They will stop for a few moments and honour fallen war heroes this morning. Then the Vernon Vipers will begin working on building an army of their own, building up trust in one another and promising true trips to the trenches.
The Vipers salvaged a woeful weekend by rallying for a 4-3 win over the last-place Surrey Eagles Sunday night at South Surrey Arena. The Vipers hosted the Merritt Centennials Tuesday night and practise this afternoon at Civic Arena due to the Remembrance Day ceremony at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon opened the road trip losing 6-3 to the Alberni Bulldogs Friday and then fell 6-3 to the Cowichan Valley Capitals Saturday night in Duncan.
“We played a couple of good periods Sunday, but obviously, it wasn’t a good weekend,” said Vernon head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “Again, it was just a lack of consistency. It’s a fragile group. I had to bark at them after the first period (in Surrey). Everybody is waiting for things to happen. We did too much standing around and didn’t initiate things.”
Ferner was impressed with new 20-year-old recruits Latrell Charleson and Ben Butcher. He also gave props to young inexperienced goalie Brendan Barry, who didn’t get much help.
“I told them: ‘You guys play and we’ll coach.’ The new players and the older players are all waiting for someone to lead them. They have to trust what we’re saying. One thing that is non-negotiable is our work ethic. When we hound teams for the puck, we are a good team.”
The Eagles (4-17) traded for d-man Brett Stewart of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and big forward Kurt Black of the Trail Smoke Eaters Thursday.
The moves for the 20-year-olds seemed to spark the Eagles as they went in front 2-0 on goals by Donovan Ott and Stewart in the opening 20.
Charleson, a former Eagle who hadn’t played a game in nine months, responded on an early power play in the second period for Vernon. Liam Finlay and Odeen Tufto drew helpers. Tyler Andrews put Surrey up 3-1 on another power play three minutes later.
Finlay, 3:16 in, and Riley Brandt, on a power play four minutes later, also registered third-period snipes for the Vipers. Brandt has 10 goals and Finlay seven.
Defenceman Mitchell Oliver registered the winner at 11:23 on a power play, his second goal of the season. Jagger Williamson and Brandt bagged assists.
Vernon outshot Surrey 52-30 with Brendan Barry earning the win and late Vancouver Giants cut Forbes Ploszaj the loss in front of 613 fans.
The Vipers are fourth in the Interior Division at 10-11-0-1, five points in front of Trail. The Cents are last at 7-14-0-1.
Charleson, Brett Stapley and Christian Cakebread, with his first as a Viper, scored for Vernon Saturday night before 845 fans at the Island Savings Centre. Cowichan led 3-0 after the first period.
Ryan Hogg scored his first BCHL goal picking up a Kyle Topping rebound shot on a delayed penalty call to give the Capitals an early 1-0 lead.
Up 5-1 after two periods, the Capitals saw the Vipers press big time in the third, scoring twice in the first eight mintues to pull within a pair. But with four minutes to go in the period, Rhett Willcox finished on a 2-on-1 rush with ex-Viper Ayden MacDonald for his fourth of the season to restore the three-goal lead and seal the Caps’ 11th victory.
Storm Phaneuf earned his 10th win of the season as the Capitals were outshot for the 18th time, 41-38 with the Vipers putting up 19 shots in the final period.
Michael Roberts lost a decision to Daniel Wanner in a second-period scrap. Roberts defender Tufto, who was boarded by Wanner.
Vernon visits the expansion Wenatchee Wild (12-5-2-1) Saturday.