Snakes set for title defence

The Vernon Vipers picked up some hardware at the Best Western Vernon Lodge.

They hope there will be more to come as they embark on a B.C. Hockey League Fred Page Cup title defence, which started against the Westside Warriors Tuesday night at Wesbild Centre.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven Interior Conference semifinal goes tonight in Vernon, after which the series heads to West Kelowna for Games 3 and 4 Friday and Saturday night respectively at Royal LePage Place.

At the banquet, heart-and-soul captain David Robinson was named Most Valuable Player. The 20-year-old captain, who led the Snakes with 32 regular-season goals, also earned the Coldstream Truck Parts Shorthanded Goals Scholarship.

Malcolm Lyles’ explosive style helped him pick up both the Fan Favorite and Top Defenceman Awards. Hands down the Vipers’ hardest hitter, Lyles also led all Vernon defenders with eight goals for 30 points.

The Leading Scorer Award went to Dylan Walchuk, who posted 24-32-56 in 55 games.

Veteran Bryce Kakoske earned the Blue Liners Scholarship, as well as the Riene Holland Community Service Award.

Fellow 20-year-old forward Kyle Murphy received the Unsung Hero Award and also pocketed the Bill Brown Award for Academic Excellence.

Energy forward Colton Sparrow locked up the Sun Valley Source For Sports Most Improved Player Award.

Both the Most Sportsmanlike Player and Wayne Buck Memorial Award, given to the player who exemplifies work ethic and unselfish play, went to Patrick McGillis.

Underrated blueliner Brett Corkey collected the Rookie of the Year Award.

The Vipers dominated the regular-season series against the Warriors at 4-0-1-1, but head coach Mark Ferner believes this series might be closer than that record indicates.

The Warriors led the BCHL with an average 4.10 goals per game. The Vipers boast the Interior’s best goals against average at 2.35.

“If you look at their numbers, they can score,” said Ferner. “It’ll be a very entertaining series.”

The Warriors advanced to the second round by stuffing the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-0 in a fight-filled Game 7 Saturday night at Royal LePage Place.

Grayson Downing led the Warrior offence with a pair of powerplay goals. Captain Alex Grieve, named this week’s BCHL Player of the Week, chipped in with a goal and two helpers. Kevin Boyle recorded 33 saves for the shutout.

The Warriors Tom Kroshus and Travis St. Denis started the scraps with a tilt late in the second period. In the third frame, Westside’s Izaak Berglund and Trail’s Logan Proulx and Eric Walker also picked up fighting majors.

SNAKE BITES: Westside’s Max French missed Tuesday’s game serving the second of a two-game suspension. The West Kelowna native received disciplinary action for a blow to the head on Trail’s Ben Matthews in Game 6 of their first-round series against the Trail Smoke Eaters…The Vipers are organizing a fan bus to West Kelowna for Game 4 Saturday night. Tickets are $20, which includes transportation and a game ticket. Contact the Viper office at 250-542-6022 to book.