It was a B.C. Hockey League game that was well in hand that got really out of hand.
The Vernon Vipers were happy with their 7-4 win over the host West Kelowna Warriors Saturday night at Royal LePage Place, but they were on the losing side when it came to suspensions resulting from a late-game line brawl.
Both Viper netminder Danny Todosychuk and forward Riley Brandt were each handed six games, while d-men Brandon Egli and Ryley Booth earned four and two games, respectively. For the Warriors, forwards Brett Mennear and Kade Kehoe each received four-game suspensions, and d-man Kyle Marino will sit two.
Vernon head coach Mark Ferner and West Kelowna bench boss Rylan Ferster will each sit a game as well.
The suspensions were based on guidelines in the Junior A Supplement, and both clubs are appealing the decision. The matter was still in front of a BCHL appeals committee at The Morning Star’s Thursday afternoon press deadline.
“It’s disappointing; six seconds left and we’re shorthanded and we had guys out there who weren’t looking to start anything,” said Ferner.
“We’re going to try to change what’s been handed down, but it might be tough.”
Vernon, fourth in the Interior at 6-4-0-1, has been forced to call up four players, including a goalie, for tonight’s tilt against the third-place Merritt Centennials (7-4) at Kal Tire Place. The Snakes visit the first-place Penticton Vees (10-1) Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
“With the suspension, it really puts us shorthanded and we’re going to have to find some bodies to come up and play for us.”
The suspensions came at a time when the Vipers were starting to string together some solid performances. Ferner said it will be up to his players to keep the momentum going.
“It’s a good opportunity for some young kids,” he said. “That’s important and they need to take advantage of it.
“The camaraderie is getting good. It’s just a matter of letting them grow.”
Meanwhile, Ferner is dealing with a distraction on another front as Cory Clouston, head coach of the WHL Prince Albert Raiders, has alleged that Ferner told forward Colton McCarthy to leave the Raiders in order to join the Vipers.
“If that happens in our league, it’s tampering,” Clouston told PA Now’s Jeff D’Andrea.
McCarthy has been suspended by the Raiders and has since returned home to Salmon Arm.
Ferner denied any wrongdoing, adding he approached Raiders’ GM Bruno Campese about McCarthy only after he had left the team.
“I assured Bruno that I didn’t speak with the boy,” said Ferner. “There’s a lot of misunderstanding with what happened.”
The BCHL is not investigating the matter.
SNAKE BITES: Ex-Viper Craig Martin pocketed two goals and an assist as the host Trial Smoke Eaters grounded the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 4-1 Wednesday night…Forward TJ Dumonceaux will miss weekend action due to injury.