Head coach Mark Ferner’s message was simple enough: “Be aware of who you’re playing against when you’re on the ice.”
The Vernon Vipers apparently missed the memo as they had a six-game B.C. Hockey League win streak snapped in Friday’s 5-4 loss to the Coquitlam Express at Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre.
Doing the damage for the Express was perhaps the most dangerous line in the BCHL – Corey Mackin, Brett Supinski, who are first and second overall in league scoring, and Brendan Lamont, who is 15th. The unit was in on each of Coquitlam’s goals, with first star Supinski recording the hat trick and two assists and second star Mackin earning five helpers.
Lamont added a goal and two assists in support of netminder Chris Tai, who made 40 stops for his 13th win in front of 300 fans.
“That line killed us last week in Vernon (Vipers won 5-3, but the Mackin line scored all three Coquitlam goals), and they killed us (Friday) night,” said Ferner.
“They’re not overly dynamic, but they don’t need to be. They don’t need a lot of opportunities because they’re good at putting the puck in the net. They scored on their chances.”
The Vipers, who stayed overnight in Surrey before visiting the Merritt Centennials Saturday at Nicola Valley Arena, are second in the Interior Division at 28-12-1-2. Coquitlam, earning just their third win in their last 10 outings, is 17-24-1-4.
The third-place Centennials (24-17-0-2), who trail Vernon by nine points, bowed 4-1 to the BCHL leading Penticton Vees (35-7-2-1) Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The Vipers got off to an ideal road start by scoring twice in the opening five minutes. Colton McCarthy needed just 35 seconds to put Vernon on the board, pocketing his fifth of the season, assisted by linemate Nicolas Rasovic.
“The kicker there is, he had a breakaway before that,” said Ferner, crediting McCarthy for recovering the puck behind the net and coming out front to score.
“He found that quiet area.”
Thomas Aldworth (34th goal), with solid puck support from third star Liam Finlay, made it 2-0 at 4:46. Supinski (36th) replied for Coquitlam just 32 seconds later, and Lamont (18th) equalized at 10:45.
Ferner suggested the Vipers were guilty of being cocky after building the early lead.
“The mentality that we have sometimes is ‘it’s going to be point night,’” he said. “We made too many mistakes. Things we talked about before the game, we ignored.”
Finlay (20th) restored the Viper lead 5:56 into period two after Aldworth hustled to get to a puck before dishing off to the rookie speedster. Finlay finished with a couple of nice moves on the Express d-man and Tai.
Coquitlam took the lead for good on snipes by Jackson Cressey (10th, powerplay) and Supinski (37th), who scored with 35 seconds to go in the middle frame.
Supinski (38th) completed the hatty on a third-period man advantage before Finlay (21st) capped the scoring, assisted by Rasovic and Anthony Latina.
Vernon netminder Danny Todosychuk was relieved by Jarod Schamerhorn after allowing five goals on 17 shots. Schamerhorn recorded three stops.
The Snakes host Merritt Wednesday (7 p.m.) at Kal Tire Place. The Salmon Arm Silverbacks (19-16-3-5) are in Vernon Friday.