UPDATED 11:48 a.m. Sunday: An issue with the ice at the main arena has forced the B.C. Hockey League’s Vernon Vipers to move their scheduled 2 p.m. exhibition game with the Brooks Bandits next door to Kal Tire Place North. The issue was discovered at Kal Tire Place Sunday morning.
The Vernon Vipers will put a wrap on their B.C. Hockey League pre-season slate today (Sunday) with a match against the defending national Junior A champion Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
The Bandits are coming off back-to-back losses in Penticton against the Vees, 5-2 Friday and 6-3 Saturday.
Vernon saw its pre-season record drop to 1-2 as they fell 4-2 at home Friday to Salmon Arm with the Silverbacks salvaging a sweep of the home-and-home series.
The Vipers won 5-4 in overtime Wednesday at the Shaw Centre.
The Vipers had a lot of good looks and plenty of shots at the Salmon Arm goal Friday, firing 41 shots in total, but could only find the back of the net twice.
Salmon Arm scored on the first shot of the game but Connor Sleeth scored his second consecutive goal against the Gorillas (had the OT winner Wednesday) to pull Vernon even. The ‘Backs got another before the end of the frame and led 2-1 after one.
Vernon dominated the second-period thanks to four powerplay opportunities. The Vipers hit the goal post twice but it was Salmon Arm who had the only goal of the period, taking a 3-1 lead into the final 20 minutes.
The visitors extended the lead to 4-1 just 16 seconds into the period on a wraparound goal. JoJo Tanaka-Campbell got the Vipers’ second goal with 12 minutes left in the game.
“There were some missed opportunities tonight offensively that I would have liked our group to finish,” said Vernon head coach and GM Jason McKee on the team’s website. “I didn’t think we engaged enough in the hard areas of the ice and we need to be more committed and competitive in battle situations.”
The Vipers trimmed the roster to 25 with Sunday’s pre-season game remaining.
Vernon begins the regular season Friday night in West Kelowna against the Warriors. Vernon’s home opener is Friday, Sept. 20, against the Victoria Grizzlies.