Vernon, BC: With the preseason in the rear view mirror, the Vernon Vipers now shift focus to the regular season which begins tonight in Salmon Arm.
The Vipers finished the exhibition schedule with a 3-3 record. They started with back to back losses against Salmon Arm before rattling off wins against Penticton and two against West Kelowna.
11 returning players from last season look to build on a disappointing exit in the post season, a 5-game loss to West Kelowna. Up front, Max Borovinskiy, Seiya Tanaka-Campbell, Reagan Milburn, Luke Lavery and Luke Pakulak will be heavily leaned on for offense. On the blue line, third year Vipers Ayden Third and Griffen Barr will be joined by Luke Ashton and Anthony Cliche. Both goaltenders come back following a strong season.
The Silverbacks return 13 players from last years roster. Gone are the big offensive pieces like Simon Tassy and Noah Serdachny, instead newly named captain Nathan Mackie and other players will have the big job of putting the puck in the net. Also missing for the Backs is goaltender Owen Say who was a big minutes eater and finished in the top 5 of most major statistical categories. Salmon Arm will lean on 20-year old Matthew Tovell who spent the majority of the year with the Hawkesbury Hawks in the CCHL and had some time with the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL.
The Vipers had some troubles with their neighbours to the north finishing with a record of 2-4-1 in 7 head to head meetings.
It all begins tonight. You can catch all the action on HockeyTV and 107.5 Beach Radio starting at 6:45 with the pregame show.