The Vernon Vipers are logging more overtime than a snowplow driver in a three-day blizzard.
Friday night represented the Snakes’ 16th foray into extra time in just 43 B.C. Hockey League games. Their OT record dipped to four wins, four ties and eight losses (22-9-4-8 overall) after Alex Grieve fired the winner in double overtime to give the Westside Warriors a 4-3 win.
With the two clubs playing 3-on-3, the Warriors’ captain (21st goal) capitalized on a defensive mismatch, outmaneuvering forward Kyle Murphy before beating netminder Blake Voth a minute into double OT.
Vernon and Westside (23-14-2-3) met again Saturday night at Wesbild Centre.
Viper head coach Mark Ferner was left trying to decide whether all these one-goal games are helping his club, or hindering it.
“It starts to wear on you a little bit. I don’t know what to make of it,” said Ferner, noting the Vipers are second in the league with nine regulation losses (Powell River has six). “That’s something people tend to overlook.”
Vernon got off to a solid start, recording the game’s first two goals. D-man Stevie Weinstein (3rd) pocketed his first goal in 35 games when he skated over the blueline and squeaked a shot under the arm of Cole Holowenko (30 saves).
Mike Zalewski (11th and 12th), with the first of his two goals, buried a shot from the side of the net on a powerplay midway through the first period.
Quinn Gould (15th), Grieve (20th) and Brett McKinnon (8th) rounded out the Westside regulation attack early in the second period. Voth made 31 saves for Vernon.
The Vipers suffered their first regulation loss in 16 games when they bowed 3-2 to the Langley Chiefs Thursday night at Wesbild Centre.
Vernon got off to a horrendous start, giving up a goal just 15 seconds into the game. Off the opening faceoff, the Chiefs’ Brad McBride got in behind the Viper defence and beat Kirby Halcrow for his 21st goal.
“It was a bad goal,” said Ferner. “Their dee threw a blind pass up the middle and we missed it.”
The Snakes rebounded with a pair of goals midway through the first period. Darren Nowick (3rd), with his second goal in as many games, and Zalewski (10th), converting a gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing play with Dylan Walchuk and John Knisley during a powerplay, provided Vernon’s offence.
Kit Sitterley equalized for the Chiefs (25-15-1-5) later in the first period, and Darnell Dyck wired the winner on a second-period powerplay.
Langley netminder Wyatt Galley earned first star and was sensational in recording 44 saves, including all 20 shots Vernon fired his way in the third frame. Halcrow (21 saves) took the loss.
The Vipers head north this weekend, visiting the Quesnel Millionaires (11-26-1-4) Friday night at The Vault, and the Prince George Spruce Kings (9-33-0-2) Saturday at the Coliseum.
SNAKE BITES: Viper forward Bryce Kakoske took a hard shot off the foot Thursday night against the Chiefs and left the game. The Vernon product went for X-rays the following day… D-man Philip Patenaude returned to action Friday against the Warriors after missing nearly a month with a concussion… In KIJHL action Friday night, the North Okanagan Knights battled the host Sicamous Eagles to a 2-2 tie. Kurtis Hagen and Zachary Lindsay scored for the Knights.