Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Devils Give Ex Viper Lord Contract Extension:

The British Elite Ice Hockey League (BEIHL)
Cardiff Devils have given former Vernon Vipers forward Andrew Lord a two year contract extension. 

The Devils are a Welsh ice hockey team that play in the BEIHL.  Lord is in his fourth season with the Devils, third as player-coach. Former Vernon Lakers defenceman Todd Kelman (1992-93) is in his third season with the Devils as Franchise Owner-General Manager.

After a scholarship to RPI (Rensselaer Poly Inst) Lord spent four years with four different teams in the East Coast Hockey League & American Hockey League.  (ECHL-Wheeling Nailers, AHL-Milwaukee Admirals, AHL-Okloahoma City Barons & AHL-Rochester Americans) Lord missed the entire 2011-12 season due to injury returned the following year playing one season in Germany with SC Riessersee before signing with the Devils last season.

Lord come to the Vipers in a trade with the Burnaby Bulldogs playing two years in Vernon (2002-2004).  In 116 regular season games with the Vipers Lord collected (22-goals-50-assists-78-points).

Andrew Lord's Player Profile:

This was posted on the Devils website:

Devils Extend Coach Andrew Lord’s Contract for 2 More Seasons


Andrew Lord will continue to lead the Devils through the 2018-19 season.

The Devils head coach has signed an extension for another 2 seasons after this one, which means that the Vancouver native will be in charge for at least the next three years.

Devils Managing Director Todd Kelman made the announcement to the team earlier today and was met with a great reception.

“I told the guys before training this morning and there was a lot of cheers and clapping. You don’t usually get that kind of reaction, but they all seem as pumped as I am to have completed this deal.

“I spoke to the owners a couple of weeks ago about offering Lordo this extension and we decided that it was better to get it done early so he knew that we are behind him and so he can focus on the season instead of worrying about his own future.

“We did the whole thing in about 10 minutes, we both wanted to get it done and he is happy with the deal.” 

Catch Kelman’s full interview with Icetime TV here, including his thoughts on Brian McGrattan and Patrick Bordeleau coming to the league, the GB game in Cardiff and the future of Zorb football.

Andrew Lord spoke about his contract extension with Icetime TV ahead of the weekend.

Vipers Take Command Of Series:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers take command of series

Kevin Mitchell

Mar 22, 2017

The Vernon Vipers scored early and often in a Game 3 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters Monday night at the Cominco Arena.

Seven different snipers connected and goalie Darion Hanson made 34 saves as Vernon humbled the Smokies 7-1. The Vipers hold a 3-0 series lead in the B.C. Hockey League Interior Division best-of-seven semifinal series. Game 4 goes tonight in Trail.

“We knew our start was going to be really, really important for our hockey team, so fortunately for us we got off to one,” said Vernon head coach Mark Ferner. “But that game was a lot closer than the score indicated.”

Trail overcame two-goal deficits against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in at least two games of the opening playoff series, but the Vipers are a different animal, and Smoke Eater coach Cam Keith knew the Smokies needed to score first and play with a lead if they hoped to derail the Vipers.

The Vipers jumped out to an early lead, scoring four times in the first period to go up 4-0. Steven Jandric beat Trail starter Linden Marshall just 62 seconds in, and Ryan Brushett slid one short-side past the Trail goalie less than two minutes later to put the Vipers up 2-0.

“Our team is playing really good right now,” said Vipers’ captain and Trail native Riley Brandt. “Our goalie is hanging in there for us. We’re just coming together as a group, we’re chipping in, doing the right things and it’s working out for us.”

The Vipers are a team built for playoff hockey with a towering defence, a quick explosive offence that plays with an edge, is balanced, and can score in bunches, and backstopped by a big-time, big-save goalie that racked up the best numbers in the BCHL in the last half of the season with a 1.85 GAA.

“I don’t pigeonhole kids into roles, I expect everyone to play the same way,” said Ferner. “I expect everyone to play good defence, neutral zone, and I expect everyone to score, I mean we’re dealing with kids anywhere from 16-20 year olds and that’s our expectation where we’re all trying to play a certain style.”

Stillwater, Minn. native Simon Sagissor set up Luke Gingras in the slot, and he wired it glove side at 12:34 to put the Vipers up 3-0 and chase Marshall. Jimmy Lambert then welcomed Zach Dyment to the Smokies’ crease, finishing an efficient cross-crease pass from Jandric with 4:43 remaining in the opening frame to leave the 2,000 Smokies fans searching for answers, as the Vipers outshot the Smokies 9-7 in the period.

“I thought we played well, we came out hard, and we came out to that big lead, which makes it a lot easier to play defence when you’re up 4-0,” said Hanson, a Union commit. “We had a lapse in the second there, but we expected they were going to push hard, and in the third period we shut it down again.”

Trail came out determined in the second, and peppered Hanson on an early powerplay but came up empty. Smokies’ d-man Troy Ring finally beat Hanson midway through the period, when the Vancouver native settled a drop pass from Luke Santerno on the rush and fired it low stick side to cut the lead to 4-1.

The Smokies had a glorious chance to cut the lead in half after Niko Karamanis was sent off for tripping but Hanson slid across and robbed Howarth on a point-blank shot, and then denied Spencer McLean in close. Moments later, Karamanis jumped out of the penalty box behind the Smokies’ defence, and Vipers’ d-man Connor Clouston hit him with a breakaway pass. Karamanis made no mistake, streaking down the left side and pulling Dyment across the crease before slipping it between his pads for a 5-1 Viper lead.

The Smokies outshot Vernon 19-13 in the period, but Hanson stayed calm, cool, and collected throughout the middle frame in repelling the Smokie onslaught.

“At the end of the day, I just try to give my team a chance to win every night,” said the Minnesota native. “Try to be a rock back there, and I feel when a team has confidence in their goaltenders they play much better.”

The Smokies had their share of chances in the third, including a Connor Brown-Maloski effort when he split the defence and walked in all alone, went back-hand-forehand then fired a quick shot, but Hanson kicked out the left pad to stymie the Smokie captain.

The Vipers added two more, with Hunter Zandee making it 6-1 and Brett Stapley finished the scoring with 7:46 to play counting his second of the playoffs.

With the Smokies demoralized, Ethan Martini fought back and dropped the gloves with Zandee in an effort to give the Smokies a lift heading into Game 4.

The Smoke Eaters will need to find a way to shut down the Vernon forwards and beat Hanson if it expects to prolong the series after tonight.

“That’s a good hockey team, and we understand that fourth one is always the hardest to win,” said Ferner. “They’ve got good players, they’re well coached, we have all the respect in the world for them, and we know tomorrow’s going to be a real tough game.”

Vernon won the second game 5-2 before 1,945 fans Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.

“We played OK,” said Ferner. “The game was closer than the score indicates since we got an empty-netter.”

It was scoreless until 15:27 of the first period when Karamanis scored to put the Vipers up 1-0.

Brett Stapley converted just 27 seconds into the middle stanza to make it 2-0, while first star Jagger Williamson clicked at 14:35 give Vernon a 3-0 margin.

The Smokies connected on a power play at 17:56 when Santerno sniped his fifth of the playoffs, assisted by Brown Maloski and Carter Cochrane. The goal came just 27 seconds into Jandric’s minor penalty for roughing.

Less than a minute later, Jandric responded with an unassisted tally.

Trying to mount a comeback, the Smokies scored at 12:57 of the third when Brown Maloski supplied his seventh of the post-season with assists going to Santerno and Andre Ghantous. Trail pulled Marshall for an extra attacker and were pressuring the Vipers when Williamson broke away and hit the empty net with 54 seconds remaining.

Karamanis had 1+1 and took second star, while Santerno was third star with 1+1.

“We’re disappointed that we weren’t able to get a win in Vernon but you have to move past it and take care of your home ice,” said Smoke Eater head coach Cam Keith.

Jandric and Lambert of the Vipers and McLean and Ryan Warner of the Smokies all received misconducts at 12:37 of the third period.’

“Emotions got ramped up a bit, but that’s to be expected,” said Ferner. “It’s playoffs.”

Smokies’ all-star forward Josh Lamframboise collided with Lambert on a Trail powerplay in the second period and didn’t return for the remainder of the game. He missed Game 3.

In other action the Merritt Centennials iced the Penticton Vees 5-1 to cut the Vees edge to 2-1, while the Powell River Kings edged the Victoria Grizzlies 2-1 for a 2-1 series lead.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Interior Division Semifinals: Game 4 Trail 5 Vernon 2


1st Period:

1:10 TRA Luke Santerno (6) ASST: Connor Brown-Maloski (4)

1:47 TRA Brady Berger (1) ASST: Mitchell Barker (3), Jeremy Lucchini (6)

3:34 TRA Connor Brown-Maloski (8) ASST: Ross Armour (5), Jeremy Lucchini (7) (PP)

14:09 TRA Brady Berger (2) ASST: Troy Ring (5)

2nd Period:

16:29 VER Jimmy Lambert (4) ASST: Steven Jandric (4)

18:24 VER Steven Jandric (4) ASST: Jimmy Lambert (3) (PP)

3rd Period:

1:02 TRA Ross Armour (3) ASST: Carter Cochrane (12), Jeremy Lucchini (8) (PP)

Vernon outshot Trail 42-18 Zach Dyment made 40 saves in the win, while Ty Taylor made 12 saves in the loss.

Boxscore-Game Summary,

Game Report,


Game Preview: Interior Division Semifinals: Game 4 Vernon @ Trail:

Vernon (3-0) @ Trail (4-4) 7pm

Tonight is the eleventh meeting of the season between the Vernon Vipers & Trail Smoke Eaters. The Vipers won the regular season series 5-2

Last Game:

Game 3 Monday, March 20th Vernon defeated Trail 7-1

Next Game:

Game 5 Thursday, March 23rd Trail @ Vernon (If Necessary)

To read more, click on the "Read More" button In the bottom left hand corner of this post.

Jandric & Lambert Recieve Honourable Mention For Player Of The Week:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

Galajda grabs BCHL POW honours

March 20, 2017

Victoria Grizzlies goalie Matthew Galajda has been named the BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending March 19, the league announced Monday.

Galajda stopped 86 of 89 shots while picking up a win and a shutout as the Grizzlies split the first two games of the Island finals against Powell River. The native of Aurora, Ont. stopped 56 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1 and came back to make all 30 saves in a 4-0 victory in Game 2 where he was named 1st Star.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound netminder had a .966 save percentage in the two games and a 1.26 goals-against average for the weekend. He is committed to Cornell for next season.

Honourable Mentions this week:

Chilliwack Chiefs F Jake Smith: 2G, 2A, 1st Star

Chilliwack Chiefs F Ben Fanjoy: 2G, GWG, 2nd Star

Victoria Grizzlies F Cole Pickup: 2G, 2A, 2nd Star

Penticton Vees D Gabe Bast: 2G, 1A, 1st Star

Vernon Vipers F Steven Jandric: 2G, 2A

Vernon Vipers F Jimmy Lambert: 2G, 1A, GWG, 1st Star

Monday, March 20, 2017

Interior Division Semifinals: Game 3 Vernon 7 Trail 1


1st Period:

1:02 VER Steven Jandric (3) ASST: Jimmy Lambert (2), Brett Stapley (2)

2:50 VER Ryan Brushett (1) ASST: Hunter Zandee (1), Austin Adamson (1)

12:34 VER Luke Gingras (1) ASST: Simon Sagissor (1)

15:17 VER Jimmy Lambert (3) ASST: Steven Jandric (3), Brett Stapley (3)

2nd Period:

9:52 TRA Troy Ring (1) ASST: Luke Santerno (7)

14:13 VER Niko Karamanis (1) ASST: Connor Clouston (2)

3rd Period:

2:02 VER Hunter Zandee (1) ASST: Cameron Trott (1), Chris Jandric (1) (PP)

7:46 VER Brett Stapley (2) ASST: Hunter Zandee (2), Ryan Brushett (1)

Trail outshot Vernon 35-31 Darion Hanson made 34 saves in the win, while Zach Dyment made 20 saves in the loss.

Boxscore-Game Summary,

Game Report,


Game Preview: Interior Division Semifinals: Game 3 Vernon @ Trail:

Vernon (2-0) @ Trail (4-3) 7pm

Tonight is the tenth meeting of the season between the Vernon Vipers & Trail Smoke Eaters. The Vipers won the regular season series 5-2

Last Game:

Game 2 Saturday, March 18th Vernon defeated Trail 5-2

Next Game:

Game 4 Tuesday, March 21st Vernon @ Trail

To read more, click on the "Read More" button In the bottom left hand corner of this post.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Silvertips Recall Ex Viper Anderson:

The Western Hockey League Everett Silvertips have recalled former Vernon Vipers forward Keith Anderson from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

The Vipers signed Anderson October 21st 2016 after being released from the Western Hockey League Victoria Royals. Anderson played in 12 games this season with the Vipers (3-goals-1-assist-4-points) before being traded to Alberni Valley November 24th 2016 for future considerations.

Keith Anderson's Player Profile:

This was posted on the Silvertips website:

Tips Recall RW Keith Anderson from Alberni Valley (BCHL)

February 22, 2017

EVERETT, Wash. – The Everett Silvertips (@WHLSilvertips) of the Western Hockey League and general manager Garry Davidson announced today that right wing Keith Anderson has been recalled from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (BCHL).

Anderson, 19, was originally listed by the Silvertips and previously skated in 39 career WHL games with the Victoria Royals, scoring a goal and adding five assists along with 37 penalty minutes. He skated in 33 games with six points and a +3 rating for the Royals last season, who captured the league’s Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy for top record in the regular season.

With Alberni Valley, the 6-foot-4, 205 pound forward has eight points (4g-4a) in 29 games and last season added four points in 12 games for the Vernon Vipers (BCHL).

The native of Hermiston, Ore. Was originally selected in the sixth round (115th overall) by Victoria in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.

Vipers Shut Down Smokies In Game 1:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers shut down Smokies in game 1

Kevin Mitchell

Mar 19th, 2017

Jimmy Lambert knocked Trail Smoke Eaters’ goalie Linden Marshall’s cage flying with a wicked shot from the left slot and minutes later struck iron with a long wrister. Those chances came in the second period.

Lambert finally delivered 2:11 into the third period when he turned a tiny hole into a huge win for the Vernon Vipers in Game 1 of the B.C. Hockey League Interior Division best-of-seven semifinal series.

Steven Jandric counted an empty-netter from the ringette line with three seconds remaining as the Snakes shut down the Smokies 2-0 before 2,136 fans Friday night at Kal Tire Place. Game 2 goes Saturday, 7 p.m., in Vernon.

Lambert, who had 19 snipes in the regular season, brought the house down as he scooted down the right wall, cut towards the net and fooled Marshall with a low wrister.

“I got a great pass from (d-man) Michael Ufberg up the middle of the ice and I think I caught their d-man (Ethan Martini) a little flat-footed and was able to kind of walk around him and the goalie was cheating a little bit over the glove side and I found a little hole low, blocker side, and it was lucky to go in,” said Lambert, a Saskatoon product.

The Smokies, coming off a strong 4-1 series win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, had some Grade A scoring chances.

Kale Haworth split the Vernon defence at the blueline and cruised in untouched, only to be stymied by league-leading goaltender Darion Hanson with 3:11 left in the opening 20.

Viper centre Brett Stapley was stoned by Marshall in the deep slot on an all-planet glove stop with 11.8 seconds to go in the same period after a gorgeous feed by Steven Jandric.

Trail captain Connor Brown-Maloski, who has played 215 BCHL games, rattled a shot off the crossbar behind Hanson, in tight, with 2:45 remaining in the middle stanza.

Smokie speedy winger Josh Laframboise had a couple of good looks as Marshall hit the bench in favour of a sixth attacker with 59 seconds to play.

The Vipers were healthy and anxious for real-time action after a 20-day first-round bye.

‘The series is going to be a war; we know we’re not going to sweep them, we know we’re going to lose a hockey game,” said Brown-Maloski, of Kamloops. “For us, in this dressing room, we have to take the positives. It was their first game in three weeks and we knew they were going to come out flying. I think we did a good job; we just couldn’t put the puck in the net. The game could have went either way. Both teams had good chances. We’re happy with our effort, but we’re just focused on tomorrow night and making sure we give it our best effort and see what happens.”

The Smokies were without injured/sick forwards Ryan Moon and Ryan Murphy. Vernon held a 35-26 shot advantage. Both teams went 0-for-3 on the powerplay.

“They’re a good team,” said Lambert. “They’re very skilled, fast and a quick transitioning team. Our mindset the whole time was to try and get their dee turned around and getting pucks and getting tired. I think we executed that pretty well and I guess it took its toll on them.”

Viper captain Riley Brandt, a Trail native facing his first cousin Spencer McLean and a few close friends, was sporting a ‘Ride As One’ t-shirt while cooling down outside the dressing room.

“We had a solid 60-minute game,” said Brandt. “Hanny stood on his head for us and other than that, we had a terrific defensive game and we were lucky to get that goal in the third period.”

The Vipers were definitely aware of the Smokies’ dangerous unit of Howarth, Laframboise and Luke Santerno.

“We tried to limit their speed and time and space and I think we did a really good job shutting that line down and they had nothing else,” said Brandt.

Former Viper Blaine Caton, a Vernon minor hockey product patrolling centre for Trail’s third line, believes the Smokies can be better in Game 2.

“They have one of the best goalies in the league so we need more shots, more traffic, make sure he can’t save it because if he sees it, he’s going to stop it. We have to get our second chances and get in there to the greasy areas. We were nowhere close to where we could be and were in the last series. I don’t think we’re down at all. We’ve just got to come out tomorrow night and we’ll be a different team for sure.”

There was a few punches and shoves exhchanged at the Trail bench at the second-period buzzer after Smokie d-man Carter Cochrane’s shoulder popped out and Viper d-man Shane Kelly rocked a few bodies all over the place.

Lambert, Hanson and Marshall were the three stars. Hanson has a scholarship to the Union Dutchmen, while Marshall has committed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute RPI) Engineers. Viper F Austin Adamson was chosen the Fortis Energy Player of the Game.

Brown-Maloski says the Smokies weren’t about to hold any pity parties back at the Vernon Lodge.

“We know we’re a good team and I think we’re a great team when we believe that, and there’s no doubt in our minds even though we lost Game 1. We know it’s going to be a long series and it’s going to be tough on them too and they’re going to make it tough on us. It’s a process and you’re not going to win it in one game.”

Brown-Maloski says the Smokies try to keep things simple on the road, where “you gotta make your own energy.”

In other second-round series openers, d-man Gabe Bast supplied a deuce as the Penticton Vees grounded the Merritt Centennials 4-1 before 3,030 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre, the Chilliwack Chiefs iced the host Wenatchee Wild 3-1 in front of 3,150 fans at the Town Toyota Center and the visiting Powell River Kings clipped the Victoria Grizzlies 3-2 before 833 at the Q Centre.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Interior Division Semifinals: Game 2 Vernon 5 Trail 2

I have had season tickets for the past 27 years and been following Junior hockey in Vernon for well over thirty years. Ive missed only three home games since 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 Interior Division Semifinals Game 2 Vipers-Smoke Eaters game as Vernon defeated Trail 5-2 in front of 1,945 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Darion Hanson
Trail Linden Marshall

1st Period: Trail would jump on an early powerplay just over a minute into the contest. Inside the opening minute a huge hit in the corner inside the Smokies zone, caused some problems with the side gate. A minor delay to fix the gate before the play resumed. The Smoke Eaters struggled with the man advantage, couldn't get any real sustained pressure or generate any opportunities as Vernon would kill off the minor. The Smokies didn't quit, kept battling and would eventually get some good pressure in the offensive zone. Four minutes in Shane Kelly's point shot was redirected on it's way to the goal, just sailing over top of the net. A minute later Darion Hanson was forced to make a tough save with traffic in front. The Smokies come ready to play, had lots of jump/energy in their game and carried the better of the play early. About seven or eight minutes in both teams really picked up the physical play, as several hits were being tossed around from both hockey clubs. Just before the halfway mark Darion Hanson was once again forced into making a difficult save with a Trail player skating through the crease. Just past the midway mark the Snakes would get their first look with the powerplay. The Vipers struggled with the man advantage as the Smoke Eaters killed off the penalty. About a minute later Connor Clouston & Connor Brown-Maloski got tangled up behind the Vernon goal, as the two engaged in some words-shoving match, before Clouston gave Brown-Maloski a crosscheck as the two were sent to the penalty box. Seconds later Trail would get their second look with the powerplay, before taking a minor of their own. Both teams played a little four on four before the Vipers would get a late shortened powerplay. On the PP Cameron Trott spotted Niko Karamanis going to the net, beat Linden Marshall at the side of the net, giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 15:27 Trott and Chris Jandric picked up the helpers. On the following shift captain Riley Brandt on a wrap around couldn't beat Linden Marshall down low, making a big stop shortly after giving up a goal. Shortly after Jimmy Lambert couldn't connect on a pass, had a great opportunity with the wide open cage. With two and a half minutes remaining the Snakes fired the puck into the offensive zone, the puck would hit-bounce off defenceman Ethan Martini before Linden Marshall was forced to make a difficult save as Martini just about put the puck into his own net late in the period. It was 1-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. I thought the Smoke Eaters were ready to play, got off to a good start, come at Vernon hard, with a strong attack, carried a lot of the play in the first half. Trail couldn't capitalize on an early powerplay a minute in but had some good control with the puck. The Snakes didn't see much time in the offensive zone early, had more zone time in the second half. Very few shots/scoring chances at both ends of the rink in a very feisty-emotional period. Trail outshot Vernon 8-7.

2nd Period: Just twenty seven seconds into the middle frame, Brett Stapley stepped over the blue line before ripping a hard shot from well out that beat Smoke Eaters starting goaltender Linden Marshall giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 0:27 Connor Clouston & Cooper Watson with the assists. Jesse Lansdell left the Vipers bench early, made his way to the dressing room with the trainer, would be ok and return later. On the Smokies side Joshua Laframboise took a huge hit along the side wall, was slow heading off the ice, looked to have hurt-injure his shoulder, made his way to the Trail dressing room and didn't return. The Smoke Eaters would get an early powerplay just over five minutes into the frame, but again couldn't seem to generate much for offence. The Vipers were able to kill off the minor before Trail would gain some good pressure after the powerplay. Just before the halfway mark Jagger Williamson with a quality chance couldn't solve Linden Marshall. At the midway mark Brett Stapley and Ross Armour would mix it up in front of the Viper net, with traffic in front of Darion Hanson. The two would be sent off to the penalty box. A few minutes later Trail would get their second look of the period with the powerplay, but shorthanded Riley Brandt setup Jagger Williamson on the two on one attack, Williamson beat Linden Marshall giving Vernon a 3-0 lead at 14:35 Brandt and Shane Kelly collected the assists. Brandt and a Trail defender would get tangled up behind the net after the goal, as the two took some swings at one another before Brandt skated away. The Snakes with a huge kill were up by three. With 2:31 remaining Steven Jandric setup Luke Gingras who one on one fired a lazer of a shot from the circle beat Linden Marshall far corner looked to give Vernon a commanding 4-0 lead before the goal was called off. The play was blown dead before the goal after Jandric was given two minutes for roughing on the play before the goal was scored. It was still 3-0 Vernon. Mark Ferner and the Vipers were upset as the Viper bench was giving it to the officials. The Vipers would spring Jagger Williamson in for the shorthanded breakaway who was denied by Linden Marshall coming up with a big stop. The Smoke Eaters looking pretty loose on the powerplay would eventually get on the board after Connor Brown-Maloski's shot was tipped in front by Luke Santerno cutting the Vernon lead to 3-1 at 17:56 Brown-Maloski & Carter Cochrane with the helpers. But just seven seconds later Steven Jandric with revenge on his mind scored a highlight reel goal going hard to the net, sliding the puck under Linden Marshall giving Vernon a 4-1 lead at 18:03 Jandric's goal was unassisted. Tempers heated up again just over a minute later after more pushing and shoving as emotions starting getting carried away on both sides. It was 4-1 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. Once again I thought the Smokies were the better of the two teams in the first half. I thought Trail had more puck possession and more time in the offensive zone. The Smoke Eaters didn't generate many quality chances but still carried the slight edge in play. The turning point was obviously the Snakes shorthanded goal giving Vernon a commanding 3-0 lead. The Vipers don't get this goal and Trail scores on the powerplay, we have a one goal game. It's now 3-0 instead of maybe 2-1. I thought the Vipers stepped up their play and forecheck in the second half. Vernon with two big goals in the second half, giving them a three goal lead heading into the 3rd. Emotions and tempers boiled over in a heated 2nd period with several altercations taking place through out the frame. Trail outshot Vernon 13-11.

3rd Period: The Snakes jumped on Trail early, with a strong forecheck Vernon carried the play early and often. Kyle Chernenkoff went down in a hurry in front of the Smoke Eaters bench, was attended to by the team trainer, was ok and stayed in the game. I didn't see what happened, I figure he either took a stick or puck to the face area. The Vipers would get an early powerplay but unable to capitalize with the man advantage. The Snakes with good pressure, had a few good looks, couldn't find the back of the net. Vernon was all over Trail for the entire first half, as the Smokies needed twelve minutes to record their first shot of the period. Steven Jandric with a nice move down low, was denied by Linden Marshall in close on a smart play by Jandric. The Vipers would get their second look with the PP at the half waymark, once again had lots of good pressure, unable to capitalize. Shortly after killing off the minor a big scrum forced several players to get involved. After the melay was broken up Steven Jandric, Jimmy Lambert, Ryan Warner & Spencer McLean were all given ten minute misconducts and forced to leave the game. On the following shift Luke Santerno setup Connor Brown-Maloski going to the net, beat Darion Hanson cutting the Vernon lead to 4-2 at 12:57 Santerno and Andre Ghantous picked up the assists. Less then a minute later the Smokies would lose any kind of momentum after taking a penalty, sending Vernon back to the powerplay. A big penalty kill by Trail before getting a late powerplay of their own. Down two goals the Smoke Eaters would get Linden Marshall to the bench for the lengthy five on three. Trail with good pressure, had troubles getting pucks to the net after a strong defensive play by the Viper penalty killers. The Snakes with a very aggressive penalty kill, were able to kill off the minor before the Smokies called a late timeout. With Marshall still on the bench for the extra attacker, Niko Karamanis from his own blueline did all the hard work to get into the offensive zone, drove to the net was hauled down before getting the puck out front to Jagger Williamson who found the back of the open cage, giving Vernon a 5-2 lead at 19:06 Karamanis with the lone helper. The Snakes would wind down the clock to come away with the 5-2 victory, taking a 2-0 series lead. The Vipers come ready to play to start the 3rd looked like a team on a mission, were strong with the puck, had a ton of zone time early, carried most of the play, dominated the first ten minutes, playing most of the first half in the Trail zone. Other then a few good looks & the odd quality chance I didn't think Vernon had a lot of grade A chances in that 3rd period. Trail on the other hand, had troubles getting control of the puck-getting out of their own end. The Smoke Eaters would eventually get control of the play in the second half, needed to capitalize on the powerplay to get within a goal but struggled. The Vipers were the better team in the final frame. Vernon outshot Trail 16-4.

Top Player's: (Vernon)

Cooper Watson (1 assist) I thought played a very smart-strong game through out the win. Watson was very good at both ends of the rink, made some smart defensive plays but also made some strong heads up plays moving the puck up ice.

Ryan Brushett I thought played very well for a second straight game. Was really skating well, moving the puck. This kid has a ton of skill, but just dosnt have the finish around the net. Has some very skilled-soft hands, was making several good plays through the neutral zone.

Jagger Williamson (2 goals) Stepped up his game scoring twice. Played with energy, was skating hard, going to the net, strong on the penalty kill, aggressive on the forecheck, battled-competed. Scored a huge 3rd goal shorthanded to give the Vipers a 3-0 lead.

Niko Karamanis (1 goal & 1 assist) Had a heck of a game, picking up two points was very strong with and without the puck. Really used his speed and drive to the net, to get rewarded on both his goal and assist. Was also very good on the penalty kill, blocked at least two if not three shots on the PK. Battled-played hard all night.

Jimmy Lambert I thought was shutdown in Game 1 had troubles finding open ice last night, stepped up his play in Game two, found open ice, used his speed and skill to create-generate chances through out the game. Played with lots of jump/energy, dug deep to find open ice, played hard all night. Was going to the net-looking for opportunities.

Luke Gingras didn't stand out at first but seemed to get better and play better as the game went on. I didn't really notice the Viper forward until about the midway mark of the 2nd period, really picked up his game, battled-played hard, was aggressive on the puck, winning the battles down low, was also laying the body-getting under the skin of a few Trail players. Competed all night.

Steven Jandric (1 goal) Also was checked hard last night, couldn't seem to find any open ice, but like Lambert stepped up his game tonight. Really used his speed, played with a ton of jump-energy, was really flying tonight. Was driving to the net-rewarded with the Snakes fourth goal late in the 2nd period.

Chris Jandric Played very well on the blueline. I thought made some smart plays through out the night.

Darion Hanson (23 saves) I don't think was forced into making any big stops like in Game 1 was forced into making a few difficult saves in the opening period, played well through out the night.

Game Thought's: (Vernon)

The Vipers didn't control or carry the majority of the play like in Game 1 had to play hard-compete to earn their goals and the victory tonight. Vernon who carried most of the play-dominated most of Game 1 had to work hard, battle and earn their goals-win tonight. A totally different game compared to last night. I thought the Snakes played a much more complete game-sixty minutes last night. I thought Trail come to play tonight and for the first two periods, had a slight edge in play. The Vipers had to play a lot more in their own end tonight, needed to work hard to earn their goals tonight. I thought Vernon really stepped up their play in the 3rd and ate most of the 3rd period by controlling the play for at least the first half. Tonight saw a lot more emotion on both sides, as tempers heated up at times. Both teams were hitting-playing physical. I thought the Vipers capitalized on their chances, didn't get as much zone time as in Game 1 had to work harder. I thought the Snakes did the little things that don't come up on the score sheet, blocked several shots on the penalty, put their body on the line on several occasions, diving for loose pucks, diving to make a play etc. You could really see tonight that these kids have bought into the coaching staff and their team mates, in the way they played tonight. How big was Jagger Williamson's 2nd period shorthanded goal? If the Snakes don't score here, & Trail comes back and scores on the powerplay, it's now 2-1 not 3-0. The Vipers with a huge win in Game 2 now head to Trail for Games 3 & 4 Monday-Tuesday. The next game is huge for either team. Former Vipers forward Trevor Keenan was at tonight's game.

Top Player's: (Trail)

Kyle Chernenkoff I thought battled hard, played very well on the backend. 

Luke Santerno (1 goal & 1 assist) Was the Smokies most dangerous forward. Was going to the net often, hard to defend against. A good skater-has some skilled hands, dangerous in and around the net.

Troy Ring Was another Trail defenceman I thought played a strong game. Played well at both ends of the rink, was jumping up into the rush, getting pucks to the net, played well.

Game Thought's: (Trail)

After a 2-0 loss in Game 1 I thought the Smoke Eaters played a much better game in Game two. Trail who was outplayed-dominated for most of Game 1 looked & played liked a different team in Game 2. This was a much better effort-performance. The Smokies come ready to play tonight and played well for most of the night. I thought Trail carried the better of the play at times in the first two periods, had a slight edge in play but didn't generate-create enough offensive chances. I thought the Smokies had good pressure at times, couldn't seem to get any real quality opportunities. I thought Trail did a better job at checking Vernon's top line last night, gave this line more time and space tonight and it showed. On the bright side the Smokies did a better job at shutting down the Zandee, Brushett and Adamson line, where as in Game 1 these three were the Vipers best unit. The Smoke Eaters are going to have to try and find a way to get on the board first, and create/generate more chances. Giving up the shorthanded goal in the middle frame to fall behind 3-0 was a killer. Shortly after Trail gets on the board to get within two but couldn't hold off the Viper attack, falls behind three for a second time. Down 4-1 heading into the 3rd was a huge hill to climb and it looked like Trail ran out of gas come the final frame. The Smoke Eaters just didn't have that same intensity in the 3rd, they showed in periods one and two. The Smoke Eaters needed twelve minutes to record their first shot of the 3rd needed to capitalize on a powerplay to try and get within a goal but couldn't. I thought Trail played much better after Game 1 is going to have to re-group and get a must win in Game 3 back home. A huge loss seeing Joshua Laframboise leave the ice early into the 2nd period. With Kale Howarth out, losing Laframboise is going to hurt. Great to see a good turnout of Smoke Eater fans tonight.   



Sol Seibel
Brody Dale


Kale Howarth
Korbyn Chabot
Ryan Moon

Energy Player of the Game:

Shane Kelly (1 assist)

Three Star's:

1st Star: Jagger Williamson (2 goals)
2nd Star: Niko Karamanis (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Luke Santerno (1 goal & 1 assist)

Boxscore-Game Summary,

Game Report,


Game Preview: Interior Division Semifinals: Game 2 Trail @ Vernon:

Trail (4-2) @ Vernon (1-0) 7pm

Tonight is the ninth meeting of the season between the Vernon Vipers & Trail Smoke Eaters. The Vipers won the regular season series 5-2

Last Game:

Game 1 Friday, March 17th Vernon defeated Trail 2-0

Next Game:

Game 3 Monday, March 20th Vernon @ Trail

To read more, click on the "Read More" button In the bottom left hand corner of this post.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Interior Division Semifinals: Game 1 Vernon 2 Trail 0

I have had season tickets for the past 27 years and been following Junior hockey in Vernon for well over thirty years. Ive missed only three home games since 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 Interior Division Semifinals Game 2 between the Vipers & Smoke Eaters as Vernon defeated Trail 2-0 in front of 2.136 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Darion Hanson
Trail: Linden Marshall

1st Period: The Vipers got off to a quick start and jumped on Trail early. Just a minute into the opening period Cooper Watson's point shot was stopped by Linden Marshall who had troubles with the puck, before making a difficult looking save. Off the following faceoff Brett Stapley with a quick low shot from in close was denied by Marshall. Three and a half minutes into the game the Smoke Eaters would get the games first powerplay, on the play Riley Brandt charged over towards a Trail player, getting in his face, while Ty Taylor was getting involved

To read more, click on the "Read More" button In the bottom left hand corner of this post.

Vipers Captain Hero To Young Fan:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers captain hero to young fan

Roger Knox

Fri Mar 17th, 2017

Brooklyn Krusel was concerned in January when her favourite Vernon Vipers player, captain Riley Brandt, had his hand in a cast.

Krusel, three, obsessed with hockey, has been attending Vipers’ games since she was four months old, says her grandmother, Cathy Davies. Her favourite players this season are Jagger Williamson and Brandt.

“When Brooklyn saw that Riley was hurt, she decided all by herself that she wanted to make him a get-well card, which she did with a lot of effort and a little help from her mommy,” said Davies.

On Jan. 27, Davies and her granddaughter saw Brandt during warm-up and told him she had something to give him.

“He knelt down to her level and listened to her while she gave him the card,” said Davies. “He took the time to really read it, asked her for a hug, posed for a picture and asked her if she was going to the Skate With The Vipers on Sunday as he would love to skate with her.”

The next night, in the midst of three Vipers’ home games in three days, Brandt, and the then reigning Queen Silver Star and Princess, Madison Catt and Sneha Suniera, came to find Brooklyn and asked if she would take a picture with them.

Brandt gave Brooklyn a T-shirt signed by himself and Williamson, and the captain tracked her down after the game to give her another hug and invited her to the Skate With The Vipers after Sunday’s game.

“These kids are in the public eye but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are personable. However, we were blown away at the class Riley showed to a three-year-old dedicated fan,” said Davies.

“I’m not sure if he has any idea what that means to a young fan, much less her parents and grandparents. He made her weekend as she was beaming the entire time and has not stopped talking about Riley Brandt and his friend the Queen.”

Brandt, Williamson and the rest of the Vipers are facing the Trail Smoke Eaters in the second round of the B.C. Hockey League playoffs.

Game Preview: Interior Division Semifinals-Game 1 Trail @ Vernon:

Trail (26-26-5-1) @ Vernon (30-19-5-4) 7pm

Tonight is the eighth meeting of the season between the Vernon Vipers & Trail Smoke Eaters. The Vipers won the regular season series 5-2

Last Game:

Saturday, February 25th Vernon defeated Trail 7-1
Friday, March 10th Trail defeated Salmon Arm 7-4

Next Game:

Game 2 Saturday, March 18th Trail @ Vernon

To read more, click on the "Read More" button In the bottom left hand corner of this post.

Vernon Vipers Playoff Promo Video - Burning Down The House:

This is posted on youtube

Vernon Vipers Playoff Promo Video - Burning Down The House has put together a Vipers-Smoke Eaters playoff promo video,

Vernon Vipers Alumni On TSN & Sportsnet:

Former Vernon Vipers Associate Coach Kris Mallette (2013-14) & the Kelowna Rockets take on the Vancouver Giants tonight in Kelowna at 7:30pm on Sportsnet. Mallette is a Rockets Alumni & current Rockets Assistant Coach.

Former Vernon Vipers goaltender Joe Young (2012-13) & the Union Minutemen take on Cornell Big Red University at the ECAC Tournament tonight at 4:30pm on TSN 2 

Vipers In Good-News Playoff Mode:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers in good-news playoff mode

Shane Kelly earned a NCAA Division 1 scholarship, Hunter Zandee has been cleared for action and a few players previously in sick bay are feeling like a milliondollars.

Kevin Mitchell

Mar 17th, 2017

Shane Kelly earned a NCAA Division 1 scholarship, Hunter Zandee has been cleared for action and a few players previously in sick bay are feeling like a million dollars.

That’s where the Vernon Vipers stand as they prepare to finally open the B.C. Hockey League playoffs after a 20-day break.

Game 1 in the best-of-seven Interior Division semifinal series against the Trail Smoke Eaters goes Friday night at Kal Tire Place. The second game is Saturday back in Vernon.

Kelly is a monster defenceman with more elements than most of his peers in the league. The rookie was on NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s watch list last year and now he’s locked up a schollie with the Air Force Academy Falcons for 2018. He flew to Colorado Springs the day after Vernon’s final regular-season game against Trail, checking out the campus and having dinner with coaches and some players.

“It’s gorgeous,” said the big-time Red Wings and Tigers fan who played hoops, field lacrosse and soccer growing up. “The campus backs up to the Rocky Mountains. With blue skies and big mountains, it reminds me of B.C. It felt like a special place; it felt right.”

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound red-head out of Detroit rang up three goals and 12 points along with 97 penalty minutes in his first BCHL season.

“He’s got things you can’t teach,” said Vernon head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “He’s got a big, long reach, he’s a terrific kid and for a big body like that, he can also make great skilled plays. He has a high hockey IQ. He’s big and mean and he can defend. He will be a great college player.”

Kelly, who turns 20 in December, is one of three current BCHLers committed to Air Force, along with West Kelowna Warriors D Tyler Jutting and Surrey Eagles F Robert Johnson.

Falcons’ assistant coach Andy Berg was in the Okanagan for talks with Jutting when he watched Kelly face the Powell River Kings.

“They like my size and that I can still get my feet moving and move the puck and I compete hard,” said Kelly, who has two younger brothers in hockey.

Kelly, who also got some looks from St. Lawrence Saints in New York and Canisius Golden Griffins in Buffalo, compiled 11 goals, 38 points and 113 penalty minutes in two seasons of U18 with Victory Honda in Michigan.

The Falcons’ current roster features BCHL alums Billy Christopoulos and Matt Serratore. The Falcons compete in the NCAA’s Atlantic Hockey Association along with Bentley, RIT, Robert Morris, AIC, Army, Holy Cross, Niagara, Sacred Heart, Mercyhurst and Canisius.

Zandee, meanwhile, used the first-round bye to heal his left knee which was seriously injured on a low check Jan. 25 in Penticton. He is 100 per cent after surgery.

“That (bye) was a big thing for me,” said Zandee, a roadrunner with a ferocious forecheck. “I needed that to get fully healed. It was a long time off and I can’t wait for the playoffs to start. I’m excited about my new linemates, Ryan Brushett and Austin Adamson.”

Zandee, a Kelowna native, says the Vipers expect seven-game series throughout the Interior run. He’s been impressed with guest coach Jerred Smithson, a 38-year-old Vernon product who played 606 NHL games before retirement.

“He helps out a lot. He’s a great guy and he’s a centreman and he’s been in the league for a while. He’s helping the centreman with faceoffs and penalty kill stuff and all the roles he played.”

Adamson, a former WHLer, is thrilled to have Zandee back to the Viper lineup.

“It’s huge,” said Adamson, a Richmond resident. “He’s a great player. He brings physicality, he works hard and I think me, him and Brusher will work well together.”

The series will be tough on the Stapley family of Campbell River. Viper centre Brett Stapley will be going up against older brother Mitch, a d-man with the Smokies.

“We have a friendly wager and it will be weird playing my brother but it will be a cool experience,” said Brett. “My parents are pretty pumped up for the series.”

Brett said the brothers often played road hockey growing up, building their own rink for one winter of shinny.

“I’d say he’s a better skater; he plays defence. Maybe, I have the upper hand with the dangling.”

Students and children can pick up complimentary tickets at the Viper box office, through sponsorship of Hytec, The Morning Star and KISS-FM. The series shifts to Cominco Arena Monday and Tuesday. Game 5, if required, goes Thursday in Vernon.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Castanet Talks Vipers Playoff Hockey:

Castanet's Darren Handschuh interview's Vernon Vipers Head Coach-GM Mark Ferner,

Former Viper Goaltender Shortridge Has Been A Quick Learner:

Here is an srticle on former Vernon Vipers goaltender Andrew Shortridge.

Shortridge is in his first season with Quinnipiac University after playing one season in Vernon (2015-16). In 44 games with the Vipers last season Shortridge went 19-25 with two shutouts posting a 3.15 GAA

Andrew Shortridge's Player Profile:

This is in the New Haven Register Newspaper:

Quinnipiac freshman goaltender Andrew Shortridge has been a quick learner

By Chip Malafronte, New Haven Register

Posted: 03/09/17

HAMDEN >> When he’s not between the pipes, Quinnipiac freshman goaltender Andrew Shortridge is easy-going and unassuming.

Sitting in the team lounge following an early-week practice session, he speaks in measured tones about growing up in Alaska, his mechanical engineering classes and a team just hitting its stride in the playoffs.

That demeanor changes once he hits the ice, where his energy and will to win is apparent. He won the everyday goaltending job in January, and his numbers are among the best in the country. Since returning from Christmas break, his 1.77 goals-against average is fourth-best in the country; his .931 save percentage in that time frame ranks eighth.

Quinnipiac, which plays in the best-of-3 ECAC Hockey quarterfinals at St. Lawrence starting tonight, has won nine of the last 12 games started by Shortridge, including last weekend’s stress-free sweep of Brown.

The otherwise mild-mannered freshman has also found a knack for getting into the head of opposing shooters, either by flashing a wide smile after snuffing out a golden scoring chance or, on occasion, getting in their face to give them a piece of his mind.

“It’s unusual how that comes out sometimes,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “He’s highly competitive and has an edge to him. It’s interesting to watch because I don’t see that from him as a person. But you put the mask on, whether you’re a forward, defenseman or goalie, and things change when you get out there on the ice. He definitely has a very high compete level.”

Most goaltenders play with a quiet intensity. Shortridge only lets his emotions bubble to the surface if the situation calls for it.

“You have to be (passionate) at this level,” Shortridge said. “None of us like losing, we all love to win, that’s how we got here.”

The path to Quinnipiac began in Anchorage, Alaska, where he was born and raised. Though he was the first in his family to play competitive hockey — his parents, brother and sister were interested in scholarly pursuits, he says — he quickly fell in love with the game and its culture in coastal Alaska, a winter wonderland for outdoor hockey.

“There’s a lot of pond hockey and outdoor skates in the wintertime with friends,” Shortridge said. “We’d spend most of the day on the pond. A lot of good memories skating outdoors and having a good time. That’s what it’s all about.”

Shortridge was a three-year starter at Eagle River High, leaving after his junior year in pursuit of top-level Junior competition. There were stops in St. Louis and Phoenix before he landed in Aberdeen (South Dakota) of the North American Hockey League, where Quinnipiac assistant coach Bill Riga saw potential in the lanky, 6-foot-3 goalie and offered a scholarship.

Following another Junior season in Vernon of the British Columbia Hockey League, Shortridge arrived in Hamden last summer as an older freshman — he turns 22 next month — with a chance to play right away. Michael Garteig, a three-year starter who led Quinnipiac to the national championship game in April, graduated, leaving an open audition for the position.

Chris Truehl, an Air Force transfer in his first season of eligibility, won the starting job to begin the season. Shortridge was still in the mix early on, starting a handful of games and adjusting to the learning curve. He struggled at times, allowing five goals to Vermont in the Friendship Four final in Belfast. But a strong effort in relief at Harvard opened the door to more playing time. Shortridge has started all but two games since.

“He’s taken a big jump since Christmas,” Pecknold said. “Right now, there’s a lot I like about what he’s doing. He’s a quick learner and is able to figure things out. He’s learned how to a better goalie on the penalty kill, to play low-to-high better, how to play pucks from the corner. He’s adopting and learning quickly. Sometimes young players can fight the coaching a bit, they’re not all in, which doesn’t make sense but it happens a lot, whether they’re stubborn or immature. Kids don’t have that blind faith. Andrew has it for sure.”

Kelly Commits To Air Force:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

Kelly commits to Air Force

March 15, 2017

Shane Kelly’s college hockey career will take flight at Air Force starting in 2018.

The Vernon Vipers defenceman will play another BCHL season before heading to the NCAA Div. I program. In 56 games this season, his first in the BCHL, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound rearguard put up three goals and nine assists to go along with 97 penalty minutes.

Kelly is one of three current BCHLers committed to Air Force, along with West Kelowna Warriors defenceman Tyler Jutting and Surrey Eagles forward Robert Johnson.

Air Force is located in Colorado Springs and the Falcons’ current roster features BCHL alums Billy Christopoulos and Matt Serratore.

The Falcons compete in the NCAA’s Atlantic Hockey Association along with Bentley, RIT, Robert Morris, AIC, Army, Holy Cross, Niagara, Sacred Heart, Mercyhurst and Canisius.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Former Vernon Laker Bruce Ramsay vs Former Kelowna Spartan Curtis Head:

Former Vernon Lakers forward-captain Bruce Ramsay #20 takes on former Kelowna Spartans defenceman Curtis Head #38 during a Lakers-Spartans game during the 1989-90 season in Kelowna at Memorial Arena.

Ramsay is in his second season as an Assistant Coach with the American Hockey League's (AHL) Grand Rapids Griffins. Ramsay spent the previous six seasons with the Tulsa Oilers. Five seasons with the Oilers in the Central Hockey League (CHL) before the team moved to the East Coast Hockey League.  Ramsay has 382 victories as Head Coach with five different teams (St. Pete, Port Huron, Muskegon Fury, Muskegon Lumberjacks & Tulsa) in five different leagues (ACHL, UHL, IHL, CHL & ECHL).  

Ramsay played one season in Vernon helping the 1989-90 Vernon Lakers win their first Centennial Cup in a thrilling 6-5 overtime win over the highly favorite New Westminster Royals. In 53 games with the Lakers Ramsay collected (11-goals-11-assists-22-points). 

Bruce Ramsay's Player-Coaching Profile:

Vipers Done With 20-Day Breather:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers done with 20-day breather

The Vernon Vipers are so done with the 20-day B.C. Hockey League first-round playoff bye.

Kevin Mitchell

Mar 15th, 2017

Since they last played a hockey game, the Vernon Vipers tried curling and held a skills competition in between regular practices and gym workouts. They are so done with the 20-day B.C. Hockey League playoff bye.

The Vipers can’t wait to get the post-season dance going and it will be especially sweet for captain Riley Brandt as Vernon faces the Trail Smoke Eaters. Game 1 in the best-of-seven, second-round series goes Friday night at Kal Tire Place.

Brandt is from Trail and started his career with the Smokies four years ago. His first cousin is Smokie forward Spencer McLean and he is good buddies with d-man Jeremy Lucchini and forwards Ross Armour and Connor Brown-Maloski.

“It will be interesting and a lot of fun since I’ve got lots of family and friends coming from Trail,”said Brandt, the fiery captain who missed half the season with injury and suspension. “Brown-Maloski is their captain and he just won the player-of-the-week (4+2 in three playoff games against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks) and they’ve got a couple of good lines and some good puck-moving defencemen with some skill in Luccini and (Mitch) Stapley. They’re not an overly big team but they’re aggressive.”

Brandt, one of the fiercest hitters in the league, says the Vipers have been watching video of the Smokies to note their systems and tendencies. He says the Snakes are stoked for the playoffs, where there isn’t much difference between the four remaining Interior Division teams.

“It’s awesome; this is what you want all year, it’s like Christmas is coming. We’re all healed up and ready to go.”

Brown-Maloski rang up at least one goal in all five games versus the Silverbacks, getting 6-3-9. Trail d-man Carter Cochrane received a POW honourable mentions with 1+6. Cochrane, a 20-year-old free-wheeler with sweet hands, is with his fourth BCHL team after having a cup of mocha with Everett Silvertips and Vancouver Giants of the WHL. He is the playoff’s leading pointgetter with a dozen.

The Smokies boast one of the more productive forward units in the league in Luke Santerno (33 goals, 64 points), Kale Howarth (30G, 58PTS) and Josh Laframboise (25-28-53). Santerno is a Smithers product committed to the NCAA Bentley Falcons, while Howarth hails from Red Deer and has a scholarship to the Northern Michigan Wildcats. Laframboise is a Thunder Bay product.
Santerno and Laframboise are 20-year-olds, while Howarth is 19.

They will likely spend most of the series facing the ultra-talented Viper line of Brett Stapley, Steven Jandric and Jimmy Lambert.

“You gotta be aware of them for sure,” said Viper head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “They’re an older line with skill and a lot of offence goes through them.”

Vernon won five of six regular-season meetings with Trail, losing 3-1 at Cominco Arena Feb. 24. The Vipers ambushed the Smokies 7-1 the following night at Kal Tire Place. Vernon finished sixth overall in the 17-team BCHL with 69 points, while Trail was eighth with 58.

“They’ve had enough (of a rest),” said Ferner. “They’re ready and it should be a good series. Anything can happen.”

A crowd of 500 showed up Friday night as Viper assistant coach Kevin Pedersen ran a skills competiton.

The Vipers welcomed the Vernon ScoreHawks and a few minor hockey players for the two-hour event which saw Lambert take the fastest skater honour and d-man Cameron Trott post the hardest shot at 95 miles an hour. Brandt clocked in at 93 mph.

“The goalies (Darion Hanson and Ty Taylor) stood on their head in the shootout,” said Brandt.

The Merritt Centennials, who swept the West Kelowna Warriors, open the other Interior semifinal series Friday night in Penticton against the Vees.

Student and children tickets for the Vipers-Smokies series are free through sponsorship from Hytec, KISS-FM and the Morning Star. You must have a ticket to enter the building. Tickets are available at the box office from 9 a.m. until face-off at 7 p.m. Game 2 goes Saturday at 7 p.m.

Trail hosts the third and fourth games Monday and Tuesday with a Game 4, if required, Thursday in Vernon.