The Vernon Vipers will be asked to either take less penalties or tweak their penalty kill in a home B.C. Hockey League twinbill this weekend.
The Vipers gave up three powerplay snipes as the Chilliwack Chiefs rallied from a three-goal deficit for a 4-4 double overtime tie before 2,372 fans Wednesday night at Prospera Centre.
“Some (penalties) were warranted, some weren’t and some were our guys sticking up for one another which I have no problem with,” said Vernon head coach Mark Ferner. “Jimmy Lambert was hit from behind three times and there wasn’t one call; that’s how kids get hurt. I’m a little disappointed.”
Jordan Sandhu was assessed a double minor after going to Lambert’s rescue early in the third period. Ferner said Sandhu pushed the Chilliwack player, who dropped his gloves to fight, and was not penalized.
“Give them (Chiefs) credit,” said Ferner. “We were up 3-0 and the game should be over. We hit three posts and missed four breakaways. Jimmy had three breakaways himself.”
The Vipers held an optional skate Thursday and watched some video. They face the ever-improving Salmon Arm Silverbacks (9-8-2-0) tonight and tangle with the West Kelowna Warriors (11-7) Saturday.
Vernon (12-4-0-3) shares first spot in the Interior Conference with the Trail Smoke Eaters, 7-5 winners over the Wenatchee Wild in front of 1,101 fans Wednesday night at Cominco Arena.
D-man Bryan Allbee pulled the hat-trick to boost the Chiefs past the Vipers.
Josh Prokop converted on a Viper powerplay at 4:52 after the national anthem. Prokop will miss this weekend’s action as he visits some NCAA schools in the U.S.
With Regan Kimens serving a bench minor for too many men, d-man Chris Jandric started the play at the left point. Gliding right, Jandric slid the puck to point partner Jack Judson. He floated to the top of the right faceoff circle and fed a diagonal cross ice pass to Prokop near the bottom of the left circle. Chilliwack goaltender Daniel Chenard was slow to react, leaving half his net wide open. Prokop couldn’t have missed had he tried. He buried Judson’s feed for his third of the season.
The Snakes doubled it at 11:22 on a goal by Niko Karamanis. Keyvan Mokhtari earned the assist, driving into the Chilliwack zone, cutting left to right across the slot and delivering a pass back against the grain into the goal-mouth. Camped in the blue paint, Karamanis collected the pass on his backhand, wheeled and stuffed it inside the left post for his fifth of the year.
Viper rearguard Shane Kelly took a run at Chilliwack defenceman Matt Slick, driving him into the Vernon bench and delivering a blow to the head.
Chiefs d-man Brendan O’Reilly came off the bench to fight Kelly and when the uneventful scrap was over, the Vipers had a four-minute powerplay and both players were banished from the game.
Seconds later, it was Vernon blueliner Michael Ufberg launching a wrist shot from above the left faceoff circle that evaded Chenard through a screen.
The Vipers had three goals on nine shots but Chenard remained in net as the second period started.
Chilliwack finally got on the board midway through the middle frame when back-to-back Viper minors set the Chiefs up with a five-on-three for 1:15.
Allbee took a Skyler Brind’Amour pass in the goal-mouth and lifted a top shelf shot over the blocker of Vernon goalie Anthony Yamnitsky.
But the Vipers killed the second penalty and restored their three-goal lead just 132 seconds later on Ufberg’s second of the game. The Pennsylvania native took a pass from Brett Stapley off the cycle and cut unchallenged across the goal-mouth, sliding a backhand shot inside the far post.
Allbee’s second of the night made it 4-2 almost six minutes into period three. With Brind’Amour battling a Vernon defender in the blue paint and creating a perfect screen, the defenceman beat Yamnitsky with a wrister from the left point.
Less than three minutes later, it was Jared Turcotte storming in on the forecheck and jarring the puck loose with a crushing check on Judson on the end boards. Chilliwack captain Will Calverley skated onto the loose puck and took a shot that Yamnitsky stopped, but Turcotte tracked down the rebound and buried his first of the season.
The Chiefs completed the comeback with 3:16 to play on Allbee’s hatty. Anthony Vincent drew a penalty when he drove hard to the net and forced Vernon’s Michael Young to haul him down. On the ensuing powerplay, Vincent fed the puck to Allbee at the right point and the Prince George native hammered it home to force OT.
Five minutes of four on four OT solved nothing, thanks to a massive Chenard save on a fast break by Lambert. In three-on-three overtime, the goalie got his blocker on a point-blank Karamanis shot from eight feet out.
Calverley had the last and best chance to get a win, set up in front of the Vernon goal with two seconds left only to be thwarted by Yamnitsky.
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Vincent, who was not penalized for a high hit which sent Vernon d-man Sol Seibel’s head into the glass.
“It was the same kind of hit that got Riley Brandt 10 games last year,” said Ferner. Seibel is questionable tonight.
Seibel is questionable for the weekend.