The Vernon Vipers’ O has put the “O” in October.
The Vipers fell 2-0 to the Chiefs in Chilliwack in a mid-week B.C. Hockey League game Wednesday in the Fraser Valley. It’s the team’s fourth consecutive loss and the third straight game the Snakes’ offence has failed to find the back of the net.
Vernon hasn’t registered a goal in three October games, and last scored when Ryan Shostak beat Cowichan Valley Capitals netminder Zach Borgiel at 10:11 of the third period Sept. 28, a goalless drought of 189 minutes and 49 seconds.
The Vernon Vipers outshot and for the most part out-chanced the Chiefs but could not beat goalie Mathieu Caron, who made 22 saves for his first shutout of the season. Max Palaga made 15 saves for Vernon.
Chilliwack had the only goal of the first period as a pass from Joey Larson found Nikita Nesterenko in the left circle and he snapped it home.
In the second, Vipers forward JoJo Tanaka-Campbell clanked a quick shot off the crossbar on a powerplay, and the Vernon forecheck caused a lot of havoc, specifically the line of Brett Fudger, Jack Glen and Shostak. Fudger came a millimetre away from getting his first BCHL goal, but Caron got a toe on it forcing it wide.
Kyle Penney gave Chilliwack a 2-0 lead on a shot from the slot against the flow of momentum. The Vipers continued to put pucks at the net, but couldn’t find the second and third chances as the period ended in a 2-0 Chiefs lead.
The third period was disrupted, briefly, when a pane of glass to the left of the Vernon net popped out of its bracket. For the 13 minutes that remained after that, Chilliwack was ruthlessly efficient shutting down the Viper attack.
Vernon had just six shots by the time Palaga was pulled for an extra attacker with 1:35 remaining.
The Chiefs killed off the remaining 95 seconds to improve to 8-4-0-1, leap-frogging the idle Coquitlam Express and taking sole possession of first place in the Mainland division. Vernon falls to 3-6-0-0, good for sixth place in the Interior Division, one point behind the West Kelowna Warriors and two up on the Merritt Centennials, who visit the Vipers Friday at Kal Tire Place (7 p.m.).
Vernon hosts Chilliwack in a rematch Saturday at 6 p.m.
—-with file from Eric Welsh, Chilliwack Progress