Mark Ferner turned off the video machine and did some old fashioned teaching Sunday at Kal Tire Place.
The Vernon Vipers head coach/GM, bewildered after “our worst weekend of the season,” changed the seating plan in the B.C. Hockey League team’s dressing room.
“I can’t let them come to the rink and look at the same people and have the same result,” said Ferner. “This way, they see the room from a different perspective. It’s a little thing and we’ll see if it works.”
After yielding almost 50 shots in a 3-2 loss to the West Kelowna Warriors Friday night, the Vipers allowed 50 against the league basement-dwelling Victoria Grizzlies in a 2-0 loss Saturday night at The Big Wheel.
“Our goalie’s (Andrew Shortridge) good,” deadpanned Ferner, when asked if there were any positives from falling to the Grizz (3-11-0-2). “Give them (Grizzlies) credit. Obviously, we didn’t generate enough defence or offence. We were thinking offence instead of thinking defence. We’re too easy to play against right now.
“There was no urgency, not enough compete, same thing as Friday night. We need to get past some things and get to the root of the problem. From top to bottom, it’s frustrating. We, as coaches, need to find a way to make them better. Today’s (Monday) practice was good. This group is looking for someone to lead them and that starts with myself.”
Ferner told the players in a four-hour get-it-all-out meeting early Sunday morning that he has been patient through 16 games, but is ready to make some changes. He has four open cards available and wants to get a little older and tougher.
Ferner and assistants Kevin Kraus and Kevin Pedersen will be demanding some push back tonight when the Snakes entertain the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (10-3-2). The Gorillas have won four straight and have the bulk of last year’s club back.
Salmon Arm stopped the Merritt Centennials 5-4 Sunday at Nicola Valley Arena with Vernon’s Brett Jewell registering his fourth of the season for the Cents. The Silverbacks, ranked No. 18 in the country, improved to 6-1-0-0 versus Interior Division opponents.
Nick Hutchison leads the Silverbacks with seven goals and 19 points in 15 games. The 20-year-old Hicksville, N.Y. product announced Sunday his commitment to the NCAA Division 1 Canisius College Golden Griffins of the Atlantic Hockey Conference.
The Grizzlies, who lost 4-2 to the West Kelowna Warriors Sunday afternoon, are last in the 17-team circuit with the least goals for record at 34.
Nick Guiney put Victoria ahead at 12:55 of the first period with his fifth of the season, assists going to Tyler Welsh and Cody Van Lierop before 1,670 fans.
Third-year veteran Cole Pickup (5th) added insurance at 7:26 of the third period. PJ Conlon and Mitchell Barker had helpers.
Victoria outshot Vernon 50-31, including a 21-8 margin in the third period. Matthew Galajda recorded his first shutout of the season, while Shortridge was sensational again for the Vipers (8-8-0-1).
Liam Finlay was named the Fortis B.C. Energy Player of the Game for the Vipers, who host the Trail Smoke Eaters (6-9) Friday night.
The Penticton Vees, meanwhile, are runaway leaders in the BCHL at 15-1. They are ranked No. 1 in Canada ahead of Northern Ontario’s Powassan Voodoos (12-0).
The Vees got even stronger Saturday by acquiring the rights to forward Nick Jones in a three-team deal.
To get Jones, the Vees sent forward Jason Lavallee and future considerations to the Saskatchwan Junior Hockey League’s Flin Flon Bombers for the playing rights of D Joel Webb. The Vees then flipped Webb, plus future considerations, to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Sherwood Park Crusaders for Jones’ rights.
Jones, 19, was in his sophomore season with Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Conference. The Edmonton native played in 29 games for the Buckeyes over parts of two seasons scoring once and collecting five assists. Prior to joining Ohio State, Jones had a decorated junior career with the Crusaders, compiling 52 goals and 96 points in 100 career games.