The Vernon Vipers have switched up their lineup in time for the home opener on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Morning Star files)

Vernon Vipers add to den for home opener

Snakes add one, lose one in time for double weekend hockey play

Just in time for their home opener, the Vernon Vipers have made some trades.

The newest snake in the den is Jackson Caller, who will make his debut in Friday’s home opener at Kal Tire Place at 7 p.m. against the Victoria Grizzlies.

The 20-year-old Kamloops product spent last year split with his home town team and the Saskatoon Blades.

In 65 games played he registered three goals and three assists.

“He’s a veteran player who really looks after his own zone. He skates well for a player of his size and can add a physical element to his game,” said Vipers head coach and general manager Jason McKee.

Caller has 210 WHL games under his belt which will add to the strong veteran presence already in the dressing room.

The Vipers also made a trade with the Wenatchee Wild, moving 19-year-old forward Nick Cherkowski in exchange for future considerations.

“Nick will get a great opportunity for an expanded role in Wenatchee,” said McKee.

“They have a great program there and he will have a chance to make an impact.”

Following Friday’s home opener, the Vipers host the Power River Kings Saturday, Sept. 21, 6 p.m.

Check out the Vernon Morning Star Facebook page for a chance to win tickets!

The Vipers edged Wenatchee Wild 3-2 Sept. 15 south of the border.

Connor Marritt and Cam MacDonald both scored and Max Palaga was perfect in the shootout.

The Vipers looked to manufacture and duplicate their effort from the third period a night ago into the opening period against the Wild.

They were able to do it, but not before the Wild generated a pair of good opportunities for which Max Palaga was up to the challenge.

The Vipers powerplay had 3 looks in the period and despite looking dangerous, couldn’t find the back of the net.

The Viper penalty kill has been locked in all season and it continued in the first period killing off both powerplay chances the Wild had.

Shots finished 16-7 in the Vipers favour, but couldn’t solve Daniel Chenard as the period ended scoreless.

In the second period, there were a lot of moving parts adding to the adversity the Vipers were forced to face. With just 5 defenders in the lineup, that number dwindled to 4 after Landon Fuller answered the bell and took on Huston Karpman in a solid tilt in front of the Viper goal.

Both teams traded opportunities on the powerplay, but neither could tickle the twine.

Following the media timeout, Dylan Herzog centered a puck and rookie Quinn Emerson touched it past Palaga to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.

The much maligned Viper powerplay was finally able to get on the board as they won a battle along the wall and Connor Marritt fed Matt Kowalski in the slot who ripped a one timer through Daniel Chenard to make it 1-1 late in period 2.

The Vipers took the lead in the first minute of the third as a scramble ensued on the far post the puck came loose to Christian Felton and he scored his first BCHL goal to make it 2-1.

The lead lasted just 25 seconds as a point shot from the Wild bounced off a pair of legs and into the back of the net to make it 2-2.

The period then went back and forth with both teams generating good chances at the net, but both goaltenders were outstanding. Regulation wouldn’t solve anything and overtime was required.

In overtime the Vipers had the edge in chances, but Chenard stood tall. Wenatchee only had one shot in the extra frame, but it was quality and Palaga made a great save.

In the shootout, Cam MacDonald would shoot first for the Vipers and ripped a hard shot on the glove side to give the Vipers the edge. Matt Dorsey shot next for the Wild and after a deke in tight was stopped by Palaga.

Vipers captain Connor Marritt shot next and rifled a shot cutting in from the right wing under the blocker of Chenard to make it 2-0.

Tyler Young had to score to keep the shootout going, but Palaga would shut the door to give the Vipers a 3-2 shootout win, improving their record to 2-1.

READ MORE: Vipers double up Warriors to win season opener

READ MORE: Vernon Vipers release 2019-20 BCHL schedule


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