Morning Star Staff
There is a slight sign of swagger creeping into the Vernon Vipers’ game.
And they’ve certainly earned the right to feel good about themselves, stretching their winning streak to three games Saturday night by ambushing the Trail Smoke Eaters 9-2 before 990 fans at Cominco Arena.
“We’ve got eight of our last 10 points so they’re feeling better,” said Viper head coach Jason Williamson. “They’re kids and this is great for their confidence.”
Things were going so well for the Vipers in Smelterville, Williamson even put bruisers Kevin Guiltinan and Geoff Crisfield on the powerplay points.
The Vipers also received their first Gongshow BCHL Player of the Week with Adam Tambellini taking honours for pocketing 1+3 in Trail after scoring twice in Friday’s double OT win over the Nanaimo Clippers.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound forward leads Vernon in scoring with 22 points in 18 games. Jedd Soleway, who has been spoon feeding Tambellini some sick passes, scored twice Saturday night. Captain Brett Corkey scored just 16 seconds in and added three assists from the back end, while Logan Mick and Mitch McAllister both recorded their first BCHL snipes and other singles came from Craig Martin, Michael Roberts and Pearce Eviston.
Martin netted the goal of the night, blocking a shot, skating down his off wing, flipping the puck over a d-man’s stick and, in one motion, ripping his fifth of the season. Martin, a Trail product, played nine games for the Smokies last season.
D-man Ryan Renz chipped in with a pair of helpers as the Vipers outshot the Smokies 47-43 with Danny Todoyschuk earning his first win in two starts in his second tour of duty in Vernon.
“Danny was good,” said Williamson.”He made some big stops early and both their goals were in the last five seconds of a period so I kind of felt sorry for him. We were able to roll four lines most of the game.”
Mitch Foyle scored for Trail with five seconds left in the second period with the Vipers up 7-0. Adam Wheeldon counted a powerplay goal with three seconds left in the game.
Vipers’ rookie d-man Michael Statchuk took a vicious check from behind from Trail’s Luke Sandler midway through the second period, and did not practise Monday or Tuesday. He was scheduled to skate today and play Friday night here against the Smokies.
It’s Parents Weekend for the Snakes, who improved to 6-7-0-5, tied with Trail for fourth spot in the Interior Division. Vernon has four games in hand on the Smokies.
The Surrey Eagles (11-6-0-1) visit Wesbild Centre Saturday night. The Vipers will mark Movember with several give-a-ways and a post-game jersey auction.
The Vipers are three points behind the West Kelowna Warriors, 2-0 losers to the Clippers Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Viper veteran Aaron Hadley has been chosen captain for Team West in the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Yarmouth, N.S.
Hadley and Team West opened the tournament Tuesday by icing the Czech Republic 7-0. Alex Kerfoot of the Coquitlam Express had 2+2, while Wade Murphy of the Penticton Vees scored twice. Team West – with 15 BCHLers – plays Russia today. The Russians stopped the Czechs 6-1 and USA stormed Team East 9-1 in Monday action.
In KIJHL action, the host Princeton Posse got two goals from Dakota Leppa in a 6-4 win over the North Okanagan Knights Saturday night.
Mac Ferner (4th), Morgan Johnston (9th), Matty Saharchuk (9th) and Derek Andrews, shorthanded (4th) scored for the Knights, who fell to 13-4-0-1, tied for first overall with the Nelson Leafs.
Vernon product Colton Thibault, who was recalled by the BCHL Warriors Friday and Sunday, earned two assists for the Knights.
Princeton (10-6-0-1) outshot the Knights 49-34 with Jack Burgart taking the win. Dustin Nikkel suffered the loss. The Knights host the 5-13 Penticton Lakers tonight at Nor-Val Sports Centre.
D-man Kenny Batke of the Vernon Midget Tier 1 Vipers was summoned by the Revelstoke Grizzlies in a 2-1 Sunday night win over the host Kamloops Storm.