Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vipers Alumni Update With Curtis Fraser:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Curtis Fraser is in his first season with the ECHL Alaska Aces. Fraser played last year with the AHL Peoria Rivermen. Fraser started his Junior Hockey career with the Victoria Salsa playing three and a half seasons in Victoria before getting traded to the Vernon Vipers in 2002-03. Fraser played just half the season with the Vipers before attending four years with the University Of Alaska Fairbanks before joining the AHL Chicago Wolves during the 2006-07 season. In 2007-08 Fraser joined the ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers before going back to the AHL joining the San Antonio Rampage in the same season. In 69 games this year the Alaska Aces are in 2nd place with a record of 33-28-4-4 In 15 games this season Fraser has (6-5-11)

Curtis Fraser's Bio,

Check out a few of Curtis Fraser's fights,

Curtis Fraser vs Francis Wathier (Peoria vs Iowa)

Curtis Fraser vs Mitch Love 4/18/09 AHL Playoffs (Peoria vs Houston)

Curtis Fraser vs Brennan Evans (Peoria vs Des Mooines)

Riding The Metro:

I found a article on the Canadiens website on former Vernon Lakers forward, Glen Metropolit.

Riding the Metro

Friday, 19.03.2010 / 2:00 AM / News

MONTREAL – When it comes to the Habs’ sizzling power play this season, Glen Metropolit has been anything but a passenger.

Over the past few years, Metropolit has gotten used to getting the call from his coach when one of his teammates goes off to serve a penalty. With a team-leading 10 power play goals to his name so far this season, though, Metro is more likely to find himself out on the ice with the man advantage these days.

“When Gio [Brian Gionta] went down with an injury in November, I filled in for him on the right side on one of the power play units and something just clicked,” explained Metropolit, who before this year had scored just eight power play goals in his entire career combined. “I get in front of the net and try to distract the goalie. It’s great to be able to contribute, no matter the circumstances.”

After enjoying just 12 minutes with the man advantage all of last year under John Stevens in Philadelphia and then Guy Carbonneau and Bob Gainey in Montreal, Metropolit has found himself averaging 2 minutes and 16 seconds on the power play per game in 2009-10. A far cry from his time in Atlanta in 2006-07 – his third of seven NHL stops – when the speedy center wasn’t exactly quarterbacking the Thrashers’ power play, either.

“Bob Hartley, the head coach of the Thrashers at the time, split the job between me and Scott Mellanby, but I didn’t really have much of a role,” recalled Metropolit. “All I did was stand in front of the net, but I wasn’t really making plays happen.”

Brought in on waivers from the Flyers in February 2009, Metropolit has since become exactly the kind of defensive forward Gainey was looking for last year.

“When I got to camp this year, I was kind of expecting to have a defensive role as a penalty killer, kind of like last year,” admitted Metropolit. “I definitely wasn’t expecting to be getting so much time on the power play, let alone leading the team in power play goals, that’s for sure.”

Currently enjoying his time in the Top 10 in the league in that category, it looks like Metro might just have a new bargaining chip up his sleeve when his two-year contract expires this season. But for now, Metropolit is focused only taking full advantage of his newfound opportunity.

“My contract? We’ll worry about that after the season.”

Alexandre Harvey is a writer for Translated by Shauna Denis.

Vipers Return To Cup Final:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Vipers return to Cup final

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star

Published: March 30, 2010

The Powell River Kings want to make team history. The Vernon Vipers want to continue a trend.

The Kings have advanced to the B.C. Hockey League’s Fred Page Cup final four times since 1991, but have yet to claim the crown. Vernon has ushered them out three times (twice as the Lakers), including last year’s 4-2 best-of-seven series win.

The Vipers advanced to final by icing the Penticton Vees 4-1 in Game 6 of the Interior Conference final Saturday night at South Okanagan Events Centre. This will be the Snakes’ 10th trip to the dance since 1996, earning titles in 1996, ‘99 and ‘03.

The Kings stunned the Alberni Valley Bulldogs by swiping the final three games of the Coastal Conference final, capped by a 3-0 shutout in Game 7 Saturday night at Weyerhauser Arena in Port Alberni.

Games 1 and 2 of the Fred Page Cup go Friday and Saturday night at Wesbild Centre, after which the series heads to the Sunshine Coast for Games 3 and 4, Monday and Tuesday respectively at the Powell River Recreation Centre.

The Kings have eight returnees from last year’s Coastal championship team, and similar to that roster, they have a top-heavy offence with three of the top-four playoff scorers – Daniel Carr (24 points), Matt Garbowsky (24 points) and Mat Bodie (22 points) rank second to fourth respectively.

The Vipers have 14 Royal Bank Cup veterans. Kellen Jones, with 12 points in 12 games, is the top sniper for Vernon, who have played four fewer games than the Kings.

“They’ve obviously got scoring up front and a hot goalie (Josh Watson). They’ve been there before and they’ll be eager to turn the tide,” said Vipers’ assistant coach Jason Williamson.

“We build a team for a seven-game series, and whenever you can do that, it’s going to benefit you. We roll our lines and everybody gets the ice time.”

Despite a 26-point gap between the two teams in the regular season, things have tightened up in the post-season. They share identical goals for (3.80) and against (1.90) averages.

“We have a lot of new faces so we don’t have the continuity they (Vipers) have,” said Kings’ head coach Kent Lewis. “We can skate and we’re a tough club. You gotta have fun at this time of the season. It’s all about attitude and expectation and you play hard and build on experience.”

Blessed with a strong defensive core, led by Bodie (captain) and 20-year-old Darcy Huisman, the Kings beat the Dawgs without sniper Jordan Grant for three games.

“It’s a little of everything,” said Lewis, when asked if Grant was being bench for discipline reasons. “He had some health issues. There are lots of rumours out there. Let’s just say it’s a closed-door issue. He’s day-to-day.”

Graeme Gordon has been rock-steady in the post-season, leading all keepers with a 1.49 goals against average, and .940 save percentage. Watson, who has been the Kings’ go-to guy, is right behind him at 1.94 GAA and .921 save percentage.

In the special teams department, the Vipers hold the advantage on the penalty kill, stopping all but two of 36 powerplays.

The Kings have allowed 12 goals on 60 attempts (80 per cent).

Connecting at 26.14 per cent, Powell River has an edge on the powerplay, with Vernon trailing at 22.64 per cent.

Saturday night in Penticton, the Vees played with desperation early on, with Eric Filiou earning the opening goal at 4:05.

Viper d-man Dan Nycholat (second star), using David Robinson as a screen, beat netminder Sean Bonar (26 saves) with a powerplay point shot less than two minutes later. Williamson says the momentum started to shift after that.

“They pretty much carried the play until they scored that goal,” he said. “After that, we started to outshoot them and get good offensive zone pressure.

Vernon’s Mike Collins picked off a pass and set up Braden Pimm (third star) for a shot on his off-wing to complete the first-period scoring.

Robinson, tipping Adam Thompson’s point blast, and Connor Jones, burying a cross-crease pass from Kellen, completed the scoring midway through the third frame. Both goals came on the powerplay, as Vernon went 3-for-4 and Penticton was scoreless in three attempts.

“Special teams was huge. For whatever reason, we got some bounces and we killed some penalties. It all comes from momentum.”

Gordon backstopped Vernon with a 29-save, first star showing.

SNAKE BITES: Viper grad Aaron Volpatti, who signed with the Vancouver Canucks last week, made a stellar pro debut with the Manitoba Moose Monday night. Volpatti scored once and won a fight with Logan MacMillan as the Moose iced the Abbotsford Heat 5-2 before 6,505 AHL fans at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Volpatti Scores First Career AHL Goal In Moose Debut:

The Manitoba Moose beat the Abbotsford Heat 5-2 Monday night, as former Vernon Vipers forward, Aaron Volpatti scored his first career AHL goal in the victory. Volpatti also dropped the mits in his first career AHL game.

You can follow Aaron Volpatti and the Manitoba Moose on their website,

Vipers Will Have Some Holes To Fill For Next Season:

I have been busy with the Vipers first two playoff matchups, that I havnt had anytime to comment on the signing of forward, Aaron Hadley.

With the Vipers losing a total of 13 players from this years team and a possible 10 players returning for next season the Vipers will be looking at some key holes to fill in the teams lineup. One of these players will be newly signed forward, Aaron Hadley who played this season with the KIJHL Beaver Valley Nitehawks, posting 25 goals and 22 assists for 47 points to go along with 94 penalty minutes in 47 games.

Hadley is also on the WHL Vancouver Giants’ protected list, & is already receiving interest from NCAA scouts.

I dont know much about this kid other then what was said in the newspaper. So far it sounds as if the Vipers have scooped up a solid young prospect for next season. With nine forwards leaving this season, the Vipers will need some bodies up front. Hadley sounds like a nice addition so far. Dont forget (AP) forward, Trevor Fitzgerald who also signed with the Vipers just over a month ago now. Two young kids that sound like they are proven players who will fit in nicely.

It will be interesting to see what other recruiting Mark Ferner and the Vipers scouting staff have signed for next season.

Id like to take the time to welcome Aaron to Vernon and wish him all the best with the Vipers next season

Here's a look at the Vipers that wont be returning next season.

forward, Connor Jones (Committed to Quinnipiac)
forward, Kellen Jones (Committed to Quinnipiac)
forward, Mike Collins (Committed to Merrimack)
forward, Braden Pimm, (Committed to Northeastern)
forward, Jonathan Milhouse (20 years old)
forward, Rob Short (20 years old)
forward, Sawyer Mick (Quit team in January)
forward, Sahir Gill (Committed to Boston University)
forward, Cory Kane (Committed to Ferris State)

defenceman, Dan Nycholat (Committed to Dartmouth)
defenceman, Curtis Gedig (Committed to Ohio State)
defenceman, Kevin Kraus (20 years old)

goaltender, Graeme Gordon (20 years old)

Here's a look at the possible Vipers that could return for next season.

forward, Dylan Walchuk
forward, Cole Ikkala
forward, Bryce Kakoske
forward, David Robinson
forward, Patrick McGillis

defenceman, Adam Thompson
defenceman, Steve Weinstein
defenceman, Garrett Noonan
defenceman, Darrin Robak

goaltender, Blake Voth

2010 Fred Page Cup Preview: Vipers And Kings Set To Battle Once Again:

2010 Fred Page Cup Preview: Vipers and Kings set to battle once again

Sunday, March 28, 2010 - Submitted by BCHL Media

One year ago, a pair of opposites were brought together to battle for the Fred Page Cup. In one corner, the Vernon Vipers looked to continue the franchise's proud tradition with their ninth appearance in the BCHL's Championship series since 1996. In the other, the Powell River Kings hit the big stage for the first time since 1995 and with zero league titles under their belt.

The six-game encounter proved closer than the teams' respective histories may have suggested, as the Vipers hoisted the trophy despite being outscored 10-8 in the final four games of the series. And as it turned out, the Kings were the last team to beat the soon-to-be RBC Cup champs, who posted 11 consecutive victories to close out the season.

Cue the rematch. 12 months after facing off in April of 2009, the Vipers and Kings are back to do battle once again. And while many of the players on both benches remain the same, there are no shortage of new faces that should alter the dynamics of the 2010 Fred Page Cup Finals.

Gone from the Kings' line-up are the high-scoring trio of Darcy Oakes, Kyle Bodie and Clay Harvey, who finished 1-2-3 in postseason scoring last year with 66 points amongst them. Filling their shoes are midseason pick-up Daniel Carr and Ontario import Matt Garbowsky, who along with captain Mat Bodie have combined 30 goals and 40 assists through three playoff rounds.

In net, Josh Watson has ably replaced the departed Carson Chubak. The 19-year old compiled a 12-4 record in the Coastal bracket while posting a goals-against average of 1.94 and a .921 save-percentage. Most impressively, with his team down three games to one against Alberni Valley in the Conference Finals, Watson allowed just two goals on 103 shots in a trio of wins that closed out a seven-game series win.

On the blueline, the Kings boast one of the league's deepest and most offensively gifted groups. Led by Bodie's 64 combined regular season and playoff points, complimented by the poise and experience of Reid Campbell, Jason Yee and Darcy Huisman, and topped off by the size and formidable shot of Justin Dasilva, Powell River is rarely at a disadvantage on defence.

Meanwhile, there are few holes to be poked in the line-up of a Vernon Vipers squad that lost just six times in regulation during a 60-game regular season. The defending champs are deep up front, where twins Connor and Kellen Jones set the tone with a relentless forecheck and excellent cycling abilities. RBC Cup veterans Braden Pimm, Mike Collins, Jonathan Milhouse and Cory Kane are amongst the team's secondary scoring threats, as the foursome's 252 combined regular season points demonstrates.

Defensively, the Vipers rely on a group that includes team captain Kevin Kraus, New Jersey Devils draft pick Curtis Gedig, and Ivy League commits Dan Nycholat and Adam Thompson. Nycholat has continued to post impressive offensive numbers in the playoffs following a 45-point campaign in his first BCHL season.

Graeme Gordon has given the Vipers just the type of steady goaltending they had hoped for when he replaced graduating starter Andrew Hammond this season. Both Gordon and rookie back-up Blake Voth posted fine regular season numbers, but Gordon has taken his game up a notch in 10 postseason appearances. In those starts, the 20-year old has picked up seven wins while allowing just 16 goals. His .940 save-percentage through three rounds leads all BCHL netminders by a sizable margin.

The clubs met twice during the 2009/10 regular season, with the Vipers winning at home and taking the head-to-head series after gaining a point in an overtime loss on the Sunshine Coast. With both of those meetings having taken place in the final month of the regular season (January 29th and February 4th), there should be some memories fresh in the minds of both clubs.

2010 Fred Page Cup Finals Schedule:

Game #1 - Powell River at Vernon, Friday, April 2nd, 7:00 PM, Wesbild Centre
Game #2 - Powell River at Vernon, Saturday, April 3rd, 7:00 PM, Wesbild Centre
Game #3 - Vernon at Powell River, Monday, April 5th, 7:00 PM, Powell River Recreation Centre (Hap Parker Arena)
Game #4 - Vernon at Powell River, Tuesday, April 6th, 7:00 PM, Powell River Recreation Centre (Hap Parker Arena)
Game #5 - Powell River at Vernon, Thursday, April 8th, 7:00 PM, Wesbild Centre
Game #6 - Vernon at Powell River, Saturday, April 10th, 7:30 PM, Powell River Recreation Centre (Hap Parker Arena)
Game #7 - Powell River at Vernon, Monday, April 12th, 7:00 PM, Wesbild Centre

Monday, March 29, 2010

BCHL Releases Schedule For 2010 BC Hydro Fred Page Cup Finals:

BCHL releases schedule for 2010 BC Hydro Fred Page Cup Finals

Monday, March 29, 2010 - Submitted by BCHL Media

The British Columbia Hockey League has released its schedule for the best-of-seven 2010 Fred Page Cup Finals, presented by BC Hydro Powersmart. The series will begin on Friday, April 2nd at the Wesbild Centre in Vernon.

2010 Fred Page Cup Finals Schedule:

Game #1 - Powell River at Vernon, Friday, April 2nd, 7:00 PM, Wesbild Centre
Game #2 - Powell River at Vernon, Saturday, April 3rd, 7:00 PM, Wesbild Centre
Game #3 - Vernon at Powell River, Monday, April 5th, 7:00 PM, Powell River Recreation Centre (Hap Parker Arena)
Game #4 - Vernon at Powell River, Tuesday, April 6th, 7:00 PM, Powell River Recreation Centre (Hap Parker Arena)
Game #5 - Powell River at Vernon, Thursday, April 8th, 7:00 PM, Wesbild Centre
Game #6 - Vernon at Powell River, Saturday, April 10th, 7:30 PM, Powell River Recreation Centre (Hap Parker Arena)
Game #7 - Powell River at Vernon, Monday, April 12th, 7:00 PM, Wesbild Centre

Congrats Goes Out To Mr. Volpatti!

I have been super busy with my game previews and game recaps during the Vipers-Vees series I havnt had a chance to comment and congratulate former Vernon Vipers forward, Aaron Volpatti on his signing with the Vancouver Canucks.

I would like to take this time to congradulate Aaron Volpatti on his new signing and wish him all the best in the AHL with Manitoba and hopefully one day soon cracking the Canucks lineup. With Aaron's Concussion and then his injury in a fire during his final year In Vernon, It's great to see Aaron still playing the game and never hung up his skates. Aaron has done very well with Brown University and now has been rewarded with the Vancouver Canucks knocking on his door. I was a huge fan of Mr. Volpatti right from day one. I always enjoyed his style of hockey and his physical play and hard work he brought to the rink game in and game out. I will never forget those huge checks Aaron would lay out off the start of a game, after circling the zone and then come in behind the visitors goal and just level the d-man to the ice. Viper fans were lucky to see a few of those over Aaron's years here.

Vernon and the Vipers are very proud you of Aaron, Thanks for some great memories and all the best with the Moose and the Canucks!

Vipers Questionable Goal?

In Friday night's Game 5 between Vernon & Penticton the Vipers thought they had scored in the 3rd period after a shot that looked like it had beat Sean Bonar. The goal light was put on and stayed on for several seconds before the play carried on. After a stopage in play the referee and linesmen talked things over and decided it was no goal. Many fans at the game that night standing behind the goal said the puck had crossed the line. Thanks to Kiss FM's Rob Abramenko who posted the video, now you be the judge and decide if this puck goes in or hits the post and comes back out the other side.

Vernon Vipers 2009-2010 Highlight Video:

Kiss FM's Rob Abramenko has once again made one of his great Vernon Vipers video's, Abro just finished a highlight package video of new and old highlights from this season. Check it out,

Saints And Oil Barons To Meet In AJHL Enerflex Cup Final:

The Winner of the Powell River Kings & Vernon Vipers will advance to the Doyle Cup & face the winner of either Fort McMurray or Spruce Grove. The AJHL is now down to their two final teams in the Enerflex Cup. Here's a article I copied off the AJHL website on the #1 ranked Sprue Grove Saints & the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.

Saints and Oil Barons to Meet in AJHL Enerflex Cup Final

March 27, 2010

AJHL Enerflex Cup Schedule will be officially announced on

Saints off to AJHL final


SPRUCE GROVE — The Saints have marched on the Alberta Junior Hockey League final.

Playing more like the team that dominated the AJHL this season, the Spruce Grove Saints coasted to a 4-1 win over the Camrose Kodiaks at Grant Fuhr Arena Friday night.

“It was one of those games where they (Camrose) didn’t have a ton of shots,” said Saints coach Steve Hamilton, whose team finished with a 43-16 shots advantage. “We had our chances to extend the lead, but we didn’t and kept it tight.”

Spruce Grove won the series 4-1, setting up an all-north final against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, starting here on April 2. The MOB clinched their series with a 5-2 win in Okotoks Friday.

Spruce Grove won all six regular-season meetings over Fort McMurray.

“We’re going to have our hands full,” said Hamilton about the rapidly-improving Oil Barons. “Regular season means nothing.”

If there was any question about the Saints’ ability in the first three games of the AJHL semifinal, they were answered last night.

It didn’t help Camrose’s cause when goalie Dalyn Flette could not answer the bell for the second straight game (flu) and head coach Boris Rybalka was banished from the building after being suspended by the league.

Kodiaks assistant Doug Fleck took over coaching duties, but it wouldn’t have mattered.

By the time the Saints had taken a 3-0 lead on a powerplay goal by David Glen at 3:36 of the second period, they were already ahead on the shot clock by a 21-3 count.

Josh Koper and Brett Cameron scored first-period goals two minutes apart in the first.

“It was a good feeling,” said Cameron, who added an assist after scoring the series-winning goal. “We didn’t want to go back to Camrose.

“It was the right time and the right place for me to get that goal. I thought (Camrose goalie Kris) Moore played a lot better tonight. He hadn’t played in a long time. He was put in a tough position to step in like that.”

Fort Mac could be a different challenge.

“We just have to keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing during the playoffs and we should be all right,” said Cameron.

Joel Paiment scored the only goal for Camrose and Saints sniper Adam Henderson scored his 12th playoff goal in the third.

Jordan Draper and Carson Cooper chipped in a pair of assists each for the Saints, who opened up the contest with a forechecking clinic to dominate the smaller and less experienced Camrose defence.

“We just stuck to our game plan of hard forechecks early,” said Draper. “Tonight, it was going all game long. In the first period, our forecheck was pretty relentless and I don’t think they could handle it.”

Although the Fort Mac defence is also undersized, their blue-line is a bit more experienced and have helped the team tighten up their goals against this playoffs.

“They’re a really quick team,” said Draper. “They have a lot of depth up front, but they’re kind of small, so we have to use our physical play.”

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Former Viper Coach Mick & The Grizzlies Win League Championship:

This is posted on the KIJHL website:

Grizzlies Reign Supreme

Saturday, March 27, 2010 - Submitted by KIJHL

The Revelstoke Grizzlies claimed the KIJHL 2009-10 League Championship Sunday night with a 2-1 victory over the hometown Nelson Leafs. The victory gave the Okanagan Conference champion, Grizzlies a 4-1 series win.

Revelstoke won the Okanagan regular season title by a comfortable eight point margin and therefore recieved a first-round playoff bye.

Their first round of action brought on the Chase Chiefs and an eventual 4-2 series win. The Posse from Princeton came next and were dispatched in four straight games. The league final began in Nelson with a 3-2 overtime win for the Leafs, followed by four straight wins for the Grizzlies, including the Sunday night road win.

Nelson also finished first in the Neil Murdoch Division of the Kootenay Conference in regular season play. They eliminated Beaver Valley, Spokane and Fernie on their march to the finals.

Congratulations to both teams and best wishes to the Grizzlies who now move on to represent the KIJHL at the Cyclone Taylor Cup Tournament. This tournament, played in Parksville, BC April 1-4, will determine the Junior B champion for BC and will be hosted by the Oceanside Generals, of the VIJHL.

Vipers Dispose Of Vees:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers dispose of Vees

by Don Klepp | Added 2010-03-28

A solid defensive effort and a potent power play fuelled the Vernon Vipers’ 4-1 defeat of the Penticton Vees on Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The win eliminated the Vees in six games and advanced the defending RBC champions to the Fred Page Cup versus Powell River.

The Vees power play had led the BCHL all year at around 30 percent efficiency, but it paled in comparison to the Vipers in this series. Penticton’s “death squad” was nullified by the Viper penalty kill in 18 opportunities, including three in this game.

Meanwhile, the Vipers converted three of four power plays, much like their last visit to the SOEC, when three of their five goals came with the man advantage. In the six-game series, the Vipers went 8 for 24.

In addition, they scored twice short handed, a further indicator of their dominant penalty kill.

On Saturday, the Vipers started well, with three early scoring chances, but the Vees regrouped and scored first. At 4:05 of the first, Eric Filiou re-directed Garrett Milan’s shot past Graeme Gordon. The goal followed strong pressure by the Filiou line, which Milan had joined on a partial line change.

The Vipers equalized on the power play 1 minute 34 seconds later. Dan Nycholat’s slap shot from the point beat Sean Bonar with Logan Johnston in the sin bin for elbowing. Braden Pimm and Mike Collins drew assists on the play after controlling play in the Vee zone.

The game’s defining moment came from a moment of brilliance orchestrated by Mike Collins. Just outside the Vee blue line, he deftly dispossessed Luke Curadi. Then, he coolly waited for Braden Pimm to clear the zone before feeding his centre man. Pimm took two strides before beating Bonar cleanly.

Collins earned his third straight assist at 4:24 of the second period when he and Pimm set up Adam Thompson for a wicked slapper that Bonar couldn’t handle. Once again, Logan Johnston was serving a two-minute penalty.

Undisciplined play by Ryan Viselli and Matt Paltridge gave the Vipers a 5 on 3 advantage, which they converted at 9:04. Kellen Jones was credited with an unassisted goal, although he and his brother Connor affirmed that Connor had tipped in Kellen’s centering pass. The play developed when Dan Nycholat’s precise stretch pass helped free Kellen on the left wing.

From that point, the Vipers basically focused on defence. Remembering the previous night’s Vee comeback, said Viper defender Garrett Noonan, “there’s absolutely no way we were going to allow that to happen again.”

So, although the Vees managed 12 shots in the third period, only two of those shots sorely tested Graeme Gordon. Named the game’s first star, Gordon excelled at controlling rebounds and at staying square to the shooter.

In the Fred Page Cup, the Vipers will face Powell River for the second year in a row, after the Kings rebounded from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in seven games. Josh Watson, who pitched a 41-save shut out on Saturday in Port Alberni, allowed just two goals in the last three games of that series, so it looks like the Vipers will face another hot goaltender.

During the regular season, the Vipers defeated the Kings 5-2 in Vernon and dropped a 3-2 overtime decision in Powell River. The series will begin April 2 and 3 in Vernon.

Grisdale Rates Signings:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Grisdale rates signings

By Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star

Published: March 27, 2010

John Grisdale took the university route to the NHL so he’s been stoked seeing a handful of B.C. Hockey League grads sign pro contracts in the last two weeks.

I sat beside the former Vancouver Canuck and Toronto Maple Leaf defenceman during the second intermission of the Vipers-Vees playoff game Wednesday night at the stunning South Okanagan Events Centre.

A graduate of the Michigan Tech Huskies, Grisdale is commissioner of the 17-team BCHL, known as the top junior A league in the nation.

Former Vipers Hunter Bishop (Montreal) and Aaron Volpatti (Vancouver) last week joined Zac Dalpe (Carolina), Lee Baldwin (NY Rangers) and Josh Lunden (Phoenix) as BCHL alumni earning NHL deals.

“It’s one of the things our league strives to do is give players a chance to develop late and it’s just another example,” said Grisdale, 61. “It’s great news.”

The BCHL has a record number of players secure NCAA university scholarships each year, and a few get plucked in the NHL entry draft.

Vipers’ head coach/GM Mark Ferner, who took the major junior journey to the show, says the draft does not guarantee you’re a sure thing.

“Just because you get drafted doesn’t mean you’re going to play,” said Ferner “But if you’re good enough, they’re going to find you, so just continue to work hard and put yourself in those situations where you’re going to be identified.”

Grisdale, like most hockey observers, feels the BCHL is getting quicker by the week.

“In the NHL, the games we watch on television are any indication, the athletes are getting better so it translates right down to junior A hockey and certainly we’re seeing the recognition of the players getting signed to pro contracts so we must be doing something right.”

Grisdale, who played alongside Harold Snepsts, Dennis Kearns and Lars Lindgren during his last season (1978-79) with the Canucks, wants to see the league improving its product in all 17 markets.

“Certainly, we’ve got some work to do in our franchises. Our attendance is down a bit this year so we’re undergoing on developing some standards to raise the profile of all of our teams. I’m very, very optimistic about the continued growth of our league. These are tough economic teams but I’m pleased with where our governors are and our franchises are.”

Vernon led the league with an average attendance of 2,004 per game. Penticton was second at 1,720 and Langley third at 1,656.

Grisdale is highly impressed with the talent level of the final-four playoff teams.

“This is a pretty darn good game. The top four teams in the league are in the Conference Finals and that’s kind of what you expect when you start the playoffs but you’re never sure if it’s going to happen.”

As for head shots and cheap shots, Grisdale said the four western junior A leagues are meeting and working on a document to target such hits.

“We don’t want to see any player come into our league and get injured. We want to be pre-emptive. If we can do something now, our four western leagues will be a leader in this sort of thing. We may not see any in this series, but we’ve seen them throughout the year.”

Formerly in energy company and arena management, Grisdale is having a blast in his ninth season as BCHL boss.

“I love junior A hockey. I love what it brings. I really love the interaction with our community and governors and fans. I’m been a staunch supporter of the B.C. Hockey League for a long time. Like any job, when you’re in the administrative part, you’ve got things that you like and don’t like, but you take the good with the bad and I’m all about moving the league ahead and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

n Matt Hughes, 30, took the high road after being fired by the Salmon Arm SilverBacks.

“I guess anytime you get fired, it’s a bit of a surprise but it wasn’t totally out of left field,” he told Black Press Sports. “I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me; I would have liked an opportunity to see it out.”

The ’Backs went 29-25-3-3 but stumbled into the playoffs, eliminated in the first round by the Quesnel Millionaires.

“We all have to take some blame and I said I’ll take a lot of blame for this,” said GM Rylan Ferster. “I think this is a real unfair business too at times.”

Ferster, who plans to return as head coach, informed Hughes of the team’s decision last week.

“You never feel good when you see another coach lose their job,” he said. “You certainly feel for that guy no matter what level.”

Ferster was fired after his first stint as Salmon Arm’s head coach at the end of the 2004 season and he said that was easier to take than telling Hughes what was happening.

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to be a part of in hockey, to be on that side of the desk,” he said. “Being on this side is really difficult.”

Penticton Plucks Game 5 In OT Thriller:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

BCHL PLAYOFFS – Penticton plucks Game 5 in OT thriller

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star

Published: March 27, 2010

The Penticton Vees spoiled what probably should have been a hometown celebration for the Vernon Vipers Friday night at Wesbild Centre.

Trailing by a pair of goals after 40 minutes in Game 5 of the B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference final, Penticton collected three unanswered goals to prolong their season with a hard-fought 3-2 triple overtime win before 2,815 fans at Wesbild Centre.

With his club’s season on the line, Denver Manderson potted the winner at 7:14, picking the top corner on netminder Graeme Gordon, who lost track of the puck behind the net and couldn’t recover in time when Beau Bennett fed the Vees’ captain a sneaky backdoor pass.

“I think I’m almost too tired that I don’t remember (the goal),” joked Manderson. “They had the long change so they had some guys out there still penalty killing. I think they were a little tired and Bennett did his little pretend to go behind the net and throw it back. Luckily I put it in, I almost screwed it up.”

The Vees trailed Vernon 3-2 in the best-of-seven series heading into Game 6 Saturday night at South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton. With the Vees understaffed and battling injuries, Vipers’ head coach Mark Ferner said fatigue might yet play a part in the series.

“Give them credit, they’re not going to go away. They’re a little bit shortstaffed over there, and the one positive is it was a long game so hopefully we can come out with some real good jump (Saturday),” he said.

If necessary, Game 7 would go Sunday (7 p.m.) at Wesbild.

Fans were treated to a lively game featuring stellar goaltending, particularly from Sean Bonar, who kept Penticton alive with a 61-save, second star performance.

Bonar seemed to get better as the game wore on, denying David Robinson on a gorgeous three-way passing play with linemates Bradem Pimm and Mike Collins midway through the third period. He got a little luck in the second OT, as he got just enough of Adam Thompson’s point blast to get a deflection off the crossbar.

Gordon needed to be sharp early in the third OT when Garret Milan cruised in alone after Viper d-man Curtis Gedig blew a wheel at the blueline.

The Vipers got off to a great start as rookie Dylan Walchuk posted his first-ever BCHL playoff goal five minutes into the first period. His linemate, Jonathan Milhouse, used a burst of speed to break up middle, testing Bonar with a hard snapshot. Walchuk was there to corral the rebound, turning and firing far side.

“We’re just battling hard, getting pucks to the net and things are going our way,” said Walchuk, on playing with Milhouse and Bryce Kakoske.

“Every guy worked hard tonight. We did everything to win that game, but Penticton played a solid game too. A couple bad bounces for us and we couldn’t bury our chances, and Penticton made a nice play to score.”

Cole Ikkala made it 2-0 Vernon late in the second period, following up on Robbie Short’s breakaway attempt to chip a loose puck over Bonar. Short burned by defenceman Luke Curadi, who got caught flatfooted at the blueline, to start the play.

Ikkala, a Philadelphia product, had pretty much hit the erase button on Game 5 by the time he left Wesbild that night.

“Not the result we wanted, but as a team we played well. Give them credit, they’ve got a good goalie, a good team. We weren’t expecting it to be easy, and the good thing is we can bounce back.

“It’s not frustrating, it just comes down to bearing down on our chances. If we don’t, that’s obviously the outcome we’ll get. We’ll just learn from it and hopefully put our bounces in tomorrow.”

Vernon dominated the second frame, outshooting Penticton 13-3, but the visitors came alive early in the final period when they created a turnover behind the Vipers’ net. The puck made its way back to Beau Bennett, who unleashed a wrister through a screen to beat Gordon from the high slot.

Penticton’s Joey Holka silenced the Wesbild crowd later in the period as he fired blindly from behind the goaline, banking his shot off Gordon’s leg to force OT.

Said Vees’ head coach Fred harbinson: “I thought it was a really gritty performance... being down 2-0 in Vernon against a great Vernon team and our guys didn’t quit. I thought we got better in the third period and beyond.

“Sean Bonar was outstanding and our best players made some big plays. Our captain finished it off with a great overtime goal.

“The biggest thing we’re excited about is that we get to extend this season for at least another day. We get to come home and give our fans another game at home.”

Kings Take Game 7:

The Powell River Kings come all the way back after down 3-1 in the Coastal Conference Finals to knock off the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3-0 in Game 7 last night. Powell River will now face Vernon in a re-match of last years Fred Page Cup. Games 1 & 2 of the Fred Page Cup will go Friday April 2nd & Saturday April 3rd in Vernon.

Interior Conference Finals: Game 6: Vernon 4 Penticton 1

I was at last nights Interior Conference Finals Game 6 as Vernon defeated Penticton 4-1 in front of 2,221 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Graeme Gordon
Penticton: Sean Bonar

1st Period: Jonathan Milhouse with a good chance in the first few minutes was stopped after Sean Bonar made a nice save. Vernon carried the play real early before Garrett Milan setup Eric Filiou who was untouched in front of the goal to beat Graeme Gordon at 4:05 giving Penticton the all important first goal of the hockey game. Milan & Hayden Trupp with the assists. Just over a minute after the goal the Vipers would jump on the game's first powerplay and make the Vees pay. Dan Nycholat's point shot beat Sean Bonar at 5:29 tying the game 1-1. Mike Collins & Braden Pimm with the assists. Back come the Vees as Bo Dolan's screened point shot somehow just missed the net, Eric Filiou come close after being stopped by Gordon. Penticton would then get their first powerplay of the night but it was the Vipers who had the better chances. Cory Kane would cut towards the goal, going in alone but was stopped by Bonar. Kellen Jones then ragged some valuable time off the clock with some hard work along the end boards as Vernon would kill off the minor. The Vipers with a great chance missed on a two one as Connor Jones couldnt hit the net. Logan Johnston's shot was tipped in front but somehow stopped by Gordon. Mike Collins then setup Braden Pimm who beat Bonar shortside at 16:19 giving Vernon a 2-1 lead. Collins with the lone helper. A fairly even opening period but it was Vernon that had the better scoring chances. The Vees would get a late powerplay before the period come to an end but were unable to capitalize. The Vipers with a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Penticton 14-13.

2nd Period: Sahir Gill with a great chance to put Vernon up by two goals was stopped on an early breakaway after Sean Bonar shut the door. Shortly after Connor Jones was stopped by the glove of Sean Bonar. With the Vipers on the powerplay Adam Thompson beat Bonar at 4:24 gave Vernon a 3-1 lead. Dan Nycholat & Mike Collins with the assists. The Vipers really took over the 2nd period and were by far the better of the two teams. Vernon used their strong forecheck most of the period to try and ware down the Vees. Rob Short & Cole Ikkala on a two on one, Short was forced to shoot but couldnt beat Bonar after making a nice save. The Vees would then get into penalty trouble in the 2nd taking some undisaplined penalties. Kellen Jones then put the Vipers up 4-1 on the two man advantage at 9:04 Jones goal was unassisted. Derik Johnson would pick up a 10 minute misconduct after banging his stick along the boards after the Jones goal. The Vipers were unable to capitalize on the second powerplay as the Vees killed off the minor. Connor Jones, Kellen Jones & Steve Weinstein on a three on two couldnt beat Bonar, back come the Vees on the fly with a two on one but Andrew Pickering wired his shot off the crossbar. This was the Vees only real good quality scoring chance as Vernon dominated the period. Penticton would sustain a good attack after Curtis Gedig lost his stick in his own end but the Vipers defence did a great job at keeping the Vees to the outside and not really allowing them with a good scoring chance. The Vipers did a great job at shutting down the Vees offence and really limiting their chances. Penticton would get a late powerplay wich would carry over into the 3rd period. The Vipers were up 4-1 after 40 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Penticton 12-5.

3rd Period: The Vipers would kill off the remainder of the penalty and now just get the puck in deep on almost every chance they had. The Vipers playing dump and chase hockey for most of the 3rd really shut down Penticton come the final period. The Vees had all kinds of troubles early to try and generate any kind of offence. The Vipers with no real quality scoring chances just got the play in deep and then forechecked down low trying to kill off as much time off the clock as possible. The Vees managed to get a few good chances in close but Graeme Gordon was their to make the save. Penticton with very few chances couldnt seem to get much of anything going with their season on the line. Gordon was forced to make one big save with traffic in front but in the end the Vipers did a great job at shutting down the Vees with a complete game picking up a big 4-1 victory winning the Interior Conference Championship for the second year in a row and the first time repeating as Interior Conference Champions since 2002-2003. Vernon was outshot 12-4.

Top Players: (Vernon)

The line of Braden Pimm (1 goal & 1 assist), David Robinson & Mike Collins (3 assists) played very well tonight. Pimm & Collins who have struggled so far in this series come up with a huge night.

Dan Nycholat (1 assist) Played a solid game on the Vernon blueline. What can you say about the play from Dan Nycholat in these playoffs. Nycholat has been the Vipers best d-man and showed why again tonight.

Adam Thompson (1 goal) Also played a solid game on the backend. Thompson really played well tonight.

Graeme Gordon (29 saves) What can you say about Graeme Gordon, fans were wondering if Gordon could get the job done. Gordon played a heck of a series shutting out the Vees twice. Gordon looked very calm and confident between the pipes tonight. Didnt see a whole lot of action but made the saves when needed too.

Top Players: (Penticton)

Ryan Viselli with a few chances in tonights game played well. This kid always battled hard and wasnt afraid to go into the grey area's. Played a good game for the Vees tonight.

Eric Filiou (1 goal) Filiou opened the scoring for the Vees as well as come up with a few other good chances. Another Penticton player who battled hard and competed all series.

Game Thoughts: (Vernon)

After blowing a 2-0 lead heading into the 3rd period in Game 5 the Vipers shutdown the Vees tonight playing probally their best game of these playoffs in a complete 4-1 victory. The Vipers played very well tonight, looked very good in almost all area's. Some very crisp passing, looked very strong on the powerplay (3-4) and penalty kill. Didnt give up any turnovers. I thought Vernon did a great job at shutting down Penticton's offence, keeping the Vees to the outside and limiting their chances. The defence played very well tonight. The Vipers scored on their chances and took advantage of the powerplay. Vernon was by far the better of the two teams and it showed tonight. Nice to see a big crowd of Viper fans come down for the game tonight and make alot of noise. Id like to take this time to thank and congratulate the Vernon Vipers on winning back to back Interior Conference Championships. All the best vs Powell River.

Game Thoughts: (Penticton)

After a huge 3-2 triple overtime win in Game 5 I really was thinking we were going to see a Game 7. The Vees got the all important first goal but were unable to generate anymore offence. The Vees with some undisaplined penalties were unable to shutdown the Vipers. Giving up two powerplay goals in the 2nd period really cost the Vees the game. Just like in Game 4 where Vernon scored two powerplay goals to open the game up and really put the game away. The Vees with just a handfull of real quality chances were no match for the Vipers tonight. Penticton battled hard but in the end couldnt compete with the Vipers. The Vees just didnt have the energy or gas left in the 3rd to mount any kind of a comeback. Give Penticton full credit for battling hard and forcing a Game 6. Rumors were going around all series the Vees have several players either injured or playing injured, that must be very tough to still try and compete and battle like they did. Id like to take this time to thank & congradulate the Penticton Vees on one heck of a season. This is by far the best Penticton hockey team I have ever watched over the years. To all the graduating players or players that wont be back next season, thanks for some great games and great memories adding to this great rivarly. I wish you all the best in your hockey careers or future.



Darrin Robak
Trevor Fitzgerald (AP)
Patrick McGillis


Ben Sexton
Jake Johnson

3 Stars:

1st Star: Graeme Gordon (29 saves)
2nd Star: Dan Nycholat (1 assist)
3rd Star: Braden Pimm (1 goal & 1 assist)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

(Game Preview) Interior Conference Finals: Game 6: Vernon @ Penticton:

Vernon (7-4) @ Penticton (10-5)

Last Game Played:

Saturday March 26th Penticton defeated Vernon 3-2 in triple overtime

The defending Royal Bank Cup Champion Vernon Vipers & Penticton Vees meet in the Interior Conference Finals in Game 6 tonight with the Vipers having a second chance at moving onto the BCHL League Finals after Penticton’s huge 3-2 triple overtime win last night. You can listen to tonight’s game live with Todd Miller on 107.5 Kiss FM starting at 6:45pm

Lets take a look at the Vernon Vipers (7-4)

The Vipers clinched top spot in the BCHL and the Interior Division with a record of 51-6-0-3 and was ranked #2 in all of Canada. Vernon scored a league high 298 goals and broke the Penticton Vees BCHL record for least amount of goals, giving up just 119. Vernon was 25-4-0-1 at home & 26-2-0-2 on the road during the regular season. The Vipers are 9-0-0-1 in their last 10 games. The Vipers had three players in the leagues top 20 in regular season scoring. Connor Jones (36-45-81), Mike Collins (30-46-76) & Braden Pimm (25-43-68). Blake Voth lead the league as the BCHL’s top goaltender. Voth has a record of 21-2 with 3 shutouts and broke the BCHL record with the lowest GAA with 1.79 Graeme Gordon was 3rd in the leagues top 10 goaltenders with a record of 30-7 with 2 shutouts and a GAA of 2.06

1st Round: First Round Bye
2nd Round: Defeated Quesnel in six games

Home Playoff Record: 4-2
Road Playoff Record: 3-2

Vernon has outscored Penticton 16-9 in the series

Powerplay vs. Penticton:

5-20 (2 shorthanded goals)

The defending Royal Bank Cup Champion Vernon Vipers have a second chance at winning back to back Interior Conference Championships with a win over the Penticton Vees tonight. The Vipers will be looking to repeat as Interior Conference Champions for the first time since 2002-2003. Vernon with a chance at putting an end to this series last night lost 3-2 in triple overtime after blowing a 2-0 lead heading into the 3rd period. You have to wonder if either team will have any energy or gas left in the tank to play tonight after last nights marathon game. The Vipers will need everyone on board tonight and try and knock off the Penticton Vees. The Vipers don’t want to have to come back home for a Game 7 tomorrow night. Just like last night Vernon needs to get off to a good start, try and get to Sean Bonar early but need to play a full 60 minutes. The Vipers now need to stay focused and ready to battle a Penticton team that now has the momentum. Once again specialty teams and goaltending will be key. The Vipers need to use their strong forecheck and physical play to their advantage. Sean Bonar was giving up some big rebounds in Game 5, Vernon will have to try and have someone in front looking for the rebound. Vernon needs Braden Pimm & Mike Collins to step up, these two have been pretty quiet all playoffs. The 14 players that won the RBC last year have the experience and know how to close out a series, this hopefully will pay off for the Vipers. Tonight should be a heck of a hockey game.

Key Players To Watch:

Connor Jones (5-6-11)
Kellen Jones (3-8-11)
Rob Short (5-4-9)
Sahir Gill (4-5-9)
Jonathan Milhouse (3-6-9)
Cole Ikkala (6-3-9)
Cory Kane (1-6-7)
David Robinson (1-5-6)
Braden Pimm (2-4-6)
Mike Collins (2-4-6)
Kevin Kraus (0-5-5)
Dan Nycholat (2-3-5)
Graeme Gordon (6-3 Record, 4 Shutouts 1.54 GAA)

Vernon Vipers Playoff Scoring:

Connor Jones (5-6-11)
Kellen Jones (3-8-11)
Sahir Gill (4-5-9)
Rob Short (5-4-9)
Cole Ikkala (6-3-9)
Jonathan Milhouse (3-6-9)
Cory Kane (1-6-7)
Mike Collins (2-4-6)
David Robinson (1-5-6)
Braden Pimm (2-4-6)
Kevin Kraus (0-5-5)
Garrett Noonan (2-3-5)
Dan Nycholat (2-3-5)
Adam Thompson (2-3-5)
Steven Weinstein (0-5-5)
Bryce Kakoske (2-3-5)
Curtis Gedig (1-3-4)
Dylan Walchuk (1-2-3)
Patrick McGillis (0-0-0)
Darrin Robak (0-0-0)

Blake Voth (1-1 Record, 3.56 GAA)
Graeme Gordon (6-3 Record, 4 Shutouts, 1.54 GAA)

Let’s take a look at the Penticton Vees (10-5)

The Vees finished the regular season in 2th place in the Interior Division & the BCHL with a record of 48-8-0-4 The Vees scored 284 goals and gave up 143 goals. Penticton was 25-3-0-2 on home ice & 23-5-0-2 on the road during the regular season. The Vees are 3-0 at home & 1-2 on the road during these Playoffs. Penticton finished the regular season at 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games. The Vees had two players in the leagues top 20 in scoring. Vees Captain Denver Manderson finished 3rd leading scorer with (40-73-113) while Beau Bennett finised tied with Salmon Arm’s Mark Zengerle as the leagues leading scorer with (41-79-120) Joel Rumpel & Sean Bonar finished in the leagues top 10 goaltenders. Rumpel had a 19-3 record, two shutouts and a GAA of 1.92 Sean Bonar finished with a 28-9 record. Bonar had four shutouts and a GAA of 2.64 For more info, stats and great game coverage check out Ryan Pinders Penticton Vees blog,

1st Round: Defeated Merritt in four games
2nd Round: Defeated Westside in six games

Home Playoff Record: 6-1
Road Playoff Record: 4-4

Powerplay vs. Vernon:


With their season on the line for a second night in a row, the Penticton Vees are on the brink of elimination. Vees Captain Denver Manderson forced Game 6 last night with a huge 3-2 triple overtime win in Vernon. You knew the Vees wernt going to through in the towel last night, this series is far from over as the fourth game is always the toughest to win. Again you can through all the stats out the window, the Vees are in another must win situation or their season comes to an end. Penticton now comes home where they are 6-1 in these playoffs and should be expecting a huge crowd tonight. The Vees will once again need Denver Manderson & Beau Bennett to step up to the plate and carry this team. Sean Bonar will once again be called apon to make the big save when needed. Specialty teams have hurt the Vees in this series going 0-15 on the powerplay and giving up two shorthanded goals. Penticton needs to try and get the powerplay going. Penticton dosnt want to have to try and battle back in the 3rd tonight, so the Vees must get off to that good start, keep the crowd in the game and try and keep things simple. The Vees have done a great job at shutting down the Gill-Jones line over the last few games but still have to contend with Vernon’s three other lines. The Vees need to stay disaplined and stay out of the penalty box. Penticton needs to try and keep the Vipers to the outside, and traffic away from Sean Bonar. Penticton is in tough but anything can happen. Remember it was the Vipers two years ago that were down to the Penticton Vees 3-1 before forcing a Game 7 where the Vees won and went on to the Doyle Cup.

Penticton play by play man, Ryan Pinder caught up with Vees Captain Denver Manderson & head coach Fred Harbinson after last nights huge 3-2 triple overtime victory. Here’s what the two had to say,

Key Players To Watch:

Denver Manderson (10-15-25)
Beau Bennett (5-9-14)
Joey Laleggia (2-10-12)
Garrett Milan (2-10-12)
Ryan Viselli (6-3-9)
Logan Johnston (6-2-8)
Alex Szczechura (5-2-7)
Jake Johnson (1-6-7)
Byron Sorensen (2-3-5)
Matt Paltridge (2-3-5)
Sean Bonar (10-5 Record, 2 Shutouts 2:23 GAA)

Penticton Vees Playoff Scoring:

Denver Manderson (10-15-25)
Beau Bennett (5-9-15)
Joey Laleggia (2-10-12)
Garrett Milan (2-10-12)
Logan Johnston (6-2-8)
Ryan Viselli (6-3-9)
Alex Szczechura (5-2-7)
Jake Johnson (1-6-7)
Byron Sorensen (2-3-5)
Eric Filiou (1-4-5)
Matt Paltridge (2-3-5)
Andrew Pickering (0-4-4)
Ben Sexton (1-2-3)
Bo Dolan (1-2-3)
Joey Holka (2-1-3)
Stefan Nicholishen (2-0-2)
Derik Johnson (0-2-2)
Luke Curadi (0-1-1)
Isaac Macleod (0-1-1)

Joel Rumpel (0-0 Record)
Sean Bonar (10-5 Record, 2 Shutouts 2:23 GAA)

Here’s a look at this series,

Interior Conference Finals: Game 1: Friday, March 19th @ Vernon: Vernon wins 6-0

Dan Nycholat’s powerplay goal at 2:13 opened the scoring giving the Vipers the early 1-0 lead. Vernon carried the better of the play and was rewarded with two goals. Jonathan Milhouse scored on a breakaway with just 2.5 seconds remaining in the period. The Vipers took over control of the game in the 2nd and dominated for the remainder of the hockey game. Nycholat with his second of the night at 10:32 gave Vernona 3-0 lead. Then Garrett Noonan at 16:17 put the Vipers up 4-0. Kellen Jones & Rob Short (shorthanded) rounded out the scoring in the 3rd as Vernon walked away with a 6-0 victory taking a 1-0 series lead. Vernon outshot Penticton 47-19. Graeme Gordon made 19 saves for his third straight shutout, while Sean Bonar made 41 saves taking the loss.

Interior Conference Finals: Game 2: Saturday, March 20th @ Vernon: Vernon wins 3-2 (Overtime)

Bo Dolan opens the scoring at 7:32 before Sahir Gill on the powerplay (11:03) & Connor Jones at 18:20 gives Vernon a 2-1 lead after the opening period. Just 39 seconds into the 2nd Derik Johnson ties the game with the lone goal of the period. No scoring in the 3rd sending the game to Overtime. Just 2:20 into the extra period Rob Short beat Sean Bonar giving Vernon the 3-2 victory taking a 2-0 series lead. The Vipers outshot the Vees 36-20. Graeme Gordon made 18 saves picking up the win, while Sean Bonar makes 34 saves taking the loss.

Interior Conference Finals: Game 3: Tuesday March 23rd @ Penticton: Penticton wins 4-0

Matt Paltridge opened the scoring at 5:32 & Jake Johnson gave Penticton a 2-0 lead at 11:12 Ryan Viselli’s goal at 2:48 went in off Kevin Kraus’s skate giving the Vees a 3-0 lead. Denver Manderson hit the empty net at 18:49 giving Penticton a 4-0 victory. Sean Bonar made 37 saves for the win and shutout, while Graeme Gordon made 21 saves taking the loss. Vernon leads the series 2-1

Interior Conference Finals: Game 4: Wednesday, March 24th @ Penticton: Vernon wins 5-0

Bryce Kakoske opened the scoring at 7:31 giving Vernon a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Kakoske on the powerplay at 5:05 of the 2nd period gave the Vipers a 2-0 lead before Adam Thompson’s powerplay goal at 10:11 gave Vernon a 3-0 lead heading into the 3rd. Mike Collins shorthanded at 13:15 and Cole Ikkala on the powerplay at 19:38 sends Vernon home with a 5-0 win and a 3-1 series lead. This was the Vees first loss at home during the playoffs. Vernon outshot Penticton 28-21. Graeme Gordon made 21 saves for his 4th shutout while Sean Bonar made 23 saves taking the loss.

Interior Conference Finals: Game 5: Friday, March 26th @ Vernon: Penticton wins 3-2 in triple overtime

Dylan Walchuk opened the scoring at 5:33 giving the Vipers a 1-0 lead after the 1st period. Cole Ikkala at 18:25 then gave the Vipers a 2-0 lead heading into the 3rd period. Beau Bennett at 2:03 cuts the lead to 2-1. Joey Holka at 15:26 ties the game sending it to overtime. Vees Vaptain Denver Manderson scores at 7:14 giving Penticton the huge 3-2 triple overtime victory forcing a Game 6. Vernon outshot Penticton 63-47. Sean Bonar made 61 saves for the win, while Graeme Gordon made 44 saves taking the loss.

Here's a look at the Vipers-Vees Playoff Schedule:

Interior Conference Finals (3rd Round):

#1 Vernon Vipers vs #2 Penticton Vees

Game 1 - Friday, March 19th @ Vernon:
Game 2 - Saturday, March 20th @ Vernon:
Game 3 - Tuesday, March 23rd @ Penticton:
Game 4 - Wednesday, March 24th @ Penticton:
Game 5* - Friday, March 26th @ Vernon:
Game 6* - Saturday, March 27th @ Penticton:
Game 7* - Sunday, March 28th @ Vernon:

BCHL Grads Look To Make An Impact In 2010 NCAA Tournament:

BCHL grads look to make an impact in 2010 NCAA Tournament

Friday, March 26, 2010 - Submitted by Chad Klassen

March Madness is usually reserved for upsets and buzzer-beaters on the basketball court, but the frenzy of NCAA tournament action is set to hit the ice on Friday night. Sixty-three British Columbia Hockey League graduates face off for a coveted berth in the Frozen Four, which unfolds April 8-10 in Detroit to crown a new college hockey champion.

Two regional games will be the focus of two opening-round match-ups that feature 11 former BCHL stars in each contest. In Albany, New York, Cornell University, boasting the most grads of all the competing schools with 10, will meet the University of New Hampshire. Meanwhile, in Worcester, Massachusetts, the University of North Dakota tussle with the Bulldogs of Yale, who sport seven strong.

Missing from the field is 2009 winner Boston University, but 16 other teams will compete for the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship and many of the BCHL grads are likely to impact how the tournament plays out over the next two weeks.

University of Denver goaltender Marc Cheverie headlines the tournament as one of the best in college hockey. The Nanaimo Clippers grad is a finalist for the 2010 Hobey Baker Award and is bidding to become the first goaltender to earn the honour as the nation’s best player. Cheverie posted six shutouts and helped the Pioneers to a 24-4-3 record in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage in 2009/2010. The Pioneers open their Frozen Four bid on Friday night against Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

In the other East meeting, ex-Salmon Arm SilverBack Riley Nash will bring his 12 goals and 34 points to the ice when Cornell University battles New Hampshire for the right to advance. The Edmonton Oilers’ 2007 first-round pick finished his most proficient season with the Big Red, averaging 1.17 points per game while missing seven contests. Riley and brother Brendon, both former SilverBacks, will team up with eight other BCHL grads.

For the No. 1-ranked University of Miami-Ohio, former Penticton Vees forward Curtis McKenzie is a player to watch. The Dallas Stars’ sixth-round selection in 2009 was sixth on the RedHawks in scoring with five goals and 23 points in 38 games as a freshman. McKenzie was an honourable mention for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s All-Rookie Team for his outstanding year.

Meanwhile, University of North Dakota captain Chay Genoway and his herd of BCHL grads lead the Fighting Sioux into battle with Yale University on Saturday. The one-time Vernon Vipers defenseman has 10 points in nine games in 2009/2010 after an injury forced him to sit out most of the season.

But arguably the biggest story is a pair of schools making their inaugural visits to the tournament. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks and RIT make their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearances, with 13 former BCHL players contributing to the historic moments in NCAA hockey. The No. 18 Nanooks open against the nation’s third-best team in Boston College, while RIT faces Denver.

Northeast: #1 – Boston College vs. #4 – Alaska-Fairbanks

Boston College Eagles
Season Record: 25-10-3 (2nd in Hockey East)
Postseason Finish: Hockey East Champions
Appearance: 29th (Last Appearance: 2008)

Boston College, the 2008 National Champions, did not earn the right to repeat at the 2009 NCAA Tournament but one of the top college hockey powers makes its triumphant return this season. The Eagles roll in as a tournament favourite fresh off the program’s ninth Hockey East conference title and fourth in the last six seasons. After finishing second during the regular season, they knocked off the University of Maine in a thrilling 7-6 overtime victory in Saturday’s championship game. Boston College will use offense to key another NCAA championship run after four six-goal games in their last nine outings. They are the only team in the tournament not sporting a BCHL grad.

Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks
Season Record: 18-11-9 (5th in CCHA)
Postseason Finish: Lost in CCHA Semi-finals
Appearance: 1st

The University of Alaska-Fairbanks represents one of two hockey programs that will play in their inaugural NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship. Eight former BCHL players contributed to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks team that made NCAA hockey history by securing their first tournament berth. The opening-round game against Boston College will hit another historical mark as the first-ever meeting between the two hockey schools. A challenge for the Nanooks -- beyond playing the nation’s third-ranked team -- is the week off they’ve endure after being swept by Northern Michigan two weekends ago. But the underdog squad put together a six-game winning streak prior to the series loss and have confidence facing the Eagles.

Cody Rymut, Senior (Chilliwack Chiefs)
Bryant Molle, Junior (Penticton Vees)
Kevin Petovello, Junior (Victoria Grizzlies)
Carlo Finucci, Sophomore (Burnaby Express)
Ron Meyers, Sophomore (Victoria Grizzlies)
Chad Gehon, Freshman (Westside Warriors)
Kaare Odegard, Freshman (Penticton Vees)
Colin Rundell, Freshman (Alberni Valley Bulldogs)

Northeast: #2 – North Dakota vs. #3 – Yale

North Dakota Fighting Sioux
Season Record: 25-12-5 (4th in WCHA)
Postseason Finish: WCHA Champions
Appearance: 25th (2009)

North Dakota was ousted in the opening round in 2009, but the program has aspirations to relive its tournament magic from 2005-2008, when the Fighting Sioux earned four straight Frozen Four berths. They come in with tons of momentum as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association champions after capturing the Final Five last weekend, winning 5-3 over St. Cloud State in the championship final. If the recent Frozen Four run is any indication, North Dakota will be a tough team to face in the Northeast Regional as the second seed. Two years ago, they were the first seed in the Midwest but lost to Boston College for the second consecutive season. Seniors Darcy Zajac (Salmon Arm SilverBacks) and Chay Genoway (Vernon Vipers) among others will take the Fighting Sioux into battle.

Darcy Zajac (A), Senior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Chay Genoway (C), Senior (Vernon Vipers)
Evan Trupp, Junior (Penticton Vees)
Brett Hextall, Sophomore (Penticton Vees)

Yale Bulldogs
Conference Record: 20-9-3 (1st in ECAC)
Postseason Finish: Lost in ECAC Quarter-finals
Appearance: 4th (2009)

The Bulldogs are hoping to take a bite out of the competition and avenge last year’s first-round disappointment when Yale was taken down by Vermont. They entered last season as Eastern College Athletic Conference champs and return in 2010 on less of a high following a surprising quarter-final loss to Brown University. But a 20-win regular season was good enough to earn an at-large berth. Watch out for the Bulldogs’ underrated offensive attack that can hurt any team. Yale finished first in the NCAA in goals per game (4.08), power play goals (48) and power-play percentage (23.9).

Billy Blase, Senior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Jeff Anderson, Junior (Cowichan Valley Capitals)
Brendan Mason, Junior (Nanaimo Clippers)
Kevin Limbert, Sophomore (Trail Smoke Eaters)
Chad Ziegler, Sophomore (Nanaimo Clippers)
Colin Dueck, Freshman (Nanaimo Clippers)
Jeff Malcolm, Freshman (Quesnel Millionaires)

East: #1 – Denver vs. #4 – RIT

Denver Pioneers
Season Record: 27-9-4 (1st in WCHA)
Postseason Finish: 4th in WCHA Final Five
Appearance: 21st (2009)

Denver seeks the program’s eighth NCAA National Championship as the No. 2 overall seed. Despite a disappointing result at last weekend’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Final Five, the Pioneers were the best team most of the season with 27 wins to finish atop one of the nation’s best conferences. But Denver skates into Albany following a pair of tough losses to North Dakota and Wisconsin to finish fourth in the WCHA championship tournament. Hobey Baker finalist Cheverie allowed 10 goals in the two games, but has the potential to steal games given his goals-against average during the regular season. Fellow Nanaimo Clippers grad Kyle Ostrow and one-time Williams Lake Timberwolves defenseman Cody Brookwell will also play a part in the Pioneers’ Frozen Four ambitions.

Cody Brookwell, Senior (Williams Lake Timberwolves)
Marc Cheverie, Junior (Nanaimo Clippers)
Kyle Ostrow, Junior (Nanaimo Clippers)
Patrick Wiercioch, Sophomore (Burnaby Express)

RIT Tigers
Season Record: 26-11-1 (1st in Atlantic Hockey)
Postseason Finish: Atlantic Hockey Champions
Appearance: 1st

RIT joins the Nanooks as a NCAA tournament rookie, taking five seasons to make it since moving to Division I in 2005. The Atlantic Hockey champions took care of Sacred Heart 6-1 to capture their first conference title and earn the automatic berth. While they are underdogs facing top-ranked Denver, the Tigers enter the tournament as one of the hottest teams. They are 17-3 since January 8th and ride an impressive 10-game winning streak -- currently the longest in Division I hockey. During that stretch, the team has scored a whopping 45 goals and allowed only 13. They have also proven to be dynamic with the man advantage with a power-play goal in 14 consecutive games.

Stevan Matic, Junior (Langley Chiefs)
Al Mazur, Junior (Merritt Centennials)
Tyler Mazzei, Sophomore (Nanaimo Clippers)
Scott Knowles, Freshman (Surrey Eagles)
Adam Hartley, Freshman (Surrey Eagles)

East: #2 – Cornell vs. #3 – New Hampshire

Cornell Big Red
Season Record: 21-8-4 (2nd in ECAC)
Postseason Finish: ECAC Champions
Appearance: 18th (2009)

Cornell University will return to the Times Union Centre in Albany, the site of their 2010 Eastern College Athletic Conference championship win. The Big Red have won four in a row and been stingy in their own zone, not allowing a goal in three games during the ECAC playoffs, including a 3-0 blanking over Union in the conference title game. Cornell earned a 5-2 road win in New Hampshire on January 3rd, only adding to the confidence level. Last year, the school won their opening-round meeting against Northeastern but was eliminated from the Midwest by Bemidji State. Cornell’s four seniors -- Colin Greening (Nanaimo Clippers), Justin Kreuger (Penticton Vees), Brendon Nash (Salmon Arm SilverBacks) and Joe Scali (Alberni Valley Bulldogs) -- are expected to contribute to the Big Red’s tournament success.

Colin Greening, Senior (Nanaimo Clippers)
Justin Kreuger, Senior (Penticton Vees)
Brendon Nash, Senior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Joe Scali, Senior (Alberni Valley Bulldogs)
Joe Devin, Junior (Nanaimo Clippers)
Mike Devin, Junior (Nanaimo Clippers)
Riley Nash, Junior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Michael Garman, Sophomore (Nanaimo Clippers)
Chris Moulson, Freshman (Alberni Valley Bulldogs)
Vince Mihalek, Freshman (Westside)

New Hampshire Wildcats
Season Record: 17-13-7 (1st in Hockey East)
Postseason Finish: Lost in Quarter-finals
Appearance: 20th (2009)

Hockey East’s top team after the regular season failed to make strides in the playoffs, as the Wildcats lost their quarter-final series 2-1 to Vermont and failed to score a goal in their last two contests. Coupled with postseason struggles in 2010, New Hampshire couldn’t beat the top teams on a consistent basis during the regular season. The Wildcats finished 3-7-4 in games against other tournament qualifiers. But if there is a positive to take into Albany on Friday night, they are only a year removed from a second-round appearance. New Hampshire opened with a 6-5 overtime win over the University of North Dakota before losing to the eventual champion Boston University Terriers in the Northeast bracket.

Damon Kipp, Sophomore (Salmon Arm SilverBacks)

Midwest: #1 – Miami-Ohio vs. #4 – Alabama-Huntsville

Miami-Ohio RedHawks
Season Record: 27-7-7 (1st in CCHA)
Postseason Finish: 3rd in CCHA
Appearance: 8th (2009)

The No. 1-ranked RedHawks will make their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last seven years. Their last outing was a 2-1 victory in the CCHA third-place game, but the University of Miami-Ohio are not playing their best going into the first-round meeting with Alabama-Huntsville. The team lost 5-2 to the Michigan Wolverines in a shaky CCHA semi-final performance, and while the RedHawks will likely advance past the Chargers, they need to play better if they want to relive last year’s run to the final. As the fourth seed in the West in 2009, Miami-Ohio reached the Frozen Four championship game but fell a goal short of winning it all; Boston University took the epic game 4-3 in overtime.

Curtis McKenzie, Freshman (Penticton Vees)

Alabama-Huntsville Chargers
Season Record: 12-17-3 (3rd in CHA)
Postseason Finish: CHA Champions
Appearance: 2nd (2007)

The Chargers are the only team with a losing record in the tournament and are heavy underdogs following a less-than-stellar season in the nation’s weakest conference, College Hockey America. They earned the tournament berth by defeating Niagara University in a championship final that featured two teams under .500. It is Alabama-Huntsville’s second overall appearance in the championship tournament and their first since winning the CHA in 2006/2007. Senior defenseman Brennan Barker (Penticton Vees) will be utilized in key defensive situations against the top-ranked RedHawks.

Brennan Barker, Senior (Penticton Vees)
Andrew Coburn, Junior (Vernon Vipers)
Cody Campbell, Sophomore (Burnaby Express)
Keenan Desmet, Freshman (Salmon Arm SilverBacks)
Justin Cseter, Freshman (Salmon Arm SilverBacks)

Midwest: #2 – Bemidji State vs. #3 – Michigan

Bemidji State Beavers
Season Record: 23-9-4 (1st in CHA)
Postseason Finish: 3rd in CHA
Appearance: 4th (2009)

The Beavers will make their fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2005, but it’s their first time as a wildcard. The first-place team in the College Hockey America conference -- Bemidji State’s fifth regular season title in seven years -- slipped in the postseason and finished third following a semi-final defeat against lower-ranked Niagara University. The Beavers were the Cinderella story of the 2009 Frozen Four, beating top-seeded Notre Dame 5-1 and Cornell 4-3 before running into a powerful Miami-Ohio squad. The two schools could meet again in the 2010 Midwest Regional Final if both win Saturday in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Brad Hunt, Sophomore (Burnaby Express)
Jake Areshenko, Freshman (Powell River Kings)

Michigan Wolverines
Season Record: 25-17-1 (7th in CCHA)
Postseason Finish: CCHA Champions
Appearance: 33rd (2009)

A seventh-place finish during the regular season wasn’t going to stop the Wolverines. Michigan has stepped up their game in the playoffs with eight wins in their last nine contests, culminating in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association title. The program beat the top-ranked University of Miami-Ohio by a 5-2 score before beating Northern Michigan in the CCHA Finals. In the process, Michigan became the lowest-seeded team to win the battle-tested conference, which sports four schools in 2010 edition of the NCAA Tournament. Michigan, furthering its reputation as a perennial college hockey contender, kept the impressive streak alive with their record 20th consecutive season battling for the Frozen Four. They are looking for a better showing than 2009 when fourth-ranked Michigan was shut out by Air Force in the first round.

Brian Lebler, Senior (Penticton Vees)
Ben Winnett, Junior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)

West: #1 – Wisconsin vs. #4 – Vermont

Wisconsin Badgers
Season Record: 25-10-4 (2nd in WCHA)
Postseason Finish: 3rd in WCHA Final Five
Appearance: 23rd (2008)

After a one-year hiatus from the NCAA Tournament, the Badgers are back with a vengeance as the tournament favourite. They earned their spot with a third-place finish at the WCHA Final Five last weekend, beating the University of Denver 6-3 to roll in with momentum. But beyond that last win over the Pioneers, Wisconsin is a confident team that can score like few other schools. They are an offensively-talented group that finished as the second-best scoring team, racking up 155 goals during the 2009/2010 campaign.
Contributions come from former Salmon Arm SilverBacks forward Ben Street, who captained the team in his senior year with 15 goals and 29 points to finish sixth in Badgers scoring. The school also sports a third-ranked defensive core after limiting its opponents to 100 goals all season. The top six includes former Westside Warriors defenseman Justin Schultz, who will play in his first tournament. He plays alongside junior Brendan Smith, a Hobey Baker finalist who recorded 15 goals and 44 points to lead all NCAA defenseman.

Ben Street (C), Senior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Scott Gudmanson, Junior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Derek Lee, Junior (Victoria Grizzlies)
Justin Schultz, Freshman (Westside Warriors)

Vermont Catamounts
Season Record: 17-14-7 (8th in Hockey East)
Postseason Finish: 3rd in Hockey East Championships
Appearance: 6th (2009)

The Frozen Four finalists from a year ago will try to pose as the Little Engine That Could for the second straight season. The Catamounts were the third seed in the East bracket in 2009 when they defeated Yale and Air Force to advance. Vermont has again defied all odds to even make the tournament this season. After finishing eighth in the Hockey East standings, the program beat New Hampshire in the quarter-finals to solidify its chances. The Catamounts became the lowest seed ever to earn an at-large berth and ride into the tournament on a high after shutting out the first-place Wildcats in consecutive games.

Anders Franzon, Freshman (Nanaimo Clippers)

West: #2 – St. Cloud State vs. #3 – Northern Michigan

St. Cloud State Huskies
Season Record: 23-13-5 (3rd in WCHA)
Postseason Finish: Lost in WCHA Finals
Appearance: 8th (2008)

The second-ranked team in the West enters with momentum after a good showing in the WCHA Final Five over the weekend. The Huskies shut down a top team in Wisconsin before narrowly losing to North Dakota in the championship game. Former Salmon Arm SilverBacks forward Tony Mosey headlines the Huskies’ offensive attack after a 12-goal, 38-point regular season. He was recognized for his stellar play in the WCHA Final Five with All-Tournament honours. Mosey picked up four assists in two games, including a pair of helpers in the championship final. St. Cloud State, who suffered a first-round exit in 2008, is eager to better its WCHA Finals performance Friday night when the Huskies face Northern Michigan.

Craig Gaudet, Senior (Nanaimo Clippers)
Brian Volpei, Junior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Tony Mosey, Junior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Jordy Christian, Sophomore (Prince George Spruce Kings)

Northern Michigan Wildcats
Season Record: 20-12-8 (4th in CCHA)
Postseason Finish: Lost in CCHA Finals
Appearance: 8th (1999)

This is the first time in 10 years that the NCAA Tournament will be calling Northern Michigan’s name. The third-seeded Wildcats will compete in the West and meet the Huskies on Friday night to begin their Frozen Four journey 19 years after last winning the National Championship in 1991. They have reason to be confident after playing in the CCHA Finals last weekend against the rival Wolverines, despite a 2-1 loss.
Former Alberni Valley goaltender Brian Stewart has the ability to steal games for the Wildcats. He was outstanding in the CCHA conference tournament, turning aside 33 shots in the championship loss to the University of Michigan to keep the Wildcats close. It was all made possible by his 35-save performance in the semi-finals, as Stewart’s key saves propelled Northern Michigan to a 5-4 overtime win over Ferris State. Offensively, former Chilliwack Chiefs forward Matt Butcher could make his mark after 12 points in 26 games in his senior season. The Canucks’ fifth-round selection won the BCHL’s Coastal Conference MVP award in 2005/2006 and has been a key contributor in the Wildcats’ success during his collegiate career.

Matt Butcher, Senior (Chilliwack Chiefs)
T.J. Miller, Senior (Penticton Vees)
Brian Stewart, Senior (Alberni Valley Bulldogs)
Erik Spady, Junior (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Andrew Cherniwchan, Sophomore (Nanaimo Clippers)

Bonar Heroic As Vees Win OT Thriller:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Bonar heroic as Vees win ot thriller

by Don Klepp | Added 2010-03-27

Sean Bonar stopped 61 of 63 Viper shots Friday to give his Penticton Vees a chance to win 3-2 in overtime in Vernon.

Denver Manderson scored at 7:14 of that third overtime when all eyes, including Graeme Gordon’s, followed the play behind the net to Gordon’s left. Somehow, the puck squirted back to the other side where Manderson had a half open net.

The goal capped a gutsy comeback by the Vees, who trailed 2-0 going into the third period. In the first two periods, they were stymied by a smothering Viper defence and sharp goaltending by Graeme Gordon. Indeed, the Vipers had plenty of opportunities to bury the Vees, with 16 scoring chances compared to just 6 by the Vees in the first two periods. One of those chances, a slider by Connor Jones, beat Bonar, but went off the post.

However, at 2:03 of the third, Beau Bennett got his first point of the series when his wrist shot found its way through a maze of bodies and past Gordon, who was screened. The Vees tied the game on a fortunate bounce. At 15:26, Joey Holka threw the puck toward the net from the back boards. It hit Gordon on his left side and found its way into the net.

Bonar led a charmed life in the first two overtime periods and in the beginning of the third extra frame, as several pucks rolled just wide of his net. He also made sensational game-saving stops on David Robinson and Sahir Gill. Also, Adam Thompson fired a power play rocket that Bonar probably didn’t even see, but the puck hit the post and stayed out.

The Vees’ game winner came against the run of play as the Vipers came out with guns blazing in the third extra period. Again, Bonar was good and he was fortunate because the Vipers stormed his net and had pucks narrowly miss. When the dust cleared, the Vipers had 40 scoring chances in the six periods, compared to 22 by the Vees.

The Vipers will no doubt feel that this was a game they should have won. They opened with a fine goal by Dylan Walchuk at 5:33 of the first period, when he ripped a Jonathan Milhouse rebound over Bonar. They added to their lead with a Cole Ikkala goal at 18:25 of the second.

That goal developed when Luke Curadi flubbed an attempt at the Viper blue line. Rob Short raced away and drove hard to the net. Bonar made the initial save, but a hustling Ikkala used a backhand to bury the rebound.

The two teams resume the series in Penticton on Saturday.

Interior Conference Finals: Game 5: Penticton 3 Vernon 2 (Triple Overtime)

I was at tonights Game 5 of the Interior Conference Finals as Penticton defeated Vernon 3-2 in triple overtime in front of 2,815 fans at the Wesbild Centre.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Graeme Gordon
Penticton: Sean Bonar

1st Period: Vernon would get the games first good scoring chance after Connor & Kellen Jones setup Sahir Gill in front who was stopped by Sean Bonar. Back come the Vees as Andrew Pickering with a shot from in close was stopped by Graeme Gordon. Gordon couldnt handle the puck as it went through the crease before the Vipers cleared the zone. Vernon would come back with some pressure and get the all important first goal of the game. Jonathan Milhouse setup Dylan Walchuk who beat Bonar at 5:33 giving the Vipers the 1-0 lead. Milhouse & Bryce Kakoske with the assists. Isaac Macleod with a shot from the slot handcuffed Gordon as the Vees come close to tying the game. Penticton couldnt generate much offence as Vernon carried the better of the play in the opening period. Kevin Kraus's point shot was tipped in front just missing the net. Cole Ikkala with some hard work down low couldnt get one past Bonar. Penticton would get the games first powerplay but it was Jonathan Milhouse who had the best chance, Milhouse one on one was stopped by Bonar. The Vees were unable to register a single shot on the man advantage as Vernon killed off the minor. Braden Pimm, Mike Collins and David Robinson on a three on two, Pimm setup Robinson who was robbed by Bonar who made a huge toe save to keep the Vipers off the board. The Vees with just two quality chances in the 1st. The Vipers would get a late powerplay but come up with no real good chances as the Vees killed off the penalty. The Vipers were the better of the two teams up 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Penticton 12-7.

2nd Period: Joey Holka would get a great chance early trying to split the Viper defence before Steve Weinstein showed good hustle coming back to break up the play to stop Holka from going in for the breakaway. The Vipers would get an early powerplay but unable to find the back of the net. The Jones-Gill line was buzzing in the first half of the 2nd as all three with some chances but couldnt beat Bonar. Cole Ikkala was then stopped by Bonar. Vernon carried the better of the play in the first half before Penticton seemed to turn the game around with some pressure at times of their own. The Vees only problem was they couldnt generate any offence, with just three shots on goal all 2nd period. Eric Filiou with a good chance in front was stopped Gordon. Penticton with several odd man rushes couldnt seem to get the play in deep or get traffic towards the net as the Vipers defence was forcing the Vees to the outside. In the second half the play opened up at times with some good back and forth action at either ends of the rink. Late in the 2nd Rob Short setup Cole Ikkala at 18:21 giving Vernon a 2-0 lead heading into the 3rd. The Vipers outshot the Vees 13-3.

3rd Period: With the Vees season on the line Penticton come out strong really taking it to the Vipers. The Vees would get the play in deep, move the puck down low in behind the Vipers goal, where Denver Manderson setup Beau Bennett at 2:03 as Penticton cut the lead to 2-1. Manderson & Derik Johnson with the assists. Just a few minutes later the Gill-Jones line thought they had tied the game after goal light come on but no signal from referee Grant Tyson. The play kept going as the goal light was still on. The play continued before finally the Vipers went to talk to Grant Tyson, Tyson and the linesmen talked things over before going to the Vipers bench and talking with Mark Ferner. Tyson didnt talk to the goal judge and the game continued with Vernon still ahead 2-1. Penticton with all kinds of pressure really took it too Vernon for most of the 3rd. Connor Jones in front couldnt beat Bonar on a nice scoring chance. Sahir Gill was stopped again in front by Bonar. Bo Dolan's point shot was tipped in front but somehow Graeme Gordon made the big save. Ryan Viselli was stopped in close. The Vees were by far the better of the two teams in the 3rd getting some good chances. Vernon was back on their heels a little trying to adjust to the Vees pressure. With five minutes remaining Garrett Milan setup Joey Holka who's shot from the end boards banked in off Gordons pads and in tying the game 2-2 at 15:26 Milan with the lone assist. In the final minute Ryan Visellis long shot was stopped by Gordon's leg save as the puck went into the corner. It was tied 2-2 after 60 minutes of play. Penticton was the better team in the final period. The Vipers outshot the Vees 11-10.

Overtime: Steve Weinstein's early dump in fooled Sean Bonar as Bonar went behind the net to try and stop the puck, but the puck took a funny bounce off the end boards and bounced right back out front in the crease area. Luckily no Vipers were around as the Vees cleared the zone. Penticton with a great chance as Curtis Gedig blew a tire giving Garrett Milan and Joey Laleggia a two on one, Milan was forced to shoot as Gordon made an awkward save as the puck bounced high and over the net. Some good chances at both ends. Connor Jones in close was stopped. Eric Filiou was stopped at the other end. For the second straight period I thought the Vees were the better of the two teams, Penticton looked to be a little quicker and had a little more jump at times. Some good action made for a very exciting overtime. Both benches went down to three lines in overtime. It was tied 2-2 after 80 minutes of play. Penticton outshot Vernon 18-12.

Double Overtime: Bo Dolan's point shot somehow took a funny bounce just about beating Gordon. Sahir Gill then with a great chance in front was left all alone but couldnt get the puck high and over Bonar after making an unreal glove save. The Vipers would get a great chance to end the game with a powerplay. Vernon come oh so close to ending the Vees season after Adam Thompson's point shot hit the crossbar as Penticton would do a great job on the penalty kill, killing off the minor. The Vipers looked a little better in the extra period getting a few good chances. Sahir Gill was stopped in close again as Bonar had Gills number all game. It was tied 2-2 after 100 minutes of play. The Vipers outshot the Vees 9-6.

Triple Overtime: Connor Jones & Sahir Gill with two early chances come very close to ending the game. Derik Johnson with two big blocked shots early played well in front of the net. Penticton would get a great chance with their first powerplay in overtime. Moving the puck well the Vees were being forced to the outside. Kevin Kraus come up with a big shot block but the Vipers couldnt clear the zone, as the penalty expired the Vees still with control of the puck and still in the Vipers zone managed to score the game winner. Garrett Milan tried going one way behind the Viper goal, this fooling Graeme Gordon, Milan then fed his pass back out front to a wide open Denver Manderson who had a wide open goal, as Gordon tried to make a diving save Manderson found the back of the net at 7:14 giving the Vees a huge 3-2 triple overtime victory forcing a Game 6 back in the Peach City tomorrow night. The Vipers outshot the Vees 6-3.

Top Players: (Vernon)

The line of Jonathan Milhouse (1 assist), Dylan Walchuk (1 goal) & Bryce Kakoske (1 assist) played very well before being split up as the game went on. I thought this line was one of the Vipers top lines. Kakoske & Walchuk didnt see a shift in any of the overtime periods as Mark Ferner went down to three lines.

Cole Ikkala (1 goal) Played a real strong game up front. Atleast for the first two and a half periods. Ikkala played with lots of jump, worked hard, battled hard in along the boards.

Rob Short (1 assist) Played another good game vs Penticton. Short wasnt all that physical tonight but played well for most of the game. Created some good chances as the game went on.

Graeme Gordon (44 saves) Gordon played very well and made some big saves through out tonights game, especially in the three overtime periods. Gordon may have been cheating a little on the Joey Holka game tying goal, but I wasnt really looking at him until they scored.

The line of Connor Jones, Kellen Jones & Sahir Gill had several good chances but couldnt find the back of the net. Connor with some good chances through out tonights game couldnt beat Sean Bonar. Sahir Gill had some real nice chances in almost every period but was stoned at times by Bonar.

Steve Weinstein played a solid game on the Vipers blueline. Weinstein looked very good and comfortable all night, made some nice heads up plays breaking out of his own zone as well as rushing the puck up ice.

Garrett Noonan played very well on the Vipers backend.

Top Players: (Penticton)

Sean Bonar (61 saves) Bonar made some huge saves in all three overtimes but I didnt think he played all that great. Sure he made 61 saves but this wasnt the same Sean Bonar Viper fans were use to seeing during the regular season. Give credit to Bonar for making 61 saves and giving his team a chance to win, but I thought he looked average on most of his saves tonight, other then the huge saves he was forced to make in the extra overtimes. Bonar was having troubles with his rebounds all night, letting out some pretty big rebounds. Due to making 61 saves the kid deserves a pat on the back.

Derik Johnson (1 assist) Johnson has played very well on the blueline for the Vees all series. Played a heck of a defensive game again tonight, come up with some big blocked shots through out the game.

Bo Dolan another D-man who I thought played very well tonight and all series. I thought Dolan was the Vees best d-man tonight. Had several shots from the point, wich ended up being a shot on goal or a scoring chance. This kid can move the puck, skate and really knows when to make the right play at getting the puck in. A very smart d-man.

Ryan Viselli played very well up front for Penticton. As the game went on Viselli looked stronger, and come up with his scoring chances.

Eric Filiou played well up front for the Vees. Another player who I thought played better as the game went along. Had some good chances in the overtime periods.

Joey Holka (1 goal) Was very impressive tonight, was all over the ice, carried the puck lots, was dangerous with the puck. Made some smart plays through out tonights game.

Garrett Milan (2 assists) Played another strong game for the Vees. This kid is so quick, very shifty in and around the net. One of the hardest working players on the Vees roster. Had some good chances in the extra overtime periods.

Beau Bennett (1 goal) This is the first game of this series that I have really noticed Bennett. Stood out tonight, had a few good chances, seemed to be in and around the play. Another player who had some chances in the overtimes.

Game Thoughts: (Vernon)

The Vipers with a 2-0 lead heading into the 3rd had this game in the bag before giving the Vees a chance to come back and tie the game to send it to overtime. Vernon was the better of the two teams in the first two periods but sat back in the 3rd giving the Vees a chance to tie the game. You have to wonder about the 3rd Vernon goal that wasnt called just a few minutes after the Vees first goal of the night. If this goal stands its 3-1 Vipers and maybe does it in for Penticton? Why didnt Grant Tyson go over and talk to the goal judge? This is what I want to know. I talked to several people who were sitting along the goal line or standing behind and above the Vees net, and everyone said the puck was in. The Vipers with several great chances in the three overtimes couldnt score on their chances. Both teams looked very tired as the game went on, you have to wonder why Bryce Kakoske and Dylan Walchuk didnt see any ice for some fresh legs? Cory Kane who didnt see any action in the first overtime started seeing some shifts in the 2nd and 3rd overtimes. Here's a game where Vernon should have won, lets hope this dosnt come back to haunt the Vipers. Will see tomorrow night how much energy and gas these kids have left.

Game Thoughts: (Penticton)

The Vees with a few good quality chances in the first two periods couldnt seem to create and generate much offence. Penticton seemed to get things going in the second half of the 2nd period but were unable to get many real good chances. Give the Vees full credit for battling hard in the 3rd to score two goals and send this game to overtime. Penticton played a heck of a game in the 3rd and was by far the better of the two teams in the 3rd and even in the first overtime. The Vees playing with some injuries were short shifting players as Matt Paltridge saw very limited icetime in the 3rd and the first overtime. Denver Manderson couldnt even finish a full shift in tonights game. Manderson & Bennett got the job done when it counted. Both players have been very quiet all series. Will the Vees have enough energy and gas left for tomorrows game? Fred Harbinson said the Vees do have some injuries, how much longer can the Vees hang on in this series? Game 6 will be a huge game as the Vees will be looking to try and forcing a Game 7 back here Sunday. Penticton now with the momentum will have to once again try and stave off emlinination.



Darrin Robak
Patrick McGillis
Trevor Fitzgerald (AP)


Ben Sexton
Jake Johnson

3 Stars:

1st Star: Denver Manderson (Scored the OT winner-1 assist)
2nd Star: Sean Bonar (61 saves)
3rd Star: Graeme Gordon (44 saves)