Vipers add Jersey star

Vernon Vipers bring in New Jersey product Peter McMullen as captain Pat McGillis recovers from injury.

With Vernon Vipers’ captain Pat McGillis out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain, head coach/GM Jason Williamson needed a replacement.

He found one in Peter McMullen, a former high school hockey star with the Delbarton Green Wave of New Jersey. The 6-foot-2, 200 pound forward led Delbarton with 46 points on 25 goals and 21 assists last season.

Pending his transfer approval, McMullen is expected to make his Viper debut tonight at Wesbild Centre as Vernon looks for redemption after Saturday’s 6-2 B.C. Hockey League loss to the Penticton Vees.

Vernon visits the Trail Smoke Eaters Saturday night at Cominco Arena before hosting the Prince George Spruce Kings in a 4 p.m. tilt Sunday afternoon at Wesbild.

Despite Saturday’s end result, Williamson said: “It was a pretty evenly played game. We got knocked down a notch, but we grew as a team through that. It sounds weird to say it, but a few losses might have been good for us.”

Vernon (7-2) trails Penticton (7-2-0-1) by a single point in the Interior Conference race.

McMullen, who started the year with the USHL Omaha Lancers before coming to Vernon, is the son of Peter McMullen Sr., executive vice-president of the New Jersey Devils.

Williamson didn’t speculate on what might happen when McGillis returns to the lineup. The Calgary native hasn’t played since the Vipers’ 4-1 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs on Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, Adam Boytink fired a goal and two assists as the last-place Smoke Eaters upended the Vees 4-3 Wednesday night at Cominco.

A pair of goals by Penticton’s Connor Reilly and singles by Trail’s Josh Roberts and Tim Colsh had the teams tied 2-2 after the first period.

Vees’ keeper Chad Katunar was pulled after allowing three goals on 15 shots. Rajan Sidhu welcomed replacement Michael Garteig with a powerplay goal at 10:12.

Travis St. Denis, a former Smokie, pulled Penticton within a goal later in the period.

SNAKE BITES: Former Viper Andrew Hammond, now with the NCAA Bowling Green State University Falcons, was named Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s Goaltender of the Week. The White Rock native recorded his first shutout of the season, had a .980 save percentage and allowed just one goal in the Falcons’ two wins over the Alabama-Huntville Chargers.