After Friday night’s performance in Penticton, the Vernon Vipers might want to consider hosting Parents Weekend more than once a year.
With the supportive cheers of more than 60 mothers, fathers, siblings, billets and other loved ones in the stands at the South Okanagan Events Centre, the Snakes turned in one of their most complete performances of the B.C. Hockey League season in dismantling the host Penticton Vees 5-0.
Vernon looked to keep the momentum going Saturday night as they hosted the Quesnel Millionaires (4-10-1) at Wesbild Centre.
They conclude Parents Weekend with a 2 p.m. matinee today against the last-place Prince George Spruce Kings (2-14-0-2). As part of their Paint the Rink Pink promotion, the Vipers will be wearing limited edition jerseys which will be auctioned off in a live auction following the game.
“We were good from the drop of the puck on,” said Vipers’ assistant coach Jason Williamson, crediting Dave Robinson’s veteran line of Bryce Kakoske and Kyle Murphy for setting the tempo Friday night.
The Vipers’ Patrick McGillis (4th goal of the season), deflecting defenceman Malcolm Lyles point shot, opened the scoring at 1:45.
Possessing one of the hardest shots in the BCHL, d-man Adam Thompson (3rd) made it 2-0 Vernon late in the first period, ripping a powerplay point shot top corner past netminder Joel Rumpel (23 saves).
Viper keeper Blake Voth recorded 21 stops to earn first star and his second shutout of the season. It was the first three star selection for a Vernon tender this season.
“It helps the confidence,” said Voth, whose 2.08 goals against average is third-best in the BCHL.
“We played a real solid hockey game – not many turnovers. Penticton is a skilled team so we just tried to get to those dirty areas.”
Voth, whose parents, Randy and Kathy, and sister Stephanie, made the trip out from Herbert, Sask., was particularly effective in keeping Penticton scoreless on five powerplay attempts.
“That’s when Blake was at his best,” said Williamson. “They were trying to set up (Joey) Laleggia for one-timers and he found a way to get a piece of them.
“Our guys played well in front of him, but when he had to make saves, he gobbled them up, no rebounds.”
Rookie Trevor Fitzgerald won a battle in the corner to set up Murphy for a shorthanded strike at 13:37 of the second frame. The Fair Haven, N.J. native bobbled his initial shot, but batted the puck out of midair for his fourth of the season.
In the third period, Marcus Basara (3rd) buried the rebound on a play started by some point-to-point passing between Lyles and Stevie Weinstein.
Dylan Walchuk, with his team-leading eighth goal, completed the scoring at 12:26. Linemate Darren Nowick kept the play alive by beating a Vee defender to avoid an icing call.
“From top to bottom, all lines, all D, from the goalie out, we were solid,” said Williamson.
“You could send out anybody in any situation and you knew they were going to do their job.”
Vees’ head coach Fred Harbinson pulled Rumpel in favour of Billy Faust midway through the third period
Vernon (9-5-1-2) snapped the first-place Vees (12-5) seven-game win streak. They now trail Penticton by three points in the Interior standings.