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Jerred Smithson, a centre with the Florida Panthers, positions himself to deflect a shot on netminder Austin Smith at a Vernon Viper practice Wednesday afternoon at Wesbild Centre. Smithson, a 33-year-old Vernon product, has been skating with the Snakes throughout the NHL lockout.
Graeme Corbett/Morning Star

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Vipers move into Movember

Looks like the Vernon Vipers have harnessed their mojo just in time for parents’ weekend.

Winners of three straight, and having collected eight of a possible 10 points in their last five B.C. Hockey League games, the resurgent Snakes look primed to impress the folks after a forgettable October.

The Vipers (6-7-0-5), who are growing Movember moustaches with varying degrees of success, host the Trail Smoke Eaters (8-12-0-1) tonight at Wesbild Centre. The Surrey Eagles (11-6-0-1) are in town Saturday.

“Especially after the last two wins, the guys are feeling pretty confident,” said captain Brett Corkey, who counted a goal and three helpers in Vernon’s 9-2 blowout against the Smokies Saturday night at Cominco Arena.

“Having scored a lot of goals in the last game gave a couple of the guys who have been struggling a bit more confidence.”

One reason for Vernon’s recent success is secondary scoring. Not only is their top scorer, Adam Tambellini, on fire (he has goals in four straight games), but guys like Corkey, Craig Martin and Jedd Soleway seem to be finding their groove.

And with Mitch McAllister and Logan Mick netting their first BCHL goals, it only helps the team’s confidence, said Corkey.

“They feel a lot more involved and part of the team when they get those first goals.

“Some of the younger guys are really stepping up. TJ (Dumonceaux) has played really well for us as of late. He’s gained a lot of confidence and it’s really evident on the ice.”

The only forward yet to score is Braedan Russell, who is just three games back from a two-month injury.

Russell, a gritty 6-foot-3, 205-pound winger who played with his hometown Oakville Blades in Ontario the past few seasons, is thrilled to be back in action.

“It was hard to come down here and then be out over 60 days,” said Russell, 19. “It’s a tough climb, but it feels good to be finally be back.

“Jason’s (Williamson, head coach) been bringing everyone along and it’s nice to come in when everyone is starting to click.

“Jason was trying to push us and keep us going and keep our heads up because he knew once bounces started going our way we would start winning those (one-goal) games.”

The Eagles are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and are also riding a three-game win streak. They visit the Salmon Arm SilverBacks tonight at the Shaw Centre. The Smokies are 3-6-0-1 in their last 10.

n The SilverBacks have pulled a trio of deals this week.

A day after shipping forward Brock Balson to the Penticton Vees in exchange for forward Evan Anderson and defenceman Mitch Ferguson, the ‘Backs sent 20-year-old goaltender Colin Dzijacky to Manitoba’s Woodstock Slammers in exchange for future considerations.

Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Littleton, Colo. has three assists in 18 games. Ferguson is a 6-foot, 175-pound Calgary transplant who now calls Vernon home. He has one helper in a dozen games.

Dzijacky had two wins along with a .906 save percentage and 3.46 goals-against average. In his place, Salmon Arm have signed Dustin Nikkel from the North Okanagan Junior B Knights (See ‘Backs on A22).

n Viper forward Aaron Hadley scored in regulation as Team Canada West bounced Russia 4-3 in overtime at the World Junior A Challenge Wednesday in Yarmouth, N.S.

Penticton Vees’ d-man Troy Stecher was the OT hero, scoring on a powerplay 1:22 into the extra period. The Vees’ Wade Murphy and West Kelowna Warriors’ Seb Lloyd rounded out the Canada West offence. Murphy and Alex Kerfoot (Coquitlam Express) each had two helpers in support of netminder Jonah Imoo (Powell River Kings, 37 saves).

Vladislav Gavrikov, Nikita Setdikov and Sergei Stetsenko scored for the Russians.

Canada West advances to today’s semifinals.

SNAKE BITES: Tambellini was among seven BCHLers selected to the CJHL Prospects Games, Nov. 10-11 in Digby and Yarmouth, N.S., however, declined the offer to remain with the Vipers. The 18-year-old is ninth in league scoring with 11-11-22 in 18 games...The Smokies’ Brent Baltus is on a seven-game point streak, Surrey’s Michael Stenerson has points in six straight, and Vernon’s Pearce Eviston is riding a four-game point streak...There will be a live auction for the Vipers’ special edition Movember jerseys following Saturday’s game.

 

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