Viper rookie goalies Aidan Porter, left, and Aidan Hosein, are ready for the BCHL season. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star)

Vernon Viper crease cops ready for patrol

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Aidan Porter and Aidan Hosein are multi-sport athletes who a few years ago turned their sole focus to hockey.

For some reason, they get high on stopping shots nearing the 100-mile-an-hour mark every chance they get.

The pair of American high school grads appears to be solid goaltenders who haven’t been overwhelmed with the Vernon Vipers training camp and B.C. Hockey League pre-season action. The Vipers open the 57th BCHL season Friday night against the defending champion Wenatchee Wild (7 p.m., Kal Tire Place).

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Viper goaltending coach Travis Hoy, who learned much of his craft from Jim Bedard of the Detroit Red Wings, says the Snakes are in safe hands with the 19-year-old rookie crease cops.

“They are both really good goalies and they are battlers who work so hard,” said Hoy, 26, in his second season with Vernon. “They have really good attitudes and are really good people and want to battle for the team which stays with the Vernon Vipers’ culture.”

The Boston-born Porter has an NCAA Division 1 scholarship locked up with the Bentley Falcons 14 miles from Beantown. He is a 6-foot-2, 170 pounder who loves the Vipers.

“Everyone’s high energy, everyone’s looking forward to the season,” he said. “The team’s just great to be around and we’ve done well in the exy (exhibition) so I can’t wait to get the season going.”

Porter, who registered a minuscule 1.14 GAA with Rivers High School last season, plays somewhat of a Carey Price style, staying calm but showing athleticism when things get a touch crazy around the net.

“I think I was nine or 10 years old when I started playing. I just really liked the aspect of robbing people, like the desperation saves when they think they’ve got the goal and you just take it away. It’s a great feeling.”

Porter looked calm in exhibition play and quickly noticed the heavier Junior A shots.

“They’re all pretty good shooters. It’s a lot different from high school where you have the younger kids. Everyone can shoot in this league so you gotta be ready the entire time.

Porter, who played striker/defence in soccer and patrolled the outfield and pitched in baseball, expects a solid relationship with Hosein.

“It’s definitely gonna be competitive. I think we just have to battle every practice. We’re still gonna be friendly, we’re still gonna be friends, but again we’re fighting for the same position so we have to compete and win for the team.”

Hosein, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound net detective, is a Halifax product who set a Nova Scotia Major Midget League record with seven shutouts two years ago. He played for St. Andrew’s College last year.

He found the two-a-day practices good for endurance and the pre-season tilts fast paced. He’s up to facing stronger shooters.

“In two ways, they’re a lot better,” said Hosein. “One, they’re a lot smarter in terms of their shots and their shot selection and their placement. They’re a lot more skilled and also the quickness of their release and deceptiveness is a lot better too so you gotta be more ready for all that.”

A former lacrosse goalie who played a bunch of racket sports for fun last year, Hosein is big on entering the crease with positive vibes.

“I think that’s almost more than half the game is confidence and believing in yourself and knowing that’s your net and no one else’s when you’re in there. I think that as of last Sunday, knowing that me and Porter were going to be the guys, that they were going to be our spots for sure, took a bit of stress off and gave us more confidence for the games this weekend and obviously in camp last week.”

As for his style, Hosein said: “I like to model myself a bit like Carey Price, but mostly (Marc-Andre) Fleury. I think Fleury has a lot of intensity and a lot of good speed. He’s really jacked up for games like that. I think that’s kind of my style too. I’m not the biggest guy so speed and intensity are huge for me.”

With the Vipers missing a few returnees due to injury, including captain Jagger Williamson, Hosein says it’s tough to gain a true sense of just how good Vernon is, but he’s being told to be ready for a long season.

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