Vernon Viper head coach/GM Jason Williamson will be reduced to 25 roster cards by Saturday, and with an extra forward in the fold, somebody had to go.
Landon Robin was the odd man out as Williamson sent him to the Powell River Kings for future considerations in a B.C. Hockey League trade Thursday.
“We recruited him hard, but we’ve got to push forward and live up to our expectations,” said Williamson. “We had some guys come in who played a little bit better.”
Robin, 18, was captain of Saskatchewan’s Beardy’s Midget AAA Blackhawks last season, racking up 50 points (27-23) in 33 games. He struggled early with the Vipers, but appeared to be slowly adjusting to the pace of the BCHL. He has a goal and four assists in 23 games.
With Robin’s departure, Craig Martin (leg) on injured reserve, and TJ Dumonceaux day-to-day, the Vipers have at least 12 forwards available as they begin a weekend home-and-home with the West Kelowna Warriors tonight at Royal LePage Place. Rylan Ferster’s crew visits Wesbild Centre Saturday night.
The Warriors (10-7-1-6) are three points ahead of Vernon (9-10-0-6) in the Interior Division, but are just 2-5-0-1 in their last 10 games. The Snakes have been playing their best hockey in November, going 6-3-0-1 in their last 10.
Veteran d-man Ryan Renz says the Vipers have a lot to build from after earning a weekend split against the league-leading Penticton Vees.
“We took a few strides,” said Renz, a Castlegar product. “Each game we had a chance to win. Penticton’s a tough place to win a hockey game in and when we did, it just brought everyone together.
“In practice, I could tell there’s a lot more excitement on the ice for this weekend after the success we had.
“They (Warriors) haven’t been playing their best, but I’m sure their coach is trying to get the best out of them.”
Vernon has faced West Kelowna just once so far, with Colton Sparrow collecting the OT winner in a 2-1 decision in early October. The teams tangle again Friday, Dec. 7 in West Kelowna.
“We’re going to have quite a few games coming up so this’ll be a good chance to set the tone,” said Renz.
“They don’t happen near as much any more, but any chance you get a home-and-home it builds a rivalry over the weekend. Games are more intense and physical.”
Williamson plans to start Danny Todosychuk tonight.
Meanwhile, the Vees (18-7-0-2) thumped the Salmon Arm SilverBacks 3-0 in the league’s lone Wednesday-night tilt at South Okanagan Events Centre.
Brad McClure, Cam Amantea and Troy Stetcher handled the scoring in front of Chad Katunar, who recorded 27 saves for first star.
Former North Okanagan Junior B Knight Dustin Nikkel stopped all seven shots in relief of Salmon Arm starter Adam Clark, who had 13 saves on 16 shots. The ‘Backs dipped to 10-12-1-3.