TJ Dumonceaux of the Vernon Vipers gets sent for a ride by Christopher Jones of the Wenatchee Wild in Junior A exhibition hockey action Saturday night at Wesbild Centre.

TJ Dumonceaux of the Vernon Vipers gets sent for a ride by Christopher Jones of the Wenatchee Wild in Junior A exhibition hockey action Saturday night at Wesbild Centre.

Vipers whittle down camp roster

Vernon Vipers trim camp roster by seven after a pair of B.C. Hockey League exhibition games.

  • Aug. 29, 2012 12:00 p.m.

Two games into their B.C. Hockey League exhibition season, and it has been mixed results for the Vernon Vipers.

Following a 9-5 goal-fest loss to the Wenatchee Wild Saturday night at Wesbild Centre, the Viper hopefuls settled down to record a 3-3 draw against the West Kelowna Warriors Monday at Wesbild.

Vernon head coach Jason Williamson isn’t as concerned about the scorelines as he is about evaluating his prospects, and so far he seems to like what he sees.

“It’s exhibition,” shrugged Williamson, when asked about the loss. “Did we want to win? Absolutely. But we were just trying to get a read on some players.

“We got better as the game went on. There were a lot of nerves, so that was good to see. And we scored five pretty good goals.”

The North American Hockey League Wild, wearing their road black with blue trim, went up 2-0 after just 10 minutes, and pushed the scoreline to 3-0 after one period.

The Wild shelled netminder Joe Young for their fourth unanswered goal (three of them on the powerplay) in the second period before Vernon finally came alive with two quick strikes.

Williamson said the Wild fielded a more experience lineup than Vernon, and were further along in their team systems.

“They were very quick and they definitely crashed the net pretty hard,” he said. “They definitely had some systems in place and they came prepared, more than the teams up here are ready for in preseason.”

Young was relieved by Vernon product Harrison Whitlock after Wenatchee counted the 5-2 goal.

Second-year Viper forward Adam Tambellini collected the goal of the night later in the second period, toe-dragging around a defender before going roof daddy over the Wenatchee netminder’s left shoulder.

The Wild took a 7-4 lead into the third period.

Braeden Russell, Ryan Edwards, Landon Robin and Colton Sparrow, all forwards, completed Vernon’s scoring.

Williamson released six players following Saturday’s game – netminders Whitlock and Conrad McMillan, defencemen Wyatt Trumbley and Jayce Polman-Tuin, and forwards Mat Lambert and Sam McMullen.

Edwards left the team of his own choosing on the weekend. He was projected to make the team after recording 95 points (35 goals and 60 assists) with the KIJHL Beaver Valley Nitehawks last season.

Williamson expects to make further cuts today.

The Vipers rebounded with a solid effort against the Warriors. Williamson credited his veterans for turning in a solid effort, and noted the play of forwards Logan Mick and TJ Dumonceaux, a former North Okanagan Knight who played a couple games last season with the Warriors.

“Their goaltenders played really well, but I thought we were the better of the two teams,” said Williamson. “We were physical and had lots of energy. It was a pretty entertaining game.”

Defencemen Bryce Eviston and Geoff Crisfield, and forward Nick Josephs handled Vernon’s attack Monday. Colton Thibault, a Vernon product, had one of West Kelowna’s goals. Thibault played Major Midget with the Okanagan Rockets last season.

The Vipers continued their preseason against the Warriors Tuesday night at Royal LePage Place. They wrap up their exhibition schedule with a home-and-home against the Salmon Arm SilverBacks, starting Friday night at the Shaw Centre. The ‘Backs visit Wesbild Saturday night (7:00).