Morning Star Staff
Unless the Vernon Vipers are playing in Nanaimo, Mark Ferner usually stays in most B.C. Hockey League games.
The veteran 50-year-old head coach otherwise respects referees while politely questioning calls he sees another way.
For the first time at home, however, Ferner was ejected as the Vernon Vipers fell 4-3 to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks before 2,020 fans Saturday night at Kal Tire Place.
The Viper bench boss was tossed by referee Dave McMahon after Ferner said he banged the boards to get second referee Dusty Minty’s attention at 8:56 of the third.
“He (McMahon) said I showed disrespect and embarrassed him (Minty),” said Ferner, frustrated with a series of 5-on-3 Silverback powerplays in the second and third periods. “I told him they were doing a good job of embarrassing themselves and then I was gone. They had a rough night.”
Ferner gave props to his penalty killers and defence for holding Salmon Arm to a pair of power play snipes 62 seconds apart late in the second period. His son, Mac, a d-man, left the game banging his right knee on a fall into the boards first shift. The rugged 20-year-old is sidelined two weeks.
“We had Latrell (Charleson, 20) two 18-year-olds and two 17-year-olds on dee for the rest of the night and I was proud how they battled and responded to all the 5-on-3s,” said coach Ferner. “It was great experience for them and they were fine.
At one point in the second, Hunter Zandee, captain Colton McCarthy, Joe Sacco and Charleson all received minors within four minutes. Vernon took 12 minors and Salmon Arm 10.
“Some of the penalties were very marginal, but we can’t put the refs in that position. Our kids worked hard, but time of play in our end was still killing us.”
Josh Blanchard gave the Gorillas the lead early in the opening 20 with his ninth goal of the season. D-man Kodi Schwarz upped the margin midway through the second with his second before Odeen Tufto replied for the Vipers on a powerplay, from Charleson and second star Callum Volpe.
Chase Zieky (12th) and d-man Damian Chrcek (3rd) registered the powerplay snipes for Salmon Arm to make it 4-1 after 40. Volpe, from Charleson, gave the Vipers life 4:50 into the third, with the man advantage. Volpe, a blueliner, has two goals on the year.
Tufto bagged his 11th of the season with 26 seconds to play, on a powerplay. Christian Cakebread drew the assist.
“It was a slow game; there wasn’t a lot of pace and it was difficult for the guys to get momentum going because of all the whistles,” said Silverback head coach Brandon West.
“Vernon made the most of their opportunities on the power play, and we needed to be better, but we were able to shut them down when it mattered most.”
Salmon Arm completed the home-and-home series sweep and improved to 18-6-2-1 for second spot in the Interior Division, five points ahead of the West Kelowna Warriors.
Vernon dipped to 13-15-0-2 in fourth, six points behind West Kelowna and six in front of the Trail Smoke Eaters.
The Vipers hope to snap a three-game losing skid tonight in Coquitlam against the 11-12-1-3 Express.
“They’re having a hard time scoring and they’re an unpredictable team,” said Ferner. “We better start showing more consistency because we have nine games in 20 days.”
The Snakes visit the Penticton Vees (26-2) Friday night before hosting the Cowichan Valley Capitals (14-10-1-3) Saturday at 6 p.m.
SNAKEBITES: D Bo Pellah (strepthroat) and 16-year-old F Brett Stapley (designated sitter) were in the press box Saturday…The Vipers have one card left with the trading deadline Jan. 10…F Zack Andrusiak, who Ferner plans to call up sometime this season, has 11 goals and 18 points in eight games with the KIJHL Kamloops Storm. Andrusiak, 17, of Armstrong, had two assists in 11 games with the Vipers…Viper grad Justin Bourne has joined the AHL Toronto Marlies as an assistant coach. Bourne, the son of former NHLer Bob Bourne, rang up 58 goals and 131 points with Vernon from 2001-03.