Goal-starved Snakes visit Grizz

Vernon Vipers look to snap three-game goal drought tonight against Victoria Grizzlies.

You’ll have to look back through a few boxscores to find the last time a Vernon Viper scored a B.C. Hockey League goal.

The answer to that trivia question is Michael Roberts, a Vernon product and former Viper now with the KIJHL Revelstoke Grizzlies, who did the deed 185 minutes and 16 seconds ago in a Jan. 28 win over the Merritt Centennials.

Since then, the Vipers’ usually potent offence has taken a detour down Snakebite Alley as they fell 2-0 to the West Kelowna Warriors Tuesday at Royal LePage Place. Vernon has been shut out in three straight games.

“Kids played well, we just can’t score right now,” said Vipers’ head coach Mark Ferner.

“We’re not initiating enough. We didn’t get enough second and third opportunities, and our forecheck’s not there because we’re not getting pucks deep. We’re trying to do everything off the rush.”

The Vipers (30-15-1-2), who are nine points ahead of the Warriors (24-20-0-6) for second place in the Interior Division, hurt their chances by sending West Kelowna on eight powerplays, including a trio of 5-on-3 advantages.

Liam Blackburn opened the scoring on the final 5-on-3, burying a rebound for his 21st of the season 7:10 into the third period.

With just over four minutes remaining, d-man Mac Ferner, the son of Mark Ferner, hammered home a point shot under the crossbar for his second of the year.

In just his third BCHL start, Stephen Heslop, a call-up from the KIJHL Princeton Posse, recorded 33 saves for his first career shutout.

“I didn’t know if I’d have an opportunity to play Junior A this year at all, so this one obviously means a lot to me,” said Heslop. “I’m so thankful to Bill (Posse coach Rotheisler) and Rylan (Warriors’ coach Ferster) for the opportunity to help out this team lately.”

Ferster was pleased with the Warriors’ compete level, as they were without starter Andy Desautels, d-man Kristian Blumenschein and forward Jordan Masters due to the flu.

“It was good for our guys to be in a game like tonight. They’re like playoff games now and this is what a playoff game would be like,” said Ferster, who also praised his team’s willingness to block shots. “It’s a huge part of the game and I think both teams committed to it tonight, which is what you’ll see more of down the stretch.”

Among his 24 saves, Vernon’s Danny Todosychuk recorded a pair of phenomenal right pad saves, robbing Jason Cotton in the first period and Tanner Campbell in the second period.

The Vipers leave for Vancouver Island this morning and will hope to break the goal drought when they visit the Victoria Grizzlies (22-16-1-9) tonight at The Q Centre.

Even with Vernon’s recent scoring troubles, they are tied with the Grizz for third-best offence (3.69 goals per game). Victoria has won three straight.

Until Vernon rediscovers its offensive mojo, Ferner can at least take solace in his team’s defence, which also ranks third overall (2.79 goals against).

“Defensively, we’re doing the job,” he said. “We’re limiting teams’ opportunities, but we’re not creating enough.

“We’re still in games, and that’s the positive. We’re still hanging around.”

The Vipers are in Duncan Saturday night to face the Cowichan Valley Capitals (18-28-2-2) before battling the Chilliwack Chiefs (28-26-1-1) Sunday afternoon.

West Kelowna visits the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (21-91-3-5) tonight at the Shaw Centre. The ‘Backs trail the Warriors by two points for the final Interior playoff spot.

SNAKE BITES: Vipers’ forward Luke Voltin was supposed to play Tuesday, but re-aggravated his ankle injury in the pre-game skate…Injured forward Mackenzie Bauer has been skating with the Vipers, but is questionable for weekend action.

With files from Kyle Anderson/West Kelowna Warriors.


Just Posted

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

North Westside residents can dispose of their unwanted bulky items between June 30 and July 14, 2021. (File photo)
North Westside residents can soon get rid of unwanted bulky items

Large household items can be disposed of at North Westside Transfer Station June 30 to July 14

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D area. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control to Electoral Area D; director calls for respectful discussion

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Gord with a mom and her young son outside Pathways which was defunded on May 31. (Facebook)
Gord Portman with a mom and her child outside of Pathways. The sign says it all about the difference Pathways has made in people’s lives. They were defunded by Interior Health on May 31.
Penticton man takes the plunge for the recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read