Vipers’ forward Ben Sanderson skids to a stop while looking to make a shot on Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ goaltender Ethan Langenegger during their Nov. 10 game at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Vernon Vipers lose to Merritt and Salmon Arm over weekend

Snakes play in Trail Wednesday night

Despite two close games over the weekend, the Vipers failed to sink their teeth into a win while on the road.

Vernon lost 4-3 in both Merritt Friday night and Salmon Arm Saturday.

The Vipers wasted no time in hitting the scoreboard against the Silverbacks with the first goal at 1:27 by Michael Young (assisted by Elan Bar lev wise and Alex Swetlikoff). Young’s shot from the right faceoff circle squeaked past a screened Ethan Langenegger. That came less than a minute after Trevor Adams nearly cracked the scoring 52 seconds in, but his shot went off the post.

Halfway through the first period, Salmon Arm’s Olson Werenka tied it up, assisted by Sol Seibel and Trevor Adams.

Firing a slapshot into the top left corner, Young put the snakes back in the lead with assists from Josh Latta and Mitch Andres. The Viper lead continued for the second period as neither team managed to score.

The second period didn’t get off to a good start for Salmon Arm as they took a penalty just 13 seconds in. The best chance on the Vipers power play would belong the Silverbacks though as Noah Wakeford was set up by Nick Unruh on a 2-on-1, but Aidan Porter made a spectacular save to keep his team in the lead. With just under two minutes left, the Vipers would go down on an odd-man break, but Sebastian Streu, who will represent Germany at the upcoming World Juniors, was stopped by Ethan Langenegger.

Salmon Arm doesn’t lose at home. That was a message in the second intermission trailing 2-1, and the team responded with force in the third. Jonathan Krahn tucked a shot inside the left post just 27 seconds in tying the game, and Hudson Schandor got set up by Trevor Adams 4:30 in to give Salmon Arm their first lead of the game.

Vernon surrendered a goal in the final minute two weeks ago in their own arena and returned the favour to Salmon Arm in the Shaw Centre. On a power play, a point shot rebounded out and former Silverback Josh Latta was able to knock it in to even the game with 31 seconds left.

Overtime was dominated by Salmon Arm who got three glorious chances before eventually winning it. Andy Stevens was set up on the backdoor from Noah Wakeford two minutes in, Matthew Verboon was stopped alone in front of the goal, and with a minute to go Nick Unruh was set up by Wakeford but Porter was able to stop them all. Eventually, Olson Werenka would finish the game on a rush set up by Nick Unruh. With two goals on the night, Werenka doubled his season total coming in and now sits at four goals.

Every meeting between Salmon Arm and Vernon this season has ended in a 4-3 score. Every game has gone beyond 60 minutes, and every result has favoured the Silverbacks.

Related: Silverbacks winning streak ended by Penticton Vees

Vernon’s loss against the Merritt Centennials saw the same score.

Sebastian Streu had the first goal in the first period, Ben Hegelson scored in the second and Teddy Wooding in the third.

Vernon plays in Trail Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against the Smoke Eaters.

Snake Bite

Vipers forward Alex Swetlikoff is among seven BCHL players on the National Hockey League Central Scouting’s updated Players to Watch List. The list is a prelude to the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft and 19 current Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) skaters are among those ranked.

See: NHL Central Scouting eyes Vernon’s Swetlikoff

Swetlikoff is in the C Skaters Group, meaning he could possibly be selected in the fourth to sixth rounds of the 2019 NHL Draft in June in Vancouver.

The 17-year-old Kelowna native has six goals and nine assists for 15 points in 20 games with the Vipers.

Continuing to top the CJHL contingent is Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) forward and 2017-18 CJHL Rookie of the Year Alex Newhook, who is ranked on the A Skaters list, which indicates him as a potential first-round selection for the 2019 NHL Draft this June in Vancouver.

Two other CJHLers are still tabbed in the B Skaters category that has them as possibly second or third round selections.

They remain centre Massimo Rizzo of the Penticton Vees and defenceman Layton Ahac, who is a member of the Prince George Spruce Kings.

Joining Swetlikoff from the BCHL in the C Group are Harrison Blaisdell of the Chilliwack Chiefs; Lethan Leyh of the Langley Rivermen; and Alexander Campbell of the Grizzlies.

– with files from Salmon Arm Observer

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