The last time the Vernon Vipers met the West Kelowna Warriors, it didn’t end well.
A last-second line brawl resulted in hefty suspensions to both clubs when they met a little over a month ago (Vernon won 7-4). However, Vipers’ assistant coach Kevin Kraus doubts the hostilities will be reignited when the teams tangle again tonight in B.C. Hockey League play at Royal LePage Place.
“I don’t think there’s any hard feelings that need to be taken care of,” said Kraus. “It’s just something that happened at the end of the game.
“We’ll be more worried about getting the two points. Our division’s too tight to be worried about anything other than that.”
Vernon, fourth in the Interior Division at 12-7-1-1, trails the second-place Warriors (12-6-0-5) by three points, with two games in hand. The Snakes visit the Langley Rivermen (11-8-1-3) Saturday night at the Events Centre.
The Rivermen fell 4-1 to the BCHL-leading Penticton Vees (20-3-0-1) Wednesday night. They shaded host West Kelowna 4-3 Tuesday.
“We just have to play good defence against them,” said Kraus, of West Kelowna. “They’ve added a couple of Western (Hockey League) guys in the last month that should balance their offence.
“They just seem to be able to get a point in every game. They’re good at getting games to overtime if they’re down a goal.”
The Warriors have gotten solid offence from Western League forward Andrew Johnson, formerly of the Swift Current Broncos. He’s been a point-a-game player for Rylan Ferster’s club, racking up 7-8-15 in 14 games.
West Kelowna had also acquired forward Michal Holub from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, but he left after three games to play Junior B with his hometown Mission City Outlaws.
The Vipers are coming off a 5-1 win over the Victoria Grizzlies, in which they saw a solid debut from their latest Dub acquisition, Colton McCarthy. Formerly of the Prince Albert Raiders, the Salmon Arm product netted a goal and an assist.
“It’s a good pickup. He’s a young kid, big body and plays the game hard,” said Kraus. “He’s just trying to get some confidence back in his game.”
Kraus, who joined the Viper den from the WHL Tri-City Americans back when he was still playing, understands McCarthy’s decision to join the BCHL.
“That’s why I came back down here, to enjoy the game again.”
SNAKE BITES: The flu bug has hit the Vipers this week as d-men Brandon Egli and Mitch Meek missed practice Wednesday. They are both questionable for weekend action…Netminder Danny Todosychuk resumed skating Tuesday after missing three games to injury, and could possibly start a game this weekend…The Vees have added two 20-year-old WHL forwards in the past week, acquiring Dakota Conroy from the Raiders and Connor Chartier from the Spokane Chiefs…Conroy rang up 30 goals and 61 points on a line with Oiler first-round Leon Draisaitl. Chartier collected 14-18-32 with the Chiefs last year.