:

News 06.12.2017

Noonan arrives in defense, Privitera goes to Zagreb's Bear Breed Change in Blessing Positions:

American Garrett Noonan arrives, Alexx Privitera leaves ...

Garrett Noonan (26) will strengthen Medvescak's defense. It is a player coming from a hockey family, given that his two older brothers, Coleman and Pat, also worked professionally with hockey.

Noonan was born in 1991 in Norfolk, Massachusetts, and made the first serious hockey steps for the Catholic Memorial School (USHS League) and Vernon Viperse (BCHL) with whom he won the championship title this season. In 2010 he enrolled at Boston University where he spent four seasons in which he became the captain of the team with a total of 144 games (81 points).

In 2011 NHL draft was chosen by Nashville Predators, but he decided to stay at the university so neither he ever played at NHL. By leaving the university he played at AHL (89 matches and 15 points for the Milwaukee Admiral and Hartford Wolf Pack) and ECHL (102 games and 63 points for Cincinnati Cyclonese and Greenville Swamp Rabbits). Medvescak is the youngest European club after he has decided to leave North America. This season has started in Hartford and I say 'Wishing for Success and Evidence in the New Environment'.

Noonan will join the Medvescak team today and should play for the Zagreb team against Vienna's first-ever Vienna caps on Friday. With Noonan coming from the club, Alexx Privitera leaves.

'The club and Privitera jointly agreed to terminate the contract and terminate the co-operation. In his place we immediately bring Garrett Noonan, whom we believe will quickly adapt to the game and fit into the team. Alexxu Attaché is grateful for his cooperation and we want him the best in the season and his career, 'said Sports Director Aaron Fox briefly.

Alexx Privitera played for Medveščak this season for 23 games, achieving 1 goal and 4 assists. Medveščak joined Privitera at the beginning of the season's preparation. Before Medveščak he played at ECHL, more accurately for Manchester Monarchs, and had 19 games on loan at AHL's Ontario Reign.

Grizzlies Retire Vipers Alumni Volpatti's Jersey #19

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Revelstoke Grizzlies retired former Vernon Vipers forward Aaron Volpatti's jersey #19 on Saturday night.

Volpatti never drafted spent four years at Brown University before signing as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks on March 22, 2010. Volpatti played parts of two and a half seasons with the Canucks before being claimed off waivers by the Washington Capitals on February 28th 2013. Volpatti played parts of five years in the NHL with the Capitals & Canucks before retiring in 2015.

Volpatti played three seasons in Vernon (2003-2006) In 137 regular season games with the Vipers Volpatti collected (13-goals-24-assists-37-points).

Aaron Volpatti's Player Profile:

This was posted on the Revelstoke Current website:

Number 19 Worn By Aaron Volpatti Memorialized To The Rafters

By Editor -
February 18, 2018
Every parent has a dream that their children will grow up to be healthy, happy, kind and caring people. That is arguably the main hope for loving parents to have for their children.  Success is another hope they desire to witness for their young ones. When those kids grow up to become healthy, caring and successful individuals, what parent would not be proud.

On Saturday, February 17th that is exactly what Tony and Lana Volpatti had a chance to witness as their son, Aaron Volpatti had not only his Minor Hockey Jersey retired to the rafters, his Revelstoke Grizzlies Jersey was lifted as well. Number 19 has been forever memorialized with the Volpatti name written in bold.

Aaron had his family lined up on centre ice as Acting Mayor, Connie Brothers delivered a speech of recognition for Aarons success in the world of hockey. With friends and family in attendance, Aaron, who is rather humble to begin with was clearly touched.

When Aaron spoke, he was gracious and spoke from the heart. He did not have a perfectly polished
speech, a grandiose list of reasons as to why his name was lifted to the ceiling, only that he has a love for Revelstoke, the game of hockey as well as the wish to keep the younger generation inspired to play Canada’s national pass time.

After the ceremony, as the Midgets played against Trail, Aaron’s Father, Tony Volpatti shared with the Revelstoke Current what this day meant to him.

“When we first found out, I was just as excited as when he put on a Canucks jersey. Look at all these kids out there, they are just like Aaron was. They play with their hearts, and it is ok to be average as long as you try your best. They come to this arena and it is fun, not old or stale, it’s fresh every time.” Tony shared with pride.

Long time announcer for the Revelstoke Minor Hockey, Dennis Berarducci has been watching Aaron play since he was a little kid. Berarducci shared just how much this recognition means to him.

“Aaron was never the player that stood out. He was not flashy, but he was always in the mix.  He progressed through Minor Hockey and at the age of 16-17 he played 1-1/2 seasons for the Grizzlies and then progressed to the BCJHL Vernon Vipers where he really excelled. He received a scholarship from Brown University and was noticed by a few NHL clubs and ultimately wound up playing for the Canucks. Aaron has made revelstoke very proud, as well as his family. I know as a friend and fan that Aaron has given back and continues to do so. R.M.HS is very proud to have teamed up with Aaron and family to make Hockey Day in Revelstoke a huge success.”

With the Forum buzzing all day long with Novice all the way through to the Grizzlies, Hockey Day in Revelstoke was a charming day and an open door for the young ones to see just how possible it can be to be a success.

On a side note, After the event was all wrapped up, the jar that was labeled “Delete Dennis’ Moustache” with cash donations placed inside. After a total of $277.00 raised, Dennis was forced to shave that 50 year old Tom Selleck ‘stache for the greater good of minor hockey.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Former Vernon Viper Pierce Named Assistant Coach For Canada’s National Sledge Team:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Luke Pierce has been named assistant coach for Canada’s National Sledge Team at the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Pierce had spent the previous two seasons with the Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice before being fired June 2 2017.

In two seasons with the Ice Pierce went 26-100-16-3. Pierce was also an assistant coach with Canada’s national men’s under-17 team this past summer & an assistant coach for Team Canada/Team Red at the 2017 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in November. Prior to joining the Ice Pierce spent the previous six seasons as Head Coach-GM of the Merritt Centennials. Pierce was named BCHL Interior Conference Coach of the year in 2013 played his final year of Junior hockey in Vernon (2003-04) after being acquired from the Merritt Centennials for future considerations on June, 10th 2003. In 53 regular season games with the Vipers Pierce collected (7-goals-21-assists-28-points).

Luke Pierce's Player-Coaches Profile:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

BCHL & CJHL alums in Pyeongchang

February 16, 2018

In the Paralympic Games which run March 9 to 18 in Pyeongchang, there is a former BCHL player and coach who will be on the bench with the men’s sledge hockey team. Luke Pierce, who played for the Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers in the BCHL before a Canadian University career at Royal Military College, is on head coach Ken Babey’s staff as an assistant. Pierce was also a head coach in the BCHL with Merritt, winning the league’s coach of the year award in 2013.

This was posted on the Hockey Canada website:

On to the next one

Fresh off a medal-winning experience at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Luke Pierce is sliding into his new role with Canada’s National Sledge Team

Katie Brickman

December 4, 2017

Luke Pierce’s year has been a whirlwind, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

In June, Pierce was relieved of his duties as head coach of the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. Already signed up to serve as an assistant coach with Canada Red at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, he added more Hockey Canada responsibilities when he joined Canada’s National Sledge Team an assistant.

“The coaching journey is never linear. You never really know where it is going to take you,” Pierce says. “When Shawn [Bullock, senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams with Hockey Canada] first threw the idea by me, it was out of left field, but I took some time to talk to some people that have done it.

“Right from day one, it seemed like something I really wanted to do. I think as trying as my time was in Kootenay, this was a great reset button.”

The Merritt, B.C., product has spent eight seasons behind the bench, joining the coaching ranks as soon as he finished his university career with the Royal Military College in 2009.

Pierce was general manager and head coach of his hometown Merritt Centennials of the B.C. Hockey League for six years and head coach of the Ice for two before being replaced after the team was sold this summer.

“I think the greatest part about coaching is constantly learning,” he says. “The moment you stop making mistakes and stop learning is when you are done. I loved my time in Merritt, but it was certainly time to move on. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity in Kootenay.”

Now it’s on to para hockey, and a new challenge – helping get Team Canada ready for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

“This was a cool opportunity and I am excited,” Pierce says. “My timing couldn’t have been better … these guys have been slugging away at this for four years and I got to slide right in at the time when we are headed for glory.”

Pierce will serve as assistant under head coach Ken Babey, who has been with Team Canada since 2015. The 2017 World Sledge Hockey Challenge will be the first time the two have been behind the bench together, but Babey believes Pierce will be a great fit.

“Luke is a former player and a good communicator, passionate about the game and team orientated – those are all things that we are looking for in a coach that works on our staff and our team,” says Babey. “He is also within the age group of some of our players, so I think he can help with bridging the gap in communication and working with the players on an individual basis.”

The learning curve has been steep for Pierce; he has had to absorb a lot in a short period of time to get ready for Charlottetown. Para hockey is especially different from the stand-up game from a tactical perspective, not to mention understanding the personalities of the players, and the culture of the team.

“My biggest concern was if it was a different game, but I have been surprised with how little it does vary. Obviously, there are some things that are different about it, but the game stays the game,” said Pierce.

“I was shocked at how incredible these athletes are and the pace of the game that they play at and their skill level. It has been good for me to try and find new ways to help them because they are already masters at their sport. I am trying to bring little things that we can add to create wrinkles for other teams.”

Pierce also won’t hesitate to lean on his previous international experience; he was an assistant with Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge in addition to his U17 position this season.

In northern B.C. last month, Pierce helped Red to a silver-medal finish.

“The U17s was a great experience. Short-term tournaments are all about peaking at the right time, staying patient and building towards that final goal,” he says. “For me and this role, I can focus on those little things that might go unnoticed. Ken has a great handle on the rest of the stuff and I will do whatever I can to support so we peak at the right moment.”

And when this para hockey ride is over?

Pierce isn’t sure where he will end up next, but he isn’t too worried. The hockey world is a small one, and when this chapter ends, he’s excited for a new one to begin.

“Right now, this has been a great dose of reality. What these guys have done and what they have overcome is inspiring,” he says. “I am going to enjoy the hell out of this. If something comes along next, which I am sure it will, I will be a bit more grounded.”

Vernon Vipers Spring Prospect Camp:

This was posted on the Vipers website:

Vernon Vipers SPRING Prospect Camp

The Vernon Viper Prospect camp will be held April 20th-22nd 2018 in Vernon, BC. Each player will be guaranteed at least 4 games (Depending on playoff schedule). Camp will begin Friday afternoon and conclude Sunday afternoon.

Head Coach Mark Ferner and his staff expect the pace and compete level of the camp to be very high with players trying to earn permanent positions on the Vipers for the upcoming season.

“Past camps have seen players competing at a high level for roster spots on one of the most prestigious JR A programs in Canada. At the completion of this Showcase camp we will provide players  feedback on where they reside within our organization. We have tremendous opportunity for players to be able to come in and play prominent roles within our hockey team.”

If you require further information please feel free to contact the Vipers office at 250-542-6022.

Player Requirements:

• Age Category: Players born through the years 1999-2003
• 2017-2018 Team: Players must have a minimum level of Midget AAA playing experience
• Goaltenders: Final goaltender acceptance into the camp MAY be delayed until mid-March

To complete registration please click the link.




Kevin Kraus
Assistant Coach
Vernon Vipers

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Williamson Plays In Career Game 200

Vernon Vipers fourth year forward-captain Jagger Williamson played his 200th career game today in the Vipers 4-1 victory in Alberni Valley.

Jagger Williamson's Player Profile:

Vernon 4 Alberni Valley 1

Scoring Summary:

1st Period:

4:26 VER Jesse Lansdell (16) ASST: Jagger Williamson (31) (SH)

7:05 VER Jimmy Lambert (21) ASST: Chris Jandric (25)

15:24 VER Michael Young (9) ASST: Keyvan Mokhtari (14)

2nd Period:

14:08 AV Christian Simeone (12) ASST: James Orban (9) 

3rd Period:

18:40 VER Brett Stapley (24) ASST: None (EN)

Vernon outshot Alberni Valley 32-27 Anthony Yamnitsky made 26 saves in the win, while Brock Lefebvre made 28 saves in the loss.

Boxscore-Game Summary,

Evan Hammond's Alberni Valley Bulldog's Blog,

Game Report,

Text Boxscore,