Morning Star Staff
No Slap Shot. No Youngblood. No Miracle on Ice. No D3:The Mighty Ducks.
It was all B.C. Hockey League videos for the struggling Vernon Vipers Monday at Kal Tire Place, one day after losing 8-4 to the last-place Surrey Eagles to finish a road trip at 0-3.
“We had extended video sessions,” said Viper head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “We walked them through the weekend. I told some of them they might have forced my hand here. We’re not going to panic though. If we make a move, we have to have a partner.”
The Vipers, who lost 3-0 to the Grizzlies Saturday night in Victoria, dipped to 9-10-2 and into a share of third place in the Interior Division with the Merritt Centennials.
Vernon begins a home and home series with the league-leading Penticton Vees Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The teams meet Saturday, 6 p.m., at Kal Tire Place.
The Vipers will be without alternate captain Jimmy Lambert after he sustained a head injury after an ugly hit from Victoria veteran Cole Pickup midway through the third period. The BCHL has suspended Pickup, 20, four games.
“He did everything wrong: it was blindside, hands to the head and he left his feet,” said Ferner, of the Pickup major. “We still haven’t heard on our appeal of (Riley) Brandt’s 10-game suspension.”
Steven Jandric fought Pickup after the hit.
Brandt was assessed the lengthy penalty for a hit on Merritt’s Michael Van Unen, who was unhurt on the play.
The Vipers gave up two shorthanded goals in Victoria and one in Surrey.
“Basically, their (Victoria) penalty killers were better than our five guys on the powerplay,” said Ferner. “We didn’t work hard enough. We took it for granted because our powerplay has been very good.
“It was a grind in Victoria; one of those struggles where neither team was giving up a lot.”
Niko Karamanis (8th), Jandric (7th), Christian Cakebread (5th) and Hunter Zandee (3rd) counted Viper goals versus Surrey.
D-man Chris Jandric rolled an ankle in Victoria and is on injured reserve.
First star Jeffrey Stewart pulled the hat trick for Surrey, who moved to 6-12-2, good for a share of fifth spot in the Mainland Division with the Coquitlam Express, 6-0 losers to the Wenatchee Wild Saturday night before 2,208 fans at the Town Toyota Center.
Charlie Combs led Wenatchee with two goals. Combs, who has 11 goals in his past four games, has accepted an offer to play at Bemidji State University starting next season.
The native of St. Louis leads the BCHL with 24 goals. He is second in the league in overall scoring with 35 points, trailing only teammate Brendan Harris. He had a streak of three consecutive hat tricks snapped against Coquitlam.
Desi Burgart bagged 2+1, while Darius Davidson produced 1+3 for the Eagles, who clicked three times on the power play. Cole Demers let in five goals before giving way to Ty Taylor for the third period before 580 fans at South Surrey Arena.
In Victoria, the Grizzlies got third-period goals from Lucas Clark, Tyler Welsh and Justin Michaelian and 22 saves from Matthew Galajda. Demers took third star with 27 saves in front of 800 fans at the Q Centre.
Vernon products Spencer Hewson and Matt Kowalski each scored as the Nanaimo Clippers upended the Cents 7-0 before 1,325 fans Sunday at Frank Crane Arena. Hewson, the Clipper captain, has four goals. Kowalski has six.
Ex-Viper Blaine Caton garnered his sixth of the season as the Trail Smoke Eaters lost 5-3 to the West Kelowna Warriors in front of 900 fans Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.
Vernon’s Powell Connor, a rookie d-man, registered his first BCHL goal, into an empty net, as the Chilliwack Chiefs iced the Cowichan Valley Capitals 3-1 Saturday in Duncan. Ex-Viper Derek Osik added his fourth for the Chiefs (13-5-3).
The Chiefs shaded the host Powell River Kings 7-6 in double overtime Sunday before 900 fans at Hap Parker Arena. Ex-Viper D Callum Volpe rang up three helpers for the Kings.
Chris Klack garnered 2+1 as Penticton clipped the Prince George Kings 3-2 Saturday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Attendance was 3,314.
Klack has signed a letter of intent with the Clarkson Golden Knights in Potsdam, N.Y.