Power winger Steven Jandric is having an all-star sophomore season with the Vernon Vipers.
The 19-year-old Prince George product compiled 2+1 as the Vipers dispatched the Langley Rivermen 4-1 before 615 B.C. Hockey League fans Sunday afternoon at George Preston Arena.
Jandric leads the Snakes with 15 goals and 23 points in 29 games. The Alaska-Fairbanks Nanook commit supplied seven goals and 22 points as a rookie last season.
“He’s just playing between the dots,” said Viper head coach Mark Ferner. “He’s got seven goals in his last six games. It works like that sometimes. He’s moving his feet more.”
Jandric was chosen second star behind Viper newcomer Darion Hanson (32 saves) and Langley net detective Chad Cromar (31 stops).
Jandric put Vernon up 3-1 at 12:08 of the second period, the assist going to linemate Jimmy Lambert. Jandric added an empty-netter with 91 seconds to play.
The Vipers looked to their skyscraper defencemen for early second-period offence, getting goals from Cameron Trott and Cooper Watson 44 seconds apart. Trott scored his fourth of the year 36 seconds into the frame with fellow newbie Luke Gringas drawing the assist.
Jandric and Brett Stapley set up Watson for his first BCHL goal.
Ryan Barrow replied for the Rivermen 75 seconds into the third period.
Viper rookie d-man Sol Seibel took on 6-foot-6, 245-pound forward Michael McLaren in the game’s only scrap, with 20 seconds remaining.
Vernon improved to 14-12-3, good for second place in the Interior Division. The Penticton Vees, 3-2 overtime winners over the visiting Chilliwack Chiefs before 2,815 fans Saturday night, are first at 23-4.
Langley dipped to 10-13-3-2, alone in fourth place in the Mainland Division.
The Vipers shut down the injury-riddled Coquitlam Express 6-0 in front of 614 fans Saturday night at the Poirier Sports & Leisure Centre.
Hanson recorded 18 saves for his first BCHL shutout. He stopped all 14 shots he faced in the third period of the Vipers’ 4-1 loss Friday night in Wenatchee, in his Viper debut.
Hanson, who has already committed to NCAA Union Dutchmen for next year, spent last season in the North American Hockey League, playing in 34 games with the Aston (suburb of Philadelphia) Rebels, where he was named an East Division All-Star and a member of the First Rookie Team. A native of East Bethel, Minn., Hanson is 6-foot-3, 181 pounds.
“He’s kind of like Ty Taylor except he’s two years older,” said Ferner. He’s calm and he makes hard saves look easy. He’s going to help Ty as well as us.”
Michael Ufberg opened the scoring with a slap shot from the left point with six players parked in front that found its way through goalie Reid Cooper, at 8:55. Lambert assisted on Ufberg’s 4th.
Stapley added his fourth after a nice pass from Jandric three minutes later. Gingras finished a 2-on-1 just 34 seconds later, unassisted.
D-man Shane Kelly got into the action with a point shot to make it 4-0 with seven minutes gone in the second period. Gingras converted in the final minute of the stanza, from Christian Cakebread and Lambert.
Jandric connected on a sweet 3-on 2 rush to complete the offence at six minutes of the final period, assisted by Gingras and Austin Adamson.
Gingras, 18, of Langley, amassed six goals and 13 points in 109 WHL games with the Saskatoon Blades before being released. He rang up 22 goals and 43 points in just 44 games with the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget League.
“He’s physical and he can shoot it,” said Ferner, of the 6-foot, 210-pound Gingras, chosen in Round 4 of the WHL Bantam Draft. “He’s a straight-line guy.”
Vernon hosts the West Kelowna Warriors Friday at Kal Tire Place on Teddy Bear Toss Night. The Warriors were ambushed 11-2 by Wenatchee Saturday night.
SNAKE BITES: Viper grad Connor Jones scored at 3:55 of overtime as ghe Bridgeport Sound Tigers clipped the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-2 in AHL play. Former NHLer Steve Bernier drew the assist. Jones took first star before 3,366 home fans at Webster Bank Arena. Ex-Merritt Centennials Casey Pierro-Zabotel, a Penguin draft, plays for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton…Vernon’s Cole Sanford set up Josh Nicholls at 1:26 of overtime as the host Colorado Eagles shaded the Rapid City Rush 3-2 in ECHL action before 5,003 at the Budweiser Events Centre in Loveland. Sanford has 7-8-15. Vernon-born Ryan Harrison has 4-9-13 with the Eagles.