Story by Wayne Moore
(ISN) – WEST KELOWNA, BC – The Vernon Vipers scored a pair of shorthanded goals and two more with the man advantage to spark a 7-4 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors Saturday at Royal LePage Place.
The game was chippy throughout featuring numerous post whistle scrums and cheap shots culminating in an all out brawl after the final whistle blew.
When the dust settled, the teams were assessed 102 minutes in penalties including six fighting majors, seven game misconducts and a minor penalty to Vernon netminder Danny Todosychuk who left his crease and to scrap with Warriors Kade Kehoe.
West Kelowna netminder Andy Desautels stayed at centre ice and didn’t join in the fracas.
“Obviously tempers are going to be flaring at the end although I didn’t think it needed to get that far,” says Warriors assistant coach, Brent Gough.
“I thought their guy was the third man in there in the fight between (Kyle) Marino and (Ryley) Booth then everybody just paired up and it goes from there. It happens and we’ll deal with it whatever the league is going to do.”
Vipers Riley Brandt was handed a double game misconduct for being the third man into the initial scrap, touching off two other fights before the ice was finally cleared.
As for the game itself, the Warriors grabbed a 2-0 lead before the game was 11 minutes old getting goals from Liam Blackburn and Michael Buonincontri.
They had a chance to build on the lead on the power-play, however, the Vipers would be the ones who struck, getting a shorthanded tally from Liam Coughlin to cut the deficit in half and seize control of the game.
“I thought we played a real good seven minutes or so…we were up 2-0 and I think our guys thought it was going to be an easy night,” says Gough.
“We give up a shorthanded goal and then it looked like the got another one but they batted it in. Then they get another shortlanded goal similar to the first one.”
Gough says the team can’t give up two shorthanded goals and expect to win hockey games.
The Vipers tied it early in the second period on a five minute power-play, just their second power-play goal of the season.
After Vernon took a 3-2 lead, Jason Cotton got the Warriors back on even terms with his fifth of the season, a one timer from the low slot on a deft feed from Buonincontri at the side of the net.
The Vipers second shorthanded tally, a backhand from former Warrior TJ Dumonceaux broke the deadlock and sent the Vipers on their way.
Anthony Latina, a thorn in the Warriors side all night long, scored twice for the Vipers including the clinching goal into an empty net.
Jordan Masters scored the other goal for the Warriors who have dropped four in a row and five of six.
“We need to get back to some simple hockey and we are making mistakes we shouldn’t be making 10 games into the season…even by veterans.
We need to get back to simple hockey, compete every shift and pay attention to the little details and get this ship back on track.”
The Warriors will get a chance to right the ship on the road where they have played better this season.
They make their first extended road swing of the season through Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley and Victoria next weekend then travel to Salmon Arm before finally returning home to host the Silverbacks Nov 1.