Vipers snuff Smokies in Chase

Zach McLellan (left) sidesteps just in time to avoid a hit from Trevor Fitzgerald in the Vernon Vipers Blue vs White intra-squad game Thursday night at Wesbild Centre. The Vipers pummeled the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-0 in exhibition action Friday night in Chase.

Armed with just two days of training camp experience, a rookie-laden squad of Vernon Viper hopefuls marched into B.C. Hockey League exhibition play Friday night at Art Holding Memorial Arena in Chase.

Squaring off against an equally youthful Trail Smoke Eaters lineup, netminders Tyler Steel, a Vernon product, and Calgary’s Bryton Udy shared the shutout as the Viper rookies cruised to a 4-0 win.

The two teams tangled again Saturday night in Chase.

“We found some things out. They dressed a really young lineup, but at the same time I think our guys competed pretty hard,” said Vipers’ GM/head coach Mark Ferner, who sat out his 20-year-olds, as well as Dylan Walchuk, Aaron Hadley and netminder Blake Voth.

Tanner Cochrane (Kamloops product, ‘93) opened the scoring 7:12 into the first period, assisted by Colton Sparrow (Vernon, ‘93).

Gus Correale (Prince George, ‘93) made it 2-0 Vernon midway through the second period, assists to John Knisley (Pittsford, NY, ‘92) and Cochrane.

With five minutes remaining in the frame, Adriano Munglioni (Dallas, ‘93) collected the Vipers’ third goal, assists to Darren Nowick (Los Angeles, ‘91) and Marcus Basara (Coquitlam, ‘93).

Taylor Love (Newport Beach, Cali., ‘92) completed the scoring early in the third period, assisted by Sean Alldridge (Inuvik, NU, ‘92) and Mike Zalewski (New Hartford, Conn., ‘92).

The Vipers opened their camp Wednesday at Wesbild Centre, and after a sluggish Blue & White intra-squad game that night (a 5-1 win for Team Red), Ferner said the players started to show a little more jump.

“It’s sometimes tough when you’re going out and playing against possibly your teammates,” said Ferner.

“Some of the things we were looking for right from day one, we didn’t see, but we saw them in the (exhibition) game. Certain guys competed harder in the game last night than they did since they’ve been here, which is a good thing.”

In addition to Zalewski, Nowick, Knisley and Correale, Ferner said Calgary defenceman Brett Corkey, who committed to the Vipers earlier in the year, was a standout against the Smoke Eaters.

Ferner wanted to see all of the players in exhibition before making any roster decisions. He expected to make the first round of cuts today.

Rather than burden a bunch of wide-eyed rookies with too much information at camp, Ferner decided to sit back and see what the prospects could generate on their own.

“For the first two days, we just wanted to see how guys were going to compete. We didn’t want to fill their heads with a bunch of systems… so that they’re all so worried about their positioning that they forget to go and move their feet. We wanted to see just the raw talent and competitiveness.”

In the second Blue & White game Thursday night, Team Blue earned a little redemption, salvaging a 7-5 come-from-behind win.

Steel looked sharp in the Blue net, but Team Red opened the scoring as second-year player Pat McGillis, playing on a line with fellow returnee Walchuk, pounced on a loose puck on Steel’s doorstep.

Team Red led 2-1 after the first period.

After a summer in his hometown Calgary, McGillis is ecstatic to be back in Vernon.

“It’s nice to be out here with a bunch of guys who are high skill level, high intensity, because that was hard to find in Calgary,” he said.

Despite all the new faces in camp, the 19-year-old forward is optimistic Vernon will once again challenge for a top seed in the Interior Conference.

“As long as everybody is giving it a good honest effort every time they step on the ice, I think will only take a couple games and we’ll be back together gelling,” he said.

Team Red took a 4-3 lead heading into the third period, but despite allowing a shorthanded goal early in the frame, Team Blue rallied with three unanswered goals and an empty-netter to seal the win.

One Viper prospect who has already had a taste of success on a national level is Basara. Having claimed back-to-back Telus Cup Midget AAA Championship titles with the Notre Dame Hounds of Wilcox, Sask., Basara came into camp already knowing what it takes to win.

“Winning a national championship was such a good experience. It opened my eyes to what’s really out there in the world of winning,” said the 17-year-old forward.

“Before I went to Notre Dame, I was never really on a winning team.”

Basara looked to be one of the smoothest skaters in Thursday’s Blue & White tilt. He collected a pair of assists skating on a line with Correale and Hadley. After an initial adjustment period, he said it was a lot of fun to be out there with so much talent.

“Things happen just a little bit quicker and it takes a bit to adapt. Once you get a hold of that, the game become a lot more fun out there and things start happening for you,” he said.

In other BCHL exhibition action Friday night, the Westside Warriors hammered the Penticton Vees 6-1, the Nanaimo Clippers outgunned the Cowichan Valley Capitals 5-2, and the Surrey Eagles grounded the Langley Chiefs 3-1.

Just Posted

Vernon tattoo fundraiser draws record support

Lineup around the block for start and beginning of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Electric cars gaining popularity in Vernon

Dealership sells five in one day, EV car show coming to town

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: cloudy

Environment Canada is calling for a similar day tomorrow.

Vernon nature centre fundraiser goes western

Allan Brook’s Nature Centre Wine and Wild West Fundraiser is on July 6

Caravan Farm Theatre holds outlaw themed fundraiser

Caravan Farm Theatre hosts its western outlaw themed fundraiser, Hands Up! June 1

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

Motorcycle deaths spike 50% since 2017

Riders were most likely fatally crash on the weekends compared with the rest of the week

Family of B.C. pilot killed in Honduras trying to ‘piece together’ tragedy

Patrick Forseth has a number of friends in the area and was loved by everyone

Justin Trudeau credits immigration for Canada’s growing tech sector

Trudeau stressed that Canada has become a major source of talent for tech all over the world

Feds launch tourism strategy designed to boost sector 25 per cent by 2025

The fund is supposed to back experiences that show off Canada’s strengths

Sister of cancer victim cycles across Canada to raise awareness

Her journey started on May 14 and will end in early August

Column: A solar pioneer in the Okanagan rides among us

This Summerland octogenarian has been producing his own electrical energy for more than 20 years

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Most Read