The Vernon Vipers finished their successful exhibition season 3-1-1 following a 4-4 tie with the Prince George Spruce Kings in B.C. Hockey League play Saturday night at the Prince George Coliseum.
“It was a game filled with powerplays and penalty kills; there wasn’t much five-on-five played,” said Vipers’ interim coach Kevin Kraus. “It was a weird way to work on our special teams.”
The Vipers clipped the Spruce Kings 4-3 in overtime Friday night at Kal Tire Place.
Both teams came to an agreement both nights to play the unscheduled extra frames. With no winner after the first five-minute, four-on-four period on Saturday, the game ended in a stalemate after five minutes of three-on-three.
Vipers’ goal scorers in Prince George were Trever Fider, Anthony Latina, Mackenzie Bauer and Linden Hora.
Jarrod Schamerhorn started both games in net against the Spruce Kings, but Kraus has already given the nod to Vernon product Danny Todosychuk for the opener.
“We will see how it goes; we are going to use both guys this year,” said Kraus.
The Vipers play for keeps Friday afternoon against the Cowichan Valley Capitals in Chilliwack at the Prospera Centre during the BCHL Showcase.
“It’ll be good. The Showcase is always exciting for our players. All the teams in our league will be there along with plenty of NCAA and NHL scouts,” said Kraus, who played for the Vipers from 2008-2010. “It’s also provides a great chance for us to see all the other teams in our league before we get to play them.”
The Vipers will also meet the Victoria Grizzlies Saturday afternoon in Chilliwack.
Kraus, who stepped in as head coach following Jason Williamson’s departure, has liked the way his team looked in the preamble to the regular season.
“We are a hard-working team with an offensive ability. We work hard, we’re gonna score and take care of it on defence as well,” said Kraus. “We still haven’t really seen Liam (Coughlin) or Luke Shiplo in games yet and I know they are going to be a big add to our team.”
Shiplo has committed to Western Michigan Mustangs for next season and second-year Coughlin has been sidelined nursing bumps and bruises.
The Vipers’ brass made their final cuts, releasing defencemen Chris Harpur from Ontario and Liam Feeny from Massachusetts.
Spruce Kings’ grad Jujhar Khaira had a goal and a fight in the first 40 minutes while Jackson Houck (fourth rounder in 2013), Mitch Holmberg, who put up 118 points with the Spokane Chiefs last year, and Kyle Platzer also scored as the Edmonton Oilers lost 5-4 to the Winnipeg Jets Monday at the NHL Young Stars camp in Penticton. The Oilers rookies, including former Vipers Connor and Kellen Jones, face the University of Alberta Golden Bears tonight in Edmonton. The Oilers went 2-1 in Penticton.