The Salmon Arm SilverBacks’ third-period push was too much to handle as they iced the Vernon Vipers 3-2 in B.C. Hockey League exhibition play Friday night at the Shaw Centre.
“They put the pedal down in the third and separated from us and we made mistakes. Our younger dee struggled a bit and that is something we will work on,” said Vipers’ GM/head coach Jason Williamson.
The Vipers (1-1) carried a lead into the final frame on goals from Hartsdale, N.Y. native Kenny Citron and Texan Thomas Aldworth.
Keller, Tx. isn’t normally a breeding ground for BCHL hockey players, but Aldworth was spotted while at the same prep school as Liam Coughlin out East.
Coughlin finally arrived at Vipers’ camp Thursday afternoon.
The South Boston product saw some ice time, but there was evident rust on his skates after missing the first half of camp.
“Coughlin needs to be better,” said Williamson.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year earned 18 goals and 45 points for the Snakes last season.
Despite being eligible to return to the Vipers this year, Michael McNicholas will be attending the University of New Hampshire instead.
Williamson has been aiming to finalize his roster this weekend, but some of the bubble players are making the decision a difficult one.
“Some of those guys played really well last night and some didn’t. This is going to be tough,” said Williamson.
New netminder Jarrod Schamerhorn played all 60 minutes and has logged time in the WHL and BCHL over the past two years. He played in 14 games last season with the Portland Winterhawks and Lethbridge Hurricanes with a .849 save percentage. He has also played in 10 games over the past two years with the Nanaimo Clippers and Merritt Centennials.
The Vipers and SilverBacks danced again Saturday night at Kal Tire Place, one day after new assistant coach Kevin Kraus’ 25th birthday.
The Vipers have a final home and home exhibition series with the Prince George Spruce Kings starting Friday at Kal Tire Place before the games count for real. The Vipers open their season Sept. 19 against the Cowichan Valley Capitals in Chilliwack at the BCHL Showcase.
n The North Okanagan Knights are weaving through their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League exhibition season with rookie head coach Jim Armstrong at the helm.
The Revelstoke Grizzlies grounded the Knights 5-2 Friday night at the Revelstoke Forum.
“It was a good game, it was a lot better than our previous outing,” said Armstrong. “The compete level from our guys was a lot better.”
Newly named captain, defencemen Dryden Profeit, opened the scoring and Logan Geefs added another.
“We are definitely moving in the right direction,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong has been sculpting his roster like a piece of clay spinning on a pottery wheel. A week into camp, he brought in eight players to address the team’s size and speed issues. The Knights (0-2) still have Logan Mostat and Matt Halvorson at the SilverBacks camp.
“I’m loving it. It’s has been a great experience bringing in kids for camp,” said Armstrong who named the final roster prior to the Knights’ rematch with the Grizzlies Saturday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre in their final exhibition game.
“Releasing guys makes it a tough day for me. I know it’s junior hockey, but they are still kids,” said Armstrong.