Turnovers costly as Vipers bow to Warriors in OT

Vernon Vipers fall 6-5 in double-OT to West Kelowna Warriors in BCHL play Friday night at Royal LePage Place.

Head coach Mark Ferner was glad the Vernon Vipers salvaged a point against the West Kelowna Warriors.

However, he was far from thrilled with his team’s play early on that resulted in Friday’s 6-5 B.C. Hockey League overtime loss to the Warriors at Royal LePage Place.

“We were too easy to play against,” said Ferner. “We were turning pucks over and trying to do too much with it.

“They (goals against) were just giveaways. We just weren’t strong enough on pucks and they were taking them away from us.”

Vernon, fourth in the Interior Division at 12-7-1-2, did well to get it to OT as they were down 4-1 midway through the second period.

West Kelowna’s top-four pointgetters were in on all but one of their goals, led by a two-goal effort from Jason Cotton, who is third in team scoring with 13-15-28 in 24 games. The second-place Warriors (13-6-0-5) got singles from Josh Bly (3rd), Brayden Gelsigner (10th), Jonathan Desbiens (16th) and Liam Blackburn (11th), with the 3-on-3 winner.

“It’s not a surprise they were in on it,” said Ferner. “They’re good players, and they were playing every other shift too.”

With the Vipers trailing by a pair heading into the second period, TJ Dumonceaux (6th goal) got his team on the board on a goalmouth scramble in front of netminder Andy Desautels during a Vernon man advantage at 2:42.

Goals less than a minute apart by Cotton (powerplay) and Desbiens put West Kelowna up by three, but Vernon responded shortly after on Trevor Fidler’s sixth goal, from the slot, assisted by Luke Shiplo and Anthony Latina.

“We finally started to work a little harder and we were rewarded for it,” said Ferner. “They were more physical than us early, but when we started finishing some checks we had some success.”

The Vipers converted again on the powerplay early in the third period when Luke Voltin (4th goal) drove to the net from the sidewall and banged home his own rebound.

Shiplo and second star Liam Finlay, who finished with a goal and three assists, chipped in with helpers.

Cotton’s second snipe, also on the powerplay, restored the hosts’ two-goal lead before Thomas Aldworth (11th) connected on a 5-on-3. Finlay forced OT with is seventh goal just over two minutes later. Captain Riley Guenther earned an assist.

“It was a good hardworking shift,” said Ferner. “He found one in the circle, turned and fired.”

Vernon netminder Jarrod Schamerhorn didn’t get much help in his end, and was pulled after allowing four goals on 15 shots. Danny Todosychuk recorded 12 stops in relief, allowing a pair.

“It’s not his fault our dee were coughing up pucks all night,” said Ferner, of Schamerhorn. “He’s played a lot of hockey and we needed to get Danny in there and change the momentum a little bit.”

Desautels allowed two goals on 21 shots, and gave way to Scott Patton (16 saves) to start the third period.

The Vipers visited the Langley Rivermen (12-8-1-3) Saturday at the Events Centre. They host the Merritt Centennials (14-9-0-1) Wednesday at Kal Tire Place.

The Cents fell 3-2 in OT to the league-leading Penticton Vees Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Trailing 2-1 heading into period three, the Vees (21-3-0-1) got a powerplay goal from Patrick Newell to force OT, where Tyson Jost netted the winner, assisted by ex-Viper Demico Hannoun.