Viper short on back end

Wenatchee here Friday night

Shane Kelly

The Vernon Vipers will go into Round 2 of the B.C. Hockey League playoffs with just five defencemen.

Rookie sensation Jack Judson was issued a four-game suspension for a hit to the head penalty in Game 4 of the series with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, while hulking Shane Kelly is on injured reserve.

“We’ll go with five for now,” said Viper head coach Mark Ferner. “Kelly will be ready down the road but we’re not sure when. The (Major) Midget teams are just starting playoffs this weekend so we can’t take kids from those teams.”

Vernon hosts the Wenatchee Wild in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series Friday night at Kal Tire Place. Game 2 goes Saturday in Vernon before shifting to Washington State for Tuesday and Wednesday. A fifth game, if required, would go Friday, March 23 in Vernon.

The second-overall Snakes and third-seeded Wild are expected to put on a track meet as two lightning-quick and ultra-talented teams meet for the first time ever in the post-season. Vernon and Wenatchee split the regular-season series with each team posting three home-ice wins. The Vipers outscored the Wild 17-12.

Wenatchee led the 17-team circuit with 241 goals. They gave up 40 more goals than the Vipers. The Wild get prime-time offence from 37-goalmen Jasper Weatherby and captain AJ Vanderbeck. D-man Cooper Zech is also dangerous with 11 goals and 69 points. D Slava Demin, a former Anaheim Jr. Mighty Duck who rang up 45 points, was No. 32 in NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings.

Viper centre Brett Stapley was rated No. 146 among North American skaters, while injured Josh Prokop came in at No. 175. Ferner will not tinker with the forward lines he used in the sweep of Salmon Arm.

The regular-season champion Penticton Vees meet the Trail Smoke Eaters, while the Prince George Spruce Kings tangle with the Surrey Eagles and the Victoria Grizzlies go up against the Powell River Kings in other second-round series.

Meanwhile, former Viper D Mitch Oliver has secured a scholarship with the Lake Superior State University Lakers in Sault. Ste. Marie, Mich.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to play NCAA Div-1 hockey at a top-end school like Lake Superior State University,” Oliver, 20, said in a team press release. “They have shown a lot of interest in me as a player and as a person and I can’t wait to be a part of the Lakers program. The university offers great academic options and after forming a strong relationship with the coaching staff, it was clear that Lake Superior State was the right choice for me.”

Oliver, of Kelowna, played four years (two with Vernon) in the BCHL and AJHL, amassing 28 goals and 106 points. He rang up a dozen goals and 39 points with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs this year.

Viper grad Steven Jandric of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks has made the WCHA All-Rookie Team.

The 20-year-old Prince George product compiled 4-19-23 in 36 games this season. The Nanooks finished eighth at 9-17-2-1.

Ferner, meanwhile, says Libby Wray will represent the Vipers as team governor at future league meetings. Libby’s husband, Duncan, who owned the Vipers since 1992, died in his sleep on Jan. 11, his 68th birthday.

Just Posted

Vernon man arrested with meat cleaver pleads not guilty to cop assault

Kyle Frances Larue allegedly assaulted RCMP with bear spray, meat cleaver

North Okanagan district offers tips for waste reduction

The district is emailing tips during Waste Reduction Week, Oct. 21-27

On the campaign trail: North Okanagan photographer gets up close to MP candidates

Salmon Arm’s Kristal Burgess produced photo essays for fourShuswap-North Okanagan candidates

Memorial remembers Vernon’s most marginalized

Prayers and flowers for those who have died on the streets

One year later: Vernon pot stores look back at legalization

Edibles made legal on first anniversary of recreational cannabis

Spotlight on B.C.: Liberals need at least 10 B.C. ridings to take the election

Black Press Media presents a four-part series into how B.C. will affect the federal election outcome

Kelowna pot shop looks to the future on Canada’s first cannibersary

Kelowna’s Hobo Recreational Cannabis store has been in operation since July 25, 2019

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Election brings a colourful array of elections signs

Morning Start: The whale known as Moby Dick

Your morning start for Friday, Oct. 18

Wood pellet supply a concern for Salmon Arm business

Prices increase after Pinnacle Renewable Energy steps away from bag sales

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Most Read