Sputtering Vernon Vipers search for offence

Jason Williamson started Saturday morning off by spilling coffee on himself. That drew laughs from assistant coach Dave Robinson.

Morning Star Staff

Jason Williamson started Saturday morning off by spilling coffee on himself. That drew laughs from assistant coach Dave Robinson.

Everything else about their meeting was serious as they tried “to sort things out” after the Vernon Vipers lost 4-2 to the Penticton Vees in B.C. Hockey League action before 1,700 fans Friday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vipers have lost three straight and Williamson was positive heading into a Saturday night home tilt against the West Kelowna Warriors.

“The desire is there,” said Williamson. “The learning curve is a little steeper than some of my younger guys thought it would be, and we expect more out of some other guys. We just have to work a little smarter.”

Ontario rookie Michael Rebry scored one powerplay goal and one shorthanded to give him a team-high seven goals on the season. He was named first star ahead of the Vipers’ Adam Tambellini (1+1) and Vees’ goalie Chad Katunar.

Wade Murphy also bagged two goals for Penticton, who lead the league table at 8-1. The Vipers dropped to 2-4-0-2, third-last in the BCHL.

Aaron Hadley (fifth) scored the other Viper goal. He and Tambellini are the only Snakes with more than two goals. The Vipers are third-last in goals for, with 21.

The Vees went 2-fo-5 on the powerplay, the VBipers 0-for-4. Penticton outshot Vernon 31-29 with Austin Smith suffering the loss.

Pearce Eviston of the Vipers and Penticton rookie Dexter Dancs went toe-to-toe in a spirited fight in the final minute of the first period.

The teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes with the Vees getting the lone goal of the second period. Murphy’s second goal came on the powerplay, with 1:20 left in the game.

“Our guys played pretty hard; we gave them all they could handle,” said Williamson. “We’re young, but we can definitely be better.”

Williamson said he would start Smith, a former Swift Current Bronco, against West Kelowna.

Former Viper Marcus Basara supplied the winner and one helper as the Warriors ambushed the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters 7-0 Friday night. West Kelowna shares third in the Interior Division with Trail at 4-2-0-2.

Elsewhere, Vernon product Tyler Steel took first star with 24 saves as the Merritt Centennials clipped the host Powell River Kings 2-1. Diego Cuglietta and Regan Soquila handled the 5-1-1-0 Centennials’ offence.

Vernon’s Harlan Orr made his BCHL debut with the Salmon Arm SilverBacks, who opened an Island swing with a 3-1 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies.

The Prince George Spruce Kings smothered the host Surrey Eagles 4-1, the Chilliwack Chiefs grounded the Coquitlam Express 6-3 and the visiting Alberni Valley Bulldogs bounced the Cowichan Valley Capitals 3-1.