Vernon Vipers forward Liam Finlay takes a shot as Charlie Barrow of the Coquitlam Express tries to get his stick on it Friday night at Kal Tire Place.

Vernon Vipers forward Liam Finlay takes a shot as Charlie Barrow of the Coquitlam Express tries to get his stick on it Friday night at Kal Tire Place.

Ferner likes Viper progress

Four games in and head coach Mark Ferner likes how the Vernon Vipers are getting better everyday.

Four games in and head coach Mark Ferner likes how the Vernon Vipers are getting better everyday.

Of course anguish comes into play as a young, ultra-talented team finds its way in the B.C. Hockey League, and the Vipers felt major pain Friday night in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Coquitlam Express before 1,700 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Florida product Austin McIlmurray stripped Viper star defenceman Bo Pellah of the puck just inside the blueline and wired a shot past Jarrod Schamerhorn with 2:19 left in 4-on-4 OT.

“Mistakes happen,” said Odeen Tufto. “The loss isn’t on any one individual, it’s on the team. Obviously, we gotta work on our mistakes, but this is definitely a team loss. We’re sick of this feeling, losing at home, and we’ll be fired up tomorrow night.”

Tufto, a highly-rated Minnesota product who came to Viper camp known as Peter, is now going by his given first name in honour of his late grandfather by the same name.

“It’s disappointing,” added Tufto. “We played good and we battled back and we know we’re getting better, but we just haven’t been able to finish and it’s a process. We’re getting there and we’re going the best we can.”

Vernon outshot Coquitlam 46-29 and while Coquitlam’s Tygar Howat was sharp in his Express debut, Tufto wasn’t giving him too much credit.

“He was decent. He was a little shaky. We stressed shots to the net and the bounces didn’t go our way tonight. Some days, you just don’t get them, but hopefully they will come.”

Howat, 20, was somehow overlooked in the star selections. The Michigan product who recently moved to Rhode Island, has played for eight teams in five different leagues over the last three seasons, getting in 13 tilts with the BCHL Alberni Valley Express in the 2013-14 season. He was impressed with the Vipers.

“They move the puck around the zone well so I’m moving sround. Thankfully, I’ve been up here a few weeks running a lot of sprints so the lungs were holding up the whole game. I think our team did a great good job holding them off; we didn’t let them get too many back-door opportunities.”

Centre Jackson Cressey, the Express captain and lone member remaining from the team which swept Vernon in the Fred Page Cup finals two seasons ago, led Coquitlam with a pair of goals. He surprised Schamerhorn on a wraparound late in the first period and later buried a rebound in tight, giving Coquitlam a 3-2 lead early in the third.

Jimmy Lambert gave the Snakes a 1-0 lead at 5:35 of the opening 20 on a powerplay, converting a rebound after Riley Brandt’s shot from the left point.

Erik Udahl, with a floater from the ringette line which fooled Schamerhorn five-hole, equalized for the Express on a powerplay seven minutes later.

Cressey made it 2-1 Coquitlam late in the first which saw Vernon enjoy a solid edge in play. Coquitlam’s second shot on net came with 8:12 left in the opening period.

Viper captain Colton McCarthy levelled it at 2-2 on a deflection. Pellah and Tufto drew assists.

The Vipers ruled the third period with a 20-10 shot advantage but either were stoned by Howat, shot at his crest or fanned on shots.

Joe Sacco finally finished for Vernon, going top cheddar after a nice feed from behind the net by Hunter Zandee. Jagger Williamson, celebrating his 17th birthday, had the secondary assist.

Brandt and d-man Mitchell Oliver both had good looks in overtime with the Express converting on their first serious rush into the Viper zone. Ferner says Pellah’s turnover is simply part of hockey.

“I talked to him. He was in the right spot and stuff happens. I thought he played a real good game for us. I know he feels bad about himself, but we had enough chances to score a few more goals. Defensively, he was in a good spot, got stripped and the guy shot it and maybe it caught Schammy a little deep in the net.

“The process was better. We’re getting better as a group and that’s the most important thing. Yah, victories are important, but if we continue to grow and get better in certain areas, we’ll start winning some hockey games. We’ve got a good group here.”

Cressey was also high on Vernon.

“They’re fast. They’re a quick team. They really poured it on those last few minutes; we were just hanging on. They’re going to be a good team this year. The Interior’s a tough division, but I think they can be near the top.”

SNAKE BITES: Ex-Viper Hunter Bishop has signed with Krefeld Penguins of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany…Vernon summoned Cole Demers from the Major Midget Okanagan Rockets as a back-up G after Andrew Shortridge took a shot to the head in the morning skate.ernon’s Spencer Hewson scored an empty-netter in Nanaimo Clippers’ 4-2 win over Victoria Grizzlies.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Vernon Winter Carnival Cop John Fawcett (left) and Carnival director Paul Cousins are at Vernon’s Real Canadian Superstore on Anderson Way until 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, selling raffle tickets for a 2019 Polaris Snowmobile plus $1,000 worth of gear from BDM Motorsports. Tickets are $20. Only 5,000 tickets are being sold. The draw will be made Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival prize sled on display

Grand prize in Carnival raffle draw is 2019 Polaris snowmobile and $1,000 in gear; tickets $20

With a hockey stick and ice bucket to ensure social distancing, volunteers with the Kal Rotary Club collected cash during a drive-thru donation event in Vernon Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Kal Rotary seeks local non-profits in need of Dream Fund support

The deadline to apply for this year’s $105K in Dream funds has been extended to Feb. 28

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read