Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fred Page Cup Series Preview: Vernon @ Powell River:

Regular Season Final Records: Vernon (36-11-4-9) @ Powell River (46-9-3-2)

The Coastal Conference Champion Powell River Kings and Interior Conference Champion Vernon Vipers meet in the BCHL Finals (Fred Page Cup) for the fourth time in team history. The Kings who also got the opening round bye, are coming off a seven game series win over the Victoria Grizzlies in the second round after coming back down three games to one to win the series, before knocking off the Surrey Eagles in six games to advance to the league final. After winning their 15th Interior Conference Pennent the Vipers finished with a bye in the first round of the playoffs before taking out the 4th place Westside Warriors in six games and the 3rd place Salmon Arm Silverbacks in six games after dropping the first two games on home ice.

Let's take a look at the Vernon Vipers: (Regular Season)

Games Played: 60
Wins: 36
Losses: 11
Ties: 4
Overtime Losses: 9
Home Record: 18-5-2-5
Road Record: 18-6-2-4
Streak: Three game regular season winning streak
Last Ten Games: 8-1-0-1
Goals For: 197
Goals Against:141
Standings: 1st Place

-The Vipers powerplay was ranked 12th during the regular season

-Vernon’s penalty kill was ranked 5th during the regular season

-Blake Voth was the leagues 2nd best goaltender during the regular season posting a 25-11-3 record, with 4 shutouts and a 2.12 GAA

-Vernon had the leagues second best home record behind Powell River going 18-5-2-5 at the Wesbild Centre

-The Vipers were the BCHL’s second best road team behind the Powell River Kings, going 18-6-2-4 away from home

-The Vipers only gave up 141 goals against during the regular season, wich was also second best behind Powell River who only gave up 115 goals

-Vernon is 22-3-3-8 when scoring the games first goal

-The Vipers are 14-8-1-1 when giving up the first goal of the game

Let's take a look at the Vernon Vipers: (Playoffs)

Games Played: 12
Wins: 8
Losses: 4
Home Record: 3-3
Road Record: 5-1
Streak: Four game winning streak
Last Ten Games: 7-3
Goals For: 40
Goals Against: 35

-Vernon has the 12th best powerplay in the playoffs

-The Vipers have the 8th best penalty kill during the post season

-Dylan Walchuk (8-5-13) & Patrick McGillis (5-8-13) are both in the playoffs top twenty scoring leaders

-Kirby Halcrow (7-3 Record, 2.51 GAA) is ranked 4th amongst playoff goaltenders

-Vernon is 0-4 in these playoffs when giving up the games first goal

-The Vipers are 8-0 in these playoffs when scoring first

Since the 2003-04 regular season Vernon is 9-4-0-1 vs. Powell River

Since the 2003-04 regular season Vernon has outscored Powell River 49-38

Since the 2003-04 regular season Vernon is 7-0-0-0 at home vs. Powell River

Since the 2003-04 regular season Vernon is 2-5-0-0 in Powell River

Here’s a look at the previous Playoff meetings between these two teams:

1990-91 Vernon defeated Powell River 4-0
2008-09 Vernon defeated Powell River 4-2
2009-2010 Vernon defeated Powell River 4-3

The Vernon Lakers changed their name to the Vernon Vipers to start the 1995-96 season. Here’s a look at the Vipers all-time regular season record

Games Played: 960
Wins: 619
Losses: 245
Ties: 15
Overtime Losses: 84

For more stats & former Vernon Junior Hockey Team rosters & lineups please visit Paul’s Vernon Junior Hockey History website,

Returning Players:

Bryce Kakoske (90)
David Robinson (90)
Blake Voth (91)
Steve Weinstein (90)
Adam Thompson (90)
Dylan Walchuk (92)
Patrick McGillis (91)

Departing & traded players from last years team:

Connor Jones (90)
Mike Collins (90)
Braden Pimm (89)
Cory Kane (90)
Jonathan Milhouse (89)
Kellen Jones (90)
Rob Short (89)
Cole Ikkala (90)
Dan Nycholat (89)
Kevin Kraus (89)
Curtis Gedig (91)
Garrett Noonan (91)
Sahir Gill (92)
Darrin Robak (91)
Graeme Gordon (89)

Vernon’s Home record vs. Powell River this season:


Vernon’s Road record vs. Powell River this season:


Vernon’s Powerplay vs. Powell River this season:


Vernon’s scoring leaders vs. Powell River this season:

Dylan Walchuk (1-1-2)
David Robinson (1-1-2)
Bryce Kakoske (1-1-2)
Aaron Hadley (0-1-1)
Michael Zalewski (1-0-1)
Adam Thompson (1-0-1)
Darren Nowick (0-1-1)
Kyle Murphy (0-1-1)
Steven Weinstein (0-1-1)

Kirby Halcrow (1-0 Record)
Blake Voth (0-1 Record)

1st Round: Bye
Interior Conference Semi-Finals: Defeated Westside in six games
Interior Conference Finals: Defeated Salmon Arm in six games

The Vipers have three players who will be facing the Kings for the third straight Fred Page Cup. Steve Weinstein, Adam Thompson and Bryce Kakoske.

This will be the Vernon franchise’s second chance at doing something no other junior hockey team has done, and that’s win three straight National Titles. The Vernon Lakers won back to back Centennial Cups in 1990 & 1991 before falling in the Semi-Finals at the 1992 Centennial Cup. The Vernon Vipers have won back to back Royal Bank Cups and now have a chance to win three straight but with just seven returning players back from last years National Championship team (Dylan Walchuk, David Robinson, Bryce Kakoske, Steve Weinstein, Adam Thompson, Blake Voth and Patrick McGillis), Vernon will be in tough.

The Vipers who I think surprised a lot if not most fans around the league winning their 15th Interior Conference Pennent with a record of 36-11-4-9 will have their work cut out for them in this years BCHL playoffs. With just seven returning players back from last year, the Vipers don’t have that veteran experience they carried through last years playoff run.

The Vipers have had troubles putting pucks in the net all season, ranked 11th in the league, scoring just 197 goals, Vernon will have to try and win a lot of one goal games in these playoffs, relying on team defence and strong goaltending. The 2008-09 Royal Bank Champion Vipers also didn’t have a lot of fire power up front, and also relied on team defence and strong goaltending, winning a lot of 2-1 games through out their playoff run.

Experience and leadership is key for any team come playoff time, the Vipers seven returning players from last years RBC Cup team will have to lead the way and use their experience and leadership through these playoffs.

Goaltending is huge come this time of year, and the Vipers who have one of the BCHL’s top two goaltenders (Blake Voth & Kirby Halcrow) will have to depend on both goaltenders to have their best saved for the playoffs.

Let's take a look at the Powell River Kings: (Regular Season)

Games Played: 60
Wins: 46
Losses: 9
Ties: 3
Overtime Losses: 2
Home Record: 25-4-0-1
Road Record: 21-5-3-1
Streak: Five game regular season winning streak
Last Ten Games: 9-1-0-0
Goals For: 224
Goals Against: 115
Standings: 1st Place (Regular Season BCHL Champions)

For more on the Powell River Kings, please visit Fraser Rodgers Powell River Kings Blog,

-Powell River was ranked 8th during the regular season with the man advantage

-The Kings had the leagues best penalty kill during the regular season

-Powell River had two players in the leagues top twenty in regular season scoring Chad Niddery (28-58-86) & Matt Garbowsky (44-36-80)

-Michael Garteig (36-8-3 Record, 7 Shutouts, 1.69 GAA) was the BCHL's leading goaltender during the regular season, while Sean Maguire (10-3 Record, 2 Shutouts, 2.50 GAA) was ranked 3rd

-The Kings gave up a league best 115 goals through out the regular season, breaking the Vernon Vipers previous record 0f 119

-Powell River is 40-2-3-1 when scoring the games first goal

-The Kings are 8-7-0-1 when giving up the first goal of the game

Powell River was 12-4-0-0 vs the Interior Division during the regular season

Let's take a look at the Powell River Kings: (Playoffs)

Games Played: 13
Wins: 8
Losses: 5
Home Record: 4-3
Road Record: 4-2
Streak: One game winning streak
Last Ten Games: 7-3
Goals For: 38
Goals Against: 28

-Powell River has the 8th best powerplay in the playoffs

-The Kings have the 2nd best penalty kill during the post season

-Chad Niddery (9-6-15) is the lone Kings player in the playoffs top twenty scoring leaders

-Michael Garteig (8-5 Record, 1.97 GAA) is ranked 1st amongst playoff goaltenders

-Powell River is 1-2 in these playoffs when giving up the games first goal

-The Kings are 7-3 in these playoffs when scoring first

Returning Players:

Chad Niddery (90)
Matt Garbowsky (90)
Justin Dasilva (90)
Andrew Pettitt (90)
Brenden Forbes (92)
Carter Shinkaruk (91)
Teagan Waugh (92)
Klay Kachur (91)
Braden Pears (93)
Jason Yee (90)
Michael Garteig (91)

Departing & traded players from last years team:

Jordan Grant (90)
Mat Bodie (90)
Darcy Huisman (89)
Mitch Labreche (90)
Ben Schmidt (89)
Reid Campbell (89)
Daniel Carr (91)
Cody Rainaldi (89)
Robbie Bailey (89)
Alex McDougall (90)
Josh Watson (90)

Powell River at Home vs. Vernon:


Powell River on The Road vs. Vernon:


Powell River's Powerplay vs. Vernon this season:


Powell River's scoring leaders vs. Vernon this season:

Justin Dasilva (1-2-3)
Daniel Schuler (1-1-2)
Matt Garbowsky (1-1-2)
Andrew Pettitt (0-2-2)
Cohen Adair (1-1-2)
Brendan Hawryluk (0-1-1)
Carter Shinkaruk (1-0-0)
Mike Sones (1-0-1)
Teagan Waugh (0-1-1)
Steven Schmidt (1-0-1)
Jon Jutzi (0-1-1)
Craig Dalrymple (0-1-1)

Michael Garteig (1-1 Record)

1st Round: Bye
Coastal Conference Semi-Finals: Defeated Victoria in seven games
Coastal Conference Finals: Defeated Surrey in six games

The Kings have just two players who played in both previous BCHL league finals vs Vernon. Andrew Pettitt and Chad Niddery will be making their third straight Fred Page Cup.

Powell River was the BCHL's top team after recording a new franchise record with 45 regular season victories. The Kings also set a team record with 21 road wins during the regular season. Powell River broke the Vernon Vipers BCHL record of 119 goals against giving up 115 this season.

Surprising after bosting the leagues best regular season record, the Kings have just two players (Chad Niddery & Matt Garbowsky) in the leagues top twenty in scoring. Powell River has just three players with twenty or more regular season goals. (Chad Niddery , Matt Garbowsky & Cohen Adair) The Kings were the fourth highest scoring team during the regular season with 224 goals.

On the blueline the Kings have gone with veteran experience going with five nineteen year olds and one twenty year old d-man. (Craig Dalrymple, Jon Jutzi, Justin Dasilva, Chris Williams, Klay Kachur & Jason Yee) Veteran goaltender, Michael Garteig is the leagues #1 goaltender tying a BCHL record with seven shutouts during the regular season. Vernon will have their hands full with trying to get pucks past or through the Powell River defence and goaltending.

Behind the bench one of the longest coaches in the league, Kent Lewis picked up his 500th regular season win as the Kings bench boss. Lewis who has done a great job over the years with the small market Kings is looking for his first BCHL Championship.

In their second meeting of the regular season the Vipers knocked off the Kings in arguably the best game of the season in a playoff like matchup as Vernon defeated Powell River 3-2. A hard hitting, physical game that went down to the buzzer is still talked about in Vernon as the game of the year.

After a 5-2 victory over the Vernon Vipers back on November, 17th the Vipers who at this point were having troubles putting together some consistancy really turned their season around after this loss only losing once in their next thirteen games.

Here’s a look at the regular season series between these two teams:

Wednesday, November 17th @ Powell River: Powell River wins 5-2



Powell River Kings at 17:05 - Carter Shinkaruk from Cohen Adair and Andrew Pettitt
Powell River Kings at 19:50 (PP) - Daniel Schuler from Matt Garbowsky and Justin Dasilva


Vernon Vipers at 15:56 (PP) - Adam Thompson from Dylan Walchuk and Bryce Kakoske


Vernon Vipers at 1:13 - Michael Zalewski from Aaron Hadley
Powell River Kings at 9:51 - Justin Dasilva from Brendan Hawryluk
Powell River Kings at 10:35 - Matt Garbowsky from Justin Dasilva and Daniel Schuler
Powell River Kings at 19:18 (EN) - Mike Sones (unassisted)

Powell River outshot Vernon 32-27. Michael Garteig made 26 saves for the win, while Blake Voth made 27 saves in the loss.

Friday, January 21st @ Vernon: Vernon wins 3-2



No Scoring


Vernon Vipers at 3:35 (PP) - David Robinson from Kirby Halcrow


Vernon Vipers at 4:19 - Bryce Kakoske from David Robinson and Kyle Murphy
Powell River Kings at 4:38 - Steven Schmidt from Andrew Pettitt and Teagan Waugh
Powell River Kings at 14:49 (PP) - Cohen Adair from Jon Jutzi and Craig Dalrymple
Vernon Vipers at 15:49 (PP) - Dylan Walchuk from Darren Nowick and Steven Weinstein

Powell River outshot Vernon 26-22. Kirby Halcrow made 24 saves in the win, while Michael Garteig made 19 saves in the loss.

Here's a look at both teams regular season rosters:


Dylan Walchuk (24-32-56)
David Robinson (32-18-50)
Bryce Kakoske (17-33-50)
Kyle Murphy (18-25-43)
John Knisley (10-25-35)
Malcolm Lyles (8-22-30)
Michael Zalewski (12-17-29)
Adam Thompson (7-22-29)
Marcus Basara (12-16-28)
Darren Nowick (9-18-27)
Patrick McGillis (13-12-25)
Aaron Hadley (9-15-24)
Steven Weinstein (5-19-24)
Brett Corkey (1-23-24)
Trevor Fitzgerald (7-11-18)
Max Mowat (2-13-15)
Ryan Renz (4-10-14)
Colton Sparrow (1-6-7)
Dane Muench (1-5-6)
Zach McPhee (3-1-4)
Philip Patenaude (0-1-1)

Kirby Halcrow With Quesnel (5-18-1 Record, 3.56 GAA)
With Vernon (10-4-1 Record, 1 Shutout, 2.19 GAA)
Blake Voth (25-11-3 Record, 4 Shutouts, 2.12 GAA)

Powell River:

Chad Niddery (28-58-86)
Matt Garbowsky (44-26-80)
Cohen Adair (24-20-44)
Justin Dasilva (11-32-43)
Andrew Pettitt (17-23-40)
Daniel Schuler (11-24-35)
Craig Dalrymple (9-26-35)
Brenden Forbes (10-21-31)
Carter Shinkaruk (8-18-26)
Jon Jutzi (6-18-24)
Teagan Waugh (10-13-23)
Chris Williams (5-15-20)
Mike Sones (8-11-19)
Steven Schmidt (10-7-17)
Jason Yee (1-12-13)
Klay Kachur (2-10-12)
Bond Hawryluk (3-8-11)
Brendan Hawryluk (6-4-10)
Braden Pears (2-8-10)
Scott Renner (6-3-9)
Justin Bardarson (1-3-4)

Michael Garteig (36-8-3 Record, 7 Shutouts, 1.69 GAA)
Sean Maguire (10-3 Record, 2 Shutouts, 2.50 GAA)

Here's a look at both teams playoff rosters:


Patrick McGillis (5-8-13)
Dylan Walchuk (8-5-13)
David Robinson (2-6-8)
Marcus Basara (3-5-8)
Trevor Fitzgerald (3-4-7)
Bryce Kakoske (3-4-7)
Malcolm Lyles (3-3-6)
Darren Nowick (2-4-6)
Michael Zalewski (2-3-5)
Colton Sparrow (2-3-5)
Aaron Hadley (2-3-5)
John Knisley (2-2-4)
Adam Thompson (1-3-4)
Ryan Renz (0-3-3)
Brett Corkey (0-2-2)
Kyle Murphy (1-1-2)
Steven Weinstein (0-2-2)
Dane Muench (1-0-1)
Max Mowat (0-1-1)
Zach McPhee (0-0-0)
Philip Patenaude (0-0-0)

Kirby Halcrow (7-3 Record, 2.51 GAA)
Blake Voth (1-1, 3.74 GAA Record)

Powell River:

Chad Niddery (9-6-15)
Matt Garbowsky (2-8-10)
Andrew Pettitt (3-7-10)
Cohen Adair (3-5-8)
Daniel Schuler (7-1-8)
Craig Dalrymple (2-6-8)
Jon Jutzi (5-2-7)
Brenden Forbes (0-5-5)
Steven Schmidt (1-4-5)
Carter Shinkaruk (3-0-3)
Bond Hawryluk (1-2-3)
Justin Dasilva (0-2-2)
Chris Williams (0-2-2)
Brendan Hawryluk (1-1-2)
Mike Sones (0-1-1)
Jason Yee (0-1-1)
Klay Kachur (0-1-1)
Justin Bardarson (1-0-1)
Braden Pears (0-0-0)
Teagan Waugh (0-0-0)
Scott Renner (0-0-0)

Michael Garteig (8-5 Record, 1.97 GAA)
Sean Maguire (0-0 Record)

Fred Page Cup Final: Preview:

Fred Page Cup Final: Preview

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - Submitted by BCHL MEDIA

Sahir Gill’s late-third-period, series-clinching goal in Game 7 of last year’s Fred Page Cup final has been something that the Powell River Kings have been thinking about all season long, replaying it in their minds. With just five minutes to go in the game, Gill received a pass from Connor Jones that deflected off his skate and into the net to put the Vipers up 2-1. Vernon would add an empty netter and skate to a second straight Fred Page Cup title, but as these teams meet for a third consecutive year, Powell River and its 11 returning players are poised to stop the three-peat.

“Experience does count for a lot and this is exactly what our guys wanted,” said Kings coach Kent Lewis. “We worked hard last year, didn’t get the bounces; next thing you know, they got the shin pad then the skate and it’s in the net. It’s something that’s been in our guys’ heads all summer.”

Although the Kings have 11 coming back, the Vipers have plenty of experience as well with seven veteran players back from last year’s RBC Cup run.

“Certainly we feel like it’s going to help, having guys that have been in this situation before,” says Vernon Vipers head coach Mark Ferner. “We knew right from day one we would need everyone on our team to come together to make it here again and both our veterans and young guys have been great down the stretch.”

Powell River and Vernon only met twice during the regular season with both teams coming away with victories on home ice. For two teams that seem so evenly matched heading into the final, could home-ice advantage be the deal breaker?

“It’s always important but it’s not as crucial as many might think,” says Lewis. “We’ve been good on the road this year and both teams are seasoned enough that wherever they play, anyone can get a win.”

It’s something that Ferner agrees with.

“We played them early in the season in their building and they beat us 5-2. I don’t think that we played our best, but in Powell River, it’s never an easy building to play in,” conceded the Vipers bench boss. “We came back and edged them out at home 3-2 and it was good to get that win; it gave us a lot of confidence. This is a great team we’re playing; they have a tremendous amount of talent in their organization.”

The main question heading into the finals is what will be the difference this year? These teams know each other well and sometimes it might come down to a lucky bounce.

“The last two seasons, both finals could have gone either way, there’s not a lot of difference in these teams to be quite honest,” says Ferner. “We don’t know what the difference will be; we just have to play our best and try not to give up a lot of chances.”

As for Lewis, he knows his guys will be determined to erase the memories of last year’s heart breaking loss.

“We just have to play our game. We have a really relaxed and mature group and we haven’t played our best hockey yet and there’s no time but now to start.”

Will third time be the charm for Powell River? Or will Vernon win a third consecutive Fred Page Cup? One thing for certain is that this installment of the Fred Page Cup Finals will be yet another great display of top class junior “A” hockey.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crisfield Comiits To Vipers:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Crisfield comiits to Vipers!

by viper staff | Added 2011-03-30

The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club is pleased to announce that Geoff Crisfield of the Calgary Royals Midget AAA hockey club has committed to play for the team in 2011-2012.

Crisfield, a 93 born defenseman, captained last years Calgary Midget AAA Royals and compiled 5 goals, 20 assists and 138 PIM in 31 games played. Geoff also captained the AMHL’s Chrysler Division All-Star team.

Geoff is a defenseman who can do a little bit of everything. He has an offensive upside and is a very physical defenseman. His former coaches speak very highly of him and feel he will be an impact player as soon as he gets in the Viper line-up.

The Vipers are very excited to be able to add a player of Geoff’s calibre for next season. He was heavily recruited throughout the BCHL, AJHL and WHL. For further information please contact the Vipers office at 250-542-6022

Former Viper Sibbald Named Goaltender Of The Year:

Former Vernon Vipers goaltender, Mark Sibbald has been named goaltender of the year, while former Vernon Vipers goaltender, Jon Olthuis finished second in voting.  Olthuis played two seasons in Vernon (2004-2006) while Sibbald played two seasons in Vernon as well (2003-05) before playing four years at Brown University.

This is posted on the Havoc website:

Sibbald Named SPHL SBK Goaltender of the Year

Mar 29, 2011

Charlotte, NC - The Southern Professional Hockey League on Tuesday announced that Mark Sibbald of the Huntsville Havoc has been selected as the SBK Goaltender of the Year in a vote of league coaches and media representatives.

Augusta's Jon Olthuis was second in the voting while Fayetteville's Mike Spillane finished third.

Sibbald finished the regular season second among goaltenders with a 2.51 goals against average and fourth in save percentage (.915). Sibbald's two shutouts were also tied for third-best among SPHL netminders, while his 14 wins ranked fifth in the league.

SPHL Goaltender of the Year Award Winners

2010-11 - Mark Sibbald, Huntsville Havoc
2009-10 - Bill Zaniboni, Mississippi Surge
2008-09 - Andrew Gallant, Knoxville Ice Bears
2007-08 - Tim Haun, Jacksonville Barracudas
2006-07 - Chad Rycroft, Columbus Cottonmouths
2005-06 - Terry Denike, Florida Seals
2004-05 - Chad Collins, Fayetteville FireAntz

Old Foes Reacquainted In Final:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Old foes reacquainted in final

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star

Published: March 30, 2011

They face each other just twice in a regular season, yet the Vernon Vipers and Powell River Kings probably know one another better than most siblings.

Battling one another in the Fred Page Cup finals for the last two years tends to have that effect.

It will happen all over again as the two-time defending national champion Vipers and regular-season champion Kings tangle in the best-of-seven championship series, with Games 1 and 2 going Friday and Saturday night respectively at Hap Parker Arena on the Sunshine Coast.

Vernon, who won the last two Fred Page series 4-2 and 4-3 respectively, will host Games 3 and 4, Monday and Tuesday night at Wesbild Centre.

Having won the league with a shining 46-9-3-2 record, 12 points ahead of the second-place Vipers (36-11-4-9), the more experienced Kings could arguably be the favourites in this series. Head coach Kent Lewis has assembled a big, physical squad, backstopped by Michael Garteig, who led the league with seven shutouts and helped his team set a new BCHL record for fewest goals against (115).

The Prince George product leads the post-season with a 1.97 goals against average, and his .923 save percentage is second overall.

Powell River’s bruising blueline, led by 6-foot-5, 215-pound Justin Dasilva, is surprisingly mobile, while their forward corps, headlined by gritty captain Chad Niddery and play-making Matt Garbowsky, will be a handful for the Vernon defence.

“That’s a very good hockey team. They’ve been the cream of the crop in the league, ranked No. 2 in the country and for good reason,” Vernon head coach Mark Ferner.

“They’ve got big, strong defence and it’s hard to penetrate that. They got good goaltending...and they’ve got guys that can hurt you offensively.”

The Kings are also a much older team than the Vipers, with just one 1993-born player to Vernon’s six.

“I don’t think, before the season started, many people thought we would be in this situation. It’ll be an uphill battle, no question, but let’s just hope history repeats itself,” said Ferner.

Yet every year, Ferner and assistant coach Jason Williamson stir the Kool-Aid, and every year his players drink it, then ask for a second helping. While they don’t possess the offensive punch they exhibited last season, the Snakes do have depth in scoring, with eight players firing 10 or more goals in the regular season. Captain David Robinson topped the list with 32 strikes.

In the playoffs, second-year forward Pat McGillis leads the Snakes with 5-8-13 in 12 games, and Dylan Walchuk, who led the Vipers with 56 regular-season points, has 8-4-12.

Walchuk’s sensational four-goal performance Friday night helped Vernon eliminate the Salmon Arm SilverBacks in Game 6 of the Interior finals and earned him BCHL Player of the Week honours.

The Vipers are also getting some timely secondary scoring from rookies Marcus Basara (3-6-9) and Trevor Fitzgerald (3-4-7).

Walchuk has been around for Vernon’s last two championship drives and says the culture set by the coaching staff, combined with veteran leadership, is what gives them success.

“Everyone’s a family in there. We work together and get through adversity. We’re not negative, we’re positive in the room and that’s what gets us through,” said Walchuk.

Added Ferner: “The credit has to be given to the players, in particular the veteran players and older players. They’ve been here, they understand what the expectations are and they’ve made the young players right off the hop.

“We’ve got two 20-year-olds in Malcolm Lyles and Kyle Murphy and they came in and just accepted how we were going to play.”

With Max Mowat and Philip Patenaude both on the injured reserve, the Vipers have rolled with just five d-men since Game 2 of the Interior finals.

Netminder Kirby Halcrow has been Vernon’s starter since taking over from Blake Voth in Game 2 of the first round, posting a 2.51 goals against and .890 save percentage.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vernon Vipers 2011 Playoff Schedule:

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

Here is a look at the Vipers-Kings playoff schedule for the Fred Page Cup (BCHL League Finals). The winner of this series will play the winner of the AJHL series for the Doyle Cup.

Vernon went 1-1 vs Powell River during the regular season

(Fred Page Cup)

#2 Vernon Vipers vs. #1Powell River Kings

Game 1: Friday, April 1st @ Powell River
Game 2: Saturday, April 2nd @ Powell River
Game 3: Monday, April 4th @ Vernon
Game 4: Tuesday, April 5th @ Vernon
Game 5: Thursday, April 7th @ Powell River
Game 6: Saturday, April 9th @ Vernon
Game 7: Monday, April 11th @ Powell River

Former Viper Defenceman Genoway Moving Onto The Frozen Four:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Chay Genoway and the North Dakota Fighting Sioux are moving onto the NCAA frozen four after a knocking off Denver Sunday night at the NCAA Midwest Region semifinal. Genoway played one year in Vernon (2005-06)

This is posted on the Fighting Sioux website:

UND beats Denver 6-1, advances to Frozen Four

Sunday 03/28/2011

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Fighting Sioux are leaving the frozen tundra and heading straight to the Frozen Four.
North Dakota, playing across the street from the ‘frozen tundra' of legendary Lambeau Field, defeated Denver 6-1 tonight in the NCAA Midwest Region semifinal to earn a berth in the 2011 NCAA Frozen four in St. Paul.

The top-ranked Fighting Sioux broke a 1-1 tie with five unanswered goals in the final 33 minutes to clinch their 20th Frozen Four appearance, and fifth in head coach Dave Hakstol's seven years behind the UND bench. In doing so, the Sioux also ran their unbeaten streak to 15 games (14-0-1) and their winning streak to 11.

UND showcased its superior depth, with six different scorers finding the net. Sophomore goalie Aaron Dell did the rest of the work at the other end, stopping 26 of 27 shots to earn tournament most valuable player honors.

"It (UND's depth) allows us to take short shifts," said Sioux captain Chay Genoway, "and be confident in all four lines going out and doing their jobs. We had injuries this year, but we've had guys step in and do the job."

The Sioux used their good luck charm - forward Mario Lamoureux - to open the scoring. With UND killing a penalty late in the period, the junior from Grand Forks led a 3-on-1 shorthanded rush up ice and ripped a snap shot from the right faceoff dot, picking the high corner on the short side-with 5:22 remaining. Lamoureux's goal was an omen that loomed large for the Sioux, who entered the night 11-0 all-time when he scored a goal.

It appeared that lead would hold heading into the first intermission, but DU freshman and WCHA Rookie of the Year Jason Zucker banked a puck off Dell's pad from behind the net with just two-tenths of second left in the frame.

"That was a tough one to give up," said Genoway. "We've got a lot of older guys in our locker room and a lot was said (during the intermission). But we just needed to get back to our gameplan."

UND regained the lead for good at 7:06 of the second period courtesy of the ‘Pony Express' line. After a Sioux power-play expired, center Brad Malone powered the puck into the Pioneers' zone, and a loose puck eventually squirted to Evan Trupp on the doorstep. DU goalie Sam Brittain robbed Trupp on his first whack at the puck, but Trupp banged home his own rebound for his 17th goal of the season.

With time winding down in the second period and the Sioux on the power-play, it was UND's turn to score a last-minute goal. Stationed at the middle of the blueline, Genoway spotted Brett Hextall at the bottom of the left faceoff circle, and Hextall stuffed the puck past Brittain with only 53 seconds left in the period.

"Very well executed," said Hakstol of the Hextall goal late in the period. "That gave us a two-goal lead and was a big goal for us. We scored goals in different ways, but the timeliness, no question, was important."

One night earlier, the Pioneers rallied with two goals late in the third period to send their semifinal against Western Michigan to overtime, before eventually pulling out the win in the second extra session. Unwilling to be on the wrong end of a similar comeback, the Sioux stayed on the attack in the final 20 minutes.

Just the way we play grinds teams down," said Hextall. "We tried not to focus on what they did last night. We tried to focus on ourselves."

Freshman Brock Nelson scored a highlight-reel goal with 5:17 left to make it a 4-1 lead and all but seal a Frozen Four berth. Nelson, who left Saturday's semifinal with an injury, took a pass in the circle from Danny Kristo and neatly tucked a backhander high over Brittain's glove.

Then, senior Brad Malone put the Pioneers away with an empty-netter, his third goal of the tournament, with 2:49 left in the game.

Senior defenseman Jake Marto added a power-play goal with 1:39 left to close the scoring.

Dell earned his 30th win of the season, eclipsing Ed Belfour's school-record 29 victories in 1986-87.

"We've worked hard all week on our d-zone coverage," said Genoway. "I think it all starts with Aaron Dell. He makes a lot of first saves for us."

Brittan finished with 26 saves.

UND went 2-for-7 on the power-play and killed all four DU chances with the man advantage. The Sioux penalty kill went a perfect 12-for-12 in the tournament.

"It starts with being prepared for whatever is to come," said Hextall. "There can be a lot of distractions if you let it (happen). For us, our goal is to just stay the course."

The Sioux, 32-8-3 on the season, will face Michigan in the Frozen Four semifinal on Thursday, April 7, at the Xcel Energy Center.

"We're prepared to go back home and go back to work," Hakstol said.

Notes: Dell, Trupp, Malone and Genoway were named to the all-tournament team, along with Denver's Jason Zucker and Matt Donovan ... Jason Gregoire extended his career-long point streak to 16 games with an assist ... Matt Frattin extended his point streak to 15 games with an assist, but had his nine-game goal streak come to an end ... The Sioux are 17-4-2 away from home this season, including a 12-4-2 mark on the road and a 5-0-0 in neutral-site games.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Walchuk Named Player Of The Week:

Walchuk huge in series win to earn POW

Monday, March 28, 2011 - Submitted by BCHL MEDIA

Dylan Walchuk of the Vernon Vipers has earned a BCHL Player of the Week nod for the week ending March 27th, the league announced Monday.

Walchuk scored six goals in four games to lead the Vernon Vipers past Salmon Arm in the Interior Conference Finals. The 5-foot-9, 170 pound McBride, B.C. product was the difference in Game 6 of the Interior Final when he notched four goals to help Vernon win the conference for the third year in a row. After his stellar week, Walchuk now has 12 points (8 G, 4 A) in 12 games played during the playoffs and leads his club in postseason goal scoring.

The 19-year-old forward put up 56 points (24 G, 32 A) in 55 games during the regular season and will be attending Northern Michigan next season to play with the Wildcats.

Honourable mentions this week include Powell River Kings rearguard Craig Dalrymple (4 GP, 1 G, 3 A, two 1st Stars), Vernon's Patrick McGillis (4 GP, 1 G, 5 A, two 3rd stars) and Surrey Eagles netminder Karel St-Laurent (4 GP, 1 W, 3 L, 2.12 GAA, 0.942 SV %, two 2nd stars, one 1st star)

Former Viper Ikkala & Union College Lose In NCAA Regionals:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Cole Ikkala and the Union College Dutchmen fell 2-0 Friday night to #3 Minnesota Duluth at the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey East Regional Semifinal's. Ikkala played two years in Vernon (2008-2010)

This is posted on the Dutchmen website:

Memorable season concludes with 2-0 loss to Duluth in NCAA Regionals


BRIDGEPORT, CT – Kyle Schmidt scored a first period goal and Justin Fontaine added third period insurance to lift #3 seed Minnesota Duluth to a 2-0 victory over #2 seed Union College in the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey East Regional Semifinal Game at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.

The Bulldogs (23-10-6) advance to the regional final game against either Air Force or Yale Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. The Dutchmen complete a memorable season with a record of 26-10-4. Minnesota Duluth goalie Kenny Reiter had his third shutout of the season and sixth career, making 28 saves.

The Dutchmen outshot the Bulldogs, 12-5 in the first period, and the nation's best power play (31%) had four opportunities in the period. Just 29 seconds into the contest, Mike Connolly went in the box for a late hit for the Bulldogs, and the Dutchmen had five shots on Duluth netminder Kenny Reiter. Jeremy Welch had the best opportunity with a blast from the top of the right circle that was stopped by Reiter. The Dutchmen also had the man up at 6:07 after an interference by Kyle Schmidt. Union's Luke Cain took a break in slapper at 10:58 that was stopped and redirected by Reiter to his left, and Josh Jooris was there but his wrister went just wide.

Welsh had another opportunity when his shot featured a late blocker stop by Reiter at 9:42, just 35 seconds into the third Union power play. Trent Palm was in the Duluth box for hooking. Union had an 11-0 shot advantage until Duluth's first shot nearly nine minutes into the first.

Duluth had two on net during the first power play for the Bulldogs, after an Andrew Buote cross check at 13:04. The Bulldogs snapped the scoreless tie at 14:38. Kyle Schmidt potted his ninth of the season when, from in close, he tipped in a Mike Montgomery drive from the left point. It was Duluth's fourth shot of the period.

Each team traded late penalties in the final 4:12 of the stanza, with Brady Lamb's late hit for UMD at 15:48 and Welsh whistled for a slash at 19:43.

Welsh was stuffed in front after a Bulldog giveaway 4:29 into the second. The Dutchmen had another glistening opportunity with a two-on-one at 6:51 into the second. But Adam Presizniuk's quick wrister inside the left circle was denied by Reiter. Presizniuk had two chances right on the crease in a crowd at 8:42 that got snapped.up. After the second, the Dutchmen had a 21-12 shot advantage.

Pressure by the Bulldogs at 3:46 of the third featured a drive stopped by Kincaid behind close traffic in front. Kincaid made a tremendous diving stop on J.T. Brown on Kincaid's left post, and he stopped Brown again on the quick rebound in tight.

Duluth had the man up with Greg Coburn in the box at 6:13. Just 11 seconds later, Justin Fontaine scored his 21st of the season and 11th on the power play. Kincaid made a great save and then another on the rebound by Justin Faulk before Fontaine converted from the right circle. It was Duluth's sixth power play chance of the day.

With Trent Palm in the Duluth box for a hit from behind at 11:46, off the ensuing face off Presizniuk had a drive stopped by the extended right pad of Reiter, and the rebound was just missed by Coburn on the right post.

Kincaid made 29 saves in the Union nets while Reiter stopped 28 saves.

It was Union's first NCAA Division I tournament game, and the season featured the Cleary Cup for the ECAC Hockey regular season title as well as the most wins in a season in school history.

Former Viper Festerling Re-Signs With Hamburg:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Garrett Festerling has signed a one-year contract extension with the Hamburg Freezers (Germany DEL). Festerling had four goals and 15 assists in 50 games this year. Festerling played two seasons with the Vipers (2002-2004)

Blues Assign Former Viper Defenceman Strachan To Peoria:

The St. Louis Blues have assigned Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Tyson Strachan to the Blues’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. Strachan played one season in Vernon (2002-03).

This is posted on the Blues website:

Blues Assign Strachan to Peoria

Defenseman had been called up on an emergency basis

Wednesday, 03.23.2011

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced Wednesday the club has assigned defenseman Tyson Strachan to the Blues’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen.

Strachan, 26, has dressed in four games for the Rivermen this season posting one assist. The 6’2, 215-pound defenseman has also appeared in 29 games for the Blues recording an assist and serving 39 penalty minutes.

The Melfort, Saskatchewan native was signed by the Blues as a free agent on October 9, 2008.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Former Vipers Collins & Bigos Fall In Overtime At NCAA Tournament:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Kyle Bigos and forward, Mike Collins and the Merrimack Warriors fell 4-3 in overtime to #9 Notre Dame Saturday night in the NCAA Tournament Northeast Regional first round. Bigos played two seasons in Vernon (2007-2009) & Collins played two seasons with the Vipers (2008-2010)

This is posted on the Hockey East website:

Saturday, March 26, 2011


MANCHESTER, N.H. - The #7 Merrimack hockey team fell 4-3 in overtime of the NCAA Tournament Northeast Regional first round to #9 Notre Dame Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The Warriors finish the season with a 25-10-4 overall record.

Notre Dame's Anders Lee netted the game-winner 5:18 into the extra period. Lee one-handedly shot the puck towards the goal from the left-wing circle. Lee's bid deflected into the net to send the Fighting Irish to the Northeast Regional final.

Behind a power play goal from Kyle Bigos (Upland, CA) and a short-handed marker from Ryan Flanigan (Rochester, NY), the Warriors led 2-1 at the end of the first.

At 13:23, Bigos knocked in a rebound off a Jordan Heywood (Regina, SK) slap shot for his first man-advantage marker of the year. Heywood's shot was stopped by Mike Johnson, but Flanigan got the rebound and threw it back in the crease where Bigos knocked it in.

Just 2:37 later, Flanigan notched his 16th of the season and second short-handed goal in three games, as he and Stephane Da Costa (Paris, France) executed a 2-on-1 perfectly to make it 2-0. Da Costa came down the left side and fed Flanigan in the middle, who beat Johnson blocker side for his eighth goals in the last seven games and 10th point in five playoff games.

On the same power play, Calle Ridderwall took feeds from Billy Maday and T.J. Tynan and beat Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) on a one-timer to cut the Warriors' lead in half at 16:27 of the first.

Merrimack made it 3-1 at 2:58 of the second as Shawn Bates (Fort Sasketechwan, AB) stole the puck in the Irish zone and fed it to Rhett Bly (Regina, SK) in front of the goal, who buried it for his fourth of the year and first since January 15.

After Johnson made a great save on a short-handed breakaway on Jeff Velleca (Waterbury, CT), Notre Dame cut the lead back to one at 13:29 as Anders Lee notched his 23rd of the year beating Cannata glove side.

But the third period was all Notre Dame as the Irish outshot Merrimack and tied it at 5:32 as Billy Maday was credited with the goal after it glanced off a Merrimack defender and behind Cannata, after the junior goaltender made three point-blank stops during the same shift.

Notre Dame had two power plays in the final 9:28, but Merrimack killed them both as Cannata made huge stops on Ben Ryan and Riley Sheahan.

The Warriors owned a 35-34 advantage in shots for the contest.

Former Viper Volpatti & The Moose Live On CBC Today:

Former Vernon Vipers forward, Aaron Volpatti and The Manitoba Moose will take on the Abbotsford Heat who will play out the final game of their season series today on CBC starting at 10am as Viper fans will have the chance to watch the former Vernon Viper in action. The Moose hold the advantage through seven games with a 5-0-0-2 record against the Heat. Manitoba sit in 2nd place with a record of 39-27-1-5 while Abbotsford sits in 6th with a record of 34-26-4-6. Volpatti played three seasons in Vernon (2003-06)

Vipers Defenceman Thompson Is BCHL Recipient Of RBC Award:

Vipers defenceman Thompson is BCHL recipient of RBC award

Thursday, March 24, 2011 - Submitted by BCHL Media - with files from Don Klepp

Each season, RBC selects an individual from each of Canada's 10 Junior A hockey leagues as a recipient of $1,000 for their academic record, community involvement and application stating how hockey has helped them develop lifelong skills.

For 2011, Adam Thompson was selected as the British Columbia Hockey League's recipient.

Thompson, a third-year defenceman with the Vipers, will attend Yale University in the fall and has been taking English literature, Spanish, psychology and university writing courses at the local Okanagan College campus.

"I was pretty happy to get that kind of recognition for the effort I put in," said Thompson, 20. "I worked hard in those college classes; it's nice to see that the time put into those essays has paid off in more ways than one."

Each of the $1,000 winners is now eligible for another $5,000 scholarship that will be presented at the RBC Cup in May in Camrose, Alta. Vipers owner Duncan Wray hopes his team is successful enough that Thompson might be there along with his teammates to accept while competing for another national title.

“When I heard of Adam’s scholarship award, I couldn’t have been happier," said Wray. "He’s a great kid who works hard.

"Going to a school like Yale shows that he’s applied himself to his academics and just completing and submitting the extensive application shows his level of commitment. To be the sole BCHL player to win this award is a real feather in his cap.”

Snakes Earn Interior Three-Peat:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Snakes earn Interior three-peat

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star

Published: March 27, 2011

SALMON ARM – The Powell River Kings did their part. And so have the Vernon Vipers.

For the third straight year, the two teams will battle for B.C. Hockey League supremacy in the Fred Page Cup final, starting with Games 1 and 2, Friday and Saturday night respectively on the Sunshine Coast.

Vernon advanced by rallying from a two-game deficit, rattling off four straight wins to eliminate the Salmon Arm SilverBacks in the Interior Conference final, capped by a 5-4 win in a series-deciding Game 6 Friday night at the Sunwave Centre.

Forward Dylan Walchuk was a human highlight reel, pocketing four goals in what was arguably his most dominating game in a Viper jersey. The soft-spoken McBride product was quick to share the praise amongst his team, winners of the Ryan Hatfield Memorial Trophy as Interior champions for the third straight year.

“My teammates and linemates (Pat McGillis and Marcus Basara), they got me the puck and sacrificed their bodies to get pucks by guys and gave me some room out there, so credit to them.”

Walchuk, committed to the NCAA Northen Michigan Wildcats next season, opened the scoring on a 2-on-1 with Basara at 4:18 of the first period, ripping a shot past netminder Kris Moore’s glove hand.

SiverBack captain David Killip ignited the nearly 1,600 fans midway through the frame, jamming home a loose puck on Kirby Halcrow’s doorstep after a Jayson Reardon point shot.

But just like they did in Game 4, the Snakes capitalized on some sloppy SilverBack play in the final minute of a period. Goals by Bryce Kakoske, on a sweet one-timer, and Walchuk, on a partial breakaway with nine seconds left in the period, made it 3-1 after 20 minutes.

If there was such thing as a BCHL goal-of-the-year, Walchuk’s hat trick marker would at least deserve a nomination. He crashed the blueline at speed, turned d-man Kevin Mills inside out before beating Moore (23 saves) to give his team a 4-1 lead.

“He challenged their dee. He went right at them, faked the shot and dragged it and he pretty much did the same thing to Moore,” said Vipers’ head coach Mark Ferner.

“In tight he has really good hands and he has that ability, with great puck possession and great skills, to beat guys 1-on-1.”

When the Vipers fell behind early in the series, Ferner decided to change his approach.

“We’re a young impressionable group in there and going down 2-0 is never easy, especially losing two games at home,” he explained.

Ferner told his players: “We need to just relax, go play and have some fun with it. Go play the game and trust your teammates and trust the systems and be accountable for your actions.”

Salmon Arm wouldn’t go away quietly though. Brett Knowles dove across the crease to bury a puck behind Halcrow at 13:02 of the second period. Reardon, a Lumby native, made it a one-goal game when his dump-in attempt careened off the sidewall and fooled Halcrow (17 saves), who had left his crease to play the puck.

“They kept crawling back. They’re just a hard-working team and they battled back. It kind of gave us a little scare, but we regrouped during the period and came out with our best effort in the third,” said Walchuk, who pocketed the winner with a slick backhand after McGillis fed him a clever chip pass off the wall at 6:05 of the third period.

Said Salmon Arm head coach Tim Kehler: “We had lots of opportunity to fold our tents and go away, but the kids persevered. They dug in, down three goals against a team that’s really stingy, especially when they’ve got the lead.

“You look at the first period – three really poor plays, either with the puck or in coverage to give them those easy looks. To give up three in the first was really our undoing.”

In Game 5 Thursday night at Wesbild Centre, rookie power forward Aaron Hadley netted a controversial overtime winner as he pounced on a loose puck in the crease behind Moore to give the Snakes a 3-2 win before 2,300 fans.

Referees Nick Swaine and Trent Knorr needed to confer before allowing the goal, despite a furious protest from the Salmon Arm bench.

It was the first home win by either team in the series, and Vernon’s first home win against Salmon Arm all year.

Game 5 was another hard-hitting affair, punctuated by some stellar goaltending by second star Moore (32 save) and Halcrow (24 saves).

Darren Nowick opened the scoring on a powerplay midway through the first period, deftly redirecting Ryan Renz’s centering pass five-hole on Moore.

Walchuk made it 2-0 Vernon on another man advantage five minutes into the second frame. Captain David Robinson put the puck down low to McGillis, who centered for Walchuk.

Moore came up with a game-changing save on Robinson on a broken play in front of his net in the final minute of the second period. The SilverBacks used a quick transition to create a shorthanded, odd-man rush where Mike Hammond dished a centering feed for Morgan Zulinick, who wired a shot past Halcrow’s glove with 40 second remaining.

Clinton Atkinson forced overtime midway through the third period, beating Halcrow through traffic from a sharp angle.

Meanwhile, Powell River recorded four unanswered goals, including two on the powerplay, as they eliminated the Surrey Eagles with a 4-1 win in Game 6 of the Coastal final Friday night at South Surrey Arena.

Daniel Schuler led the Kings’ offence with a pair of goals to help his team hoist the Cliff McNabb Trophy as Coastal champions for the third straight year.

The Eagles staved off elimination in Game 5 with a 3-1 win over the host Kings Thursday night at Hap Parker Arena.

SNAKE BITES: Viper grads Chay Genoway (No. 2-ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux), Cole Ikkala (No. 8 Union Dutchmen) and Kyle Bigos and Mike Collins (No. 5 Merrimack Warriors) are among 43 BCHL alumni competing in the NCAA Men’s Hockey Championships. Regional championship action went Friday and Saturday. The gold-medal game goes April 9 in St. Paul, Minn.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Former Vipers Bigos & Collins Face Notre Dame In NCAA Tournament:

Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Kyle Bigos and forward, Mike Collins and the Merrimack Warriors face off against #9 Notre Dame Tonight in the NCAA Tournament. Bigos played two seasons in Vernon (2007-2009) & Collins played two seasons with the Vipers (2008-2010)

This is posted on the Hockey East website:

March 24, 2011

#7 Merrimack Faces #9 Notre Dame in NCAA Tournament Saturday at 7:30 pm


NCAA First Round vs. Notre Dame: Watch live on CSN-NE (HD) and / Watch at 11:30 p.m. on ESPNU-HD

Tonight's Matchup: Appearing in its first NCAA Tournament since 1988, Merrimack takes on Notre Dame in the first matchup between the two teams since 1991.

Lifetime vs. Notre Dame: Merrimack is 3-2-0 lifetime against the Fighting Irish and 0-1 as a Division I school. The teams have never met in the postseason.

Merrimack 2010-11 Quick Hits:
-selected to NCAA Tournament for first time since 1988 and first ever as a HEA school
-finished fourth in Hockey East, its highest conference finish ever
-set school records for overall wins (25) and Hockey East wins (16)
-defeated every Hockey East team for second time ever and second straight season
-ranked nationally for first time ever, reaching fourth in the polls
-took season-series from eight of nine HEA teams (except PC)
-posted 14-2-1 home record behind 10 sellout crowds
-won 9 straight road games, most in school history
-won 7 games in January, setting school record for wins in a month
-has enrollment of 2,080, smallest among all Div. I hockey schools

Madness in Manchester
Merrimack earned the #2 seed in the Northeast Regional and will play at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, just 35 miles from its campus.

A Look at the Regional and Merrimack's NCAA Tournament History
Joining Merrimack in Manchester is top-seed and CCHA champion Miami (Ohio), who the Warriors last faced in 2001, #3 Notre Dame, who took 4th in the CCHA, and #4 UNH, who Merrimack defeated in the HEA Semifinals. Merrimack has played in the Div. I Tournament just once, in 1988, where they beat Northeastern in an aggregate two-game series, before falling to Lake Superior St. in the two-game quarterfinal series.

Let's Look Back Before We Look Ahead
Merrimack won its first-ever Hockey East semifinal game, defeating UNH 4-1, before falling to BC 5-3 in its first-ever HEA championship game at TD Garden.

Flanigan, Sheen, Madsen, Stollery Lead Playoff Scoring
Ryan Flanigan led all Hockey East players with five goals, nine points, and +9 in the HEA tournament in four games played. His linemates, Elliott Sheen (4g,3a,+7) and Carter Madsen (3g,4a,+8) tied for second with seven points each. Karl Stollery led all players in ice time and was tied for third among defenders with three points. Flanigan and Stollery were named to the Hockey East All-Tournament team.

Flanigan Fires up Game for Playoffs
Ryan Flanigan has taken his game to the next level in the playoffs, recording 9 points in 4 playoff games, and has 7 goals, 12 points and a +11 rating over his last six games.

Collins Named Hockey East Rookie of the Week
Mike Collins earned HEA Rookie of the Week honors after getting three points last weekend. Collins leads all Hockey East rookies with 30 points this season. Since January 1, he has earned 25 points in 21 games. Collins was an HEA All-Rookie team selection for his efforts.

Unbeaten Out of Conference This Season
The Warriors concluded non-conference play 6-0-1 in the regular season, winning their final six games. Merrimack did not play a CCHA school.

Sheen, Cannata Lead Merrimack to First-Ever Semifinal Win
Behind two goals from Elliott Sheen and 30 saves from Joe Cannata, Merrimack won its first-ever semifinal 4-1 over UNH, advancing to its first-ever title game.

Flanigan-Madsen-Sheen Line Lead the Way
Merrimack's most consistent line, the third line of Ryan Flanigan, Carter Madsen and Elliott Sheen led the way to the championship game, combining for 10 goals, 20 points and a +24 through the first two playoff rounds. Merrimack is 10-0 when all three pick up a point. Madsen notched his first career hat trick in the game 2 quarterfinal series clincher. Sheen had a career-high two goals against Maine in game 1 and against UNH in the semifinal win. The trio has played together all year and have a combined 73 points and a +55 rating.

Barton, Cucci, Da Costa, Stollery Lead Offensive Attack
Merrimack's offense, 2nd in Hockey East, is driven by Chris Barton, Joe Cucci, Stephane Da Costa, and Karl Stollery. Da Costa leads Merrimack with 44 points in 32 games, while Barton has 39 points. Cucci is tied for 3rd in HEA with 22 power play points and 2nd with 10 power play goals. Stollery leads the team in ice time and is 2nd among HEA defenders with 27 points.

Todd Among Hockey East's Most Clutch
Jesse Todd has a team-high 17 goals, and his six game-winners are 2nd in HEA.

Playoff Team Leaders
Merrimack led Hockey East with three short-handed goals and a +3 special teams net. They were tied for first in offense (4.50 goals) and power play (28.6%). They also led all teams with eight third-period goals.

Record Crowds
Merrimack played in front of the two biggest crowds in school history last weekend, 16,003 at the semifinals and 14,571 at the championship game.

Merrimack Reaches Garden for First Time Since 1998
Merrimack reached the TD Garden for the first time since 1998. The Warriors swept Maine 2-0 at Lawler Arena and beat UNH 4-1 in the semifinals.

First HEA Playoff Home Wins; First Playoff Wins Against Maine
Merrimack's two quarterfinal wins marked its first-ever home playoff wins since joining HEA and its first-ever playoff victories over the Black Bears.

There's No Place Like Home
Merrimack won eight straight at home to close the year, went 14-2-1 this season and is 26-5-2 since the start of last season. Lawler was sold out for 10 of 17 games this season.

Only Two Named All-Conference
Despite the best season in school history, Merrimack had just two all-conference honorees. Stephane Da Costa was a second-team selection while Mike Collins made the all-rookie team.

Strong in All Team Statistics
Merrimack ranks 2nd in offense, defense and power play in Hockey East and 3rd on the penalty kill. They rank 5th nationally in win percentage and 6th in scoring margin.

Fast Starters
Merrimack has outscored its opponents 47-26 in the first period and has the most goals of any Hockey East team in the first 20 minutes this season.

Merrimack Hosted Hockey East Quarterfinal for 2nd Time Ever
For the second time in school history and first time since 1997, Merrimack hosted a playoff series at Lawler and won its first-ever home playoff game.

Fabulous Freshmen Defenders
Brendan Ellis and Jordan Heywood both merited Hockey East All-Rookie honors. Heywood leads all Hockey East defenders with a +23 rating and also has 15 points. Ellis is tied for 4th among HEA rookie blueliners with 16 points.

Division I Hockey East Record 24 Wins, 35 HEA Points
Merrimack set a Division I HEA regular season record for wins with 24 and for points with 35.
Cannata Winningest Goalie in Program's Div. I History
Joe Cannata picked up his 25th win of the year, extending his own Division I school record for career wins first set on Feb. 19 to 42. Cannata is 2nd with a 2.44 GAA and 5th with a .911 SV% among HEA goaltenders.

Barton, Cucci Form Dynamic Duo
Barton and Cucci have combined for 15 goals and 38 points in the last 15 games.

Barton Hits 100 Career Points
Chris Barton, who has 39 points this year, had points on the first eight goals on the weekend of Feb. 4-5. He is the 10th Warrior to reach 100 points in Merrimack's HEA history and first since Anthony Aquino in 2002. Barton has 119 career points in 140 games and ranks 5th in HEA in conference games with 33 points.

Collins, Cucci, Flanigan Among Stars in Providence Win
Mike Collins had three assists in the 6-1 win over PC, while Ryan Flanigan had two first-period goals, and Joe Cucci had two PP goals in a :22 span.

Sudden Death Success
Merrimack has won its last four OT games and is 4-0-4 this season. They have never won four straight OT games and haven't won four in a season since 1993-94.

Merrimack Earns First-Place Vote After Sweep of UMass
Merrimack, 5th in the country in winning percentage, earned its first-ever first-place vote in the February 21 USCHO poll.

Nine Straight on the Road is a School Record
Merrimack won nine straight road games from 11/30 to 2/18, most in program history.

Five Play all 38 Games
Joe Cannata, Karl Stollery, Jesse Todd and freshmen Brendan Ellis and Jordan Heywood have all played in every game this year.

Madsen's OT Goal Caps Late Comeback at UMass
Merrimack's magical run continued when the Warriors won their 9th straight away game on Feb. 18, scoring four times in the final 12:22. Joe Cucci tied it with 1:22 to play, and Carter Madsen won it 25 seconds into OT for the 4-3 win.

Heywood's Career Day Leads to OT Win
Heywood scored 1:46 into OT on 2/12 against UNH and added assists on Merrimack's other two goals for a career-high three-point game.

Success Against the Best
Merrimack has picked up points in six of eight games against teams ranked in the top-7, going 4-2-2 this season.

Cannata, Heywood Earn Hockey East Weekly Honors
Joe Cannata was named Athletic Republic Player of the Week, his fourth weekly honor, and Jordan Heywood was named the Co-Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week for their play against UNH. Merrimack also earned HEA and College Hockey News Team of the Week honors after the sweep of UNH.

Ranking the Warriors' 11-Goal Night
The 11 goals scored against UMass are the most for a Merrimack team since it defeated BC 11-5 on Feb. 15, 1997 and are the most scored in any Division I college hockey game since Union had 11 on Feb. 5, 2010. It's also the most goals MC ever scored against UMass, and is the first time a HEA team reached double digits in goals since UNH had 10 against MC on Jan. 5, 2002.

Barton, Brodhag, Ellis, Heffernan, Ross Have Career Days
11 different Warriors had multi-point efforts in the UMass win, as Barton (5 points), Brandon Brodhag (3 assists), Brendan Ellis (1st career goal, 2 assists), John Heffernan (2 assists) and Adam Ross (goal, 2 assists) all had career days.

Cucci's Hat Trick Gives Merrimack Thrilling OT Win

Behind a hat trick and the game-winning goal with 28 seconds left in OT from Joe Cucci, Merrimack defeated Northeastern 4-3. For Cucci, the former Husky, it was his second-straight four-point game and his second career hat trick.

Back-to-Back Four Assist Nights
After Cucci notched four helpers vs. UVM, Barton followed with four against Northeastern. Merrimack's last four-assist performance was accomplished by Jeff Caron in December of 2004.

Flanigan Finding the Scoreboard
Ryan Flanigan has 27 points in his last 20 games and is fourth on the team with 32 points.

MC Posts Best Month since Joining HEA with UVM Sweep
The Warriors concluded a 7-1 January with their first-ever weekend sweep of Vermont. The seven wins are the most in a month since MC joined HEA.

Strong Combined Special Teams
After tying for first last season, Merrimack ranks sixth nationally and second in Hockey East in combined special teams.

Da Costa's Career-High Point Streak Ends at 12
Da Costa's career-high 12-game point streak was snapped on 1/28. He had 22 points in that span, including two game-winners. In HEA, Da Costa is 3rd in points and 1st in assists per game.

Collins' Hat Trick Leads to Rookie of Week and Month Honors
After netting his 1st collegiate hat trick and a career-high four points in the 7-1 win over UVM, Mike Collins was named the HEA Rookie of the Week and of the month of January. Collins completed January with 11 points in 8 games.

Scoring in Bunches
After never scoring seven goals in the first five years of Mark Dennehy's coaching tenure, Merrimack has scored seven or more five times this year, which is the most in a season since 1991-92.

Season-Series Triumphs over BU and BC
Merrimack captured the regular season series over both BU and BC for the 1st time in program history.

MC Wraps Up 2nd-Ever Season-Series Victory over BU
The Jan. 18 victory over BU sealed the second-ever season-series win over the Terriers and the first since the 2000-01 campaign. Merrimack went 1-0-2 against BU this year.

Sixteen Straight Polls and Counting
Merrimack has been ranked in 16-straight USCHO polls and 10-straight USA Today polls. Merrimack was never ranked nationally prior to this season.

Cannata Gets First Shutout of Season Against UAH
Cannata stopped 24 shots for his 1st shutout of the season and 5th career. Cannata also was the HEA Defensive Player of the Month for October and runner-up for November, December, and January.

Merrimack Downs #9/11 Maine 7-1
Behind points from 12 players, including three each from Stephane Da Costa and Chris Barton, Merrimack routed #9/11 Maine 7- 1 on January 8.

Most Goals against Maine in 32 Years
The seven goals are the most the Warriors have scored against Maine since the 2nd-ever meeting between the two teams on Jan. 9, 1979 and are the most scored by Merrimack in a HEA game since Jan. 13, 2004 against UNH.

Madsen, Flanigan Lead Offensive Outburst Against UAH
Eight different players had three or more points against Alabama-Huntsville, including Ryan Flanigan and Carter Madsen who set career highs with three points each in the January 15 win. Madsen also scored twice for the first time ever. Todd led all Warriors with three goals and four points, while Jordan Heywood had 12 shots from the blue line.

Rookies Shine on NHL Ice in Nashville
Each of the six Merrimack freshmen that played against UAH had points in the 7-0 win. Jordan Heywood scored his first goal and posted his first multi-point game, Mike Collins had 3 points, while Rhett Bly and Shawn Bates each tallied a game-winner.

Making History Down South
Merrimack skated in the first two college hockey games ever played in Tennessee on January 14 and 15, playing UAH at the Bridgestone Arena.

Scoring in 3's
Against Maine, Merrimack struck for three quick goals twice, scoring three in 2:44 in the first period, while getting three in 3:22 in the third.

Merrimack Ends RIT's Home Streak with 5-3 Win
Behind the first career hat trick from Stollery and three points from Da Costa, Merrimack handed RIT its first home loss in 12 games dating back to Jan. 30, 2010 with a 5-3 win.

Stollery Nets First Hat Trick by Defenseman Since 1997
Merrimack's assistant captain became the first Warrior defenseman to register a hat trick since Darrel Scoville in an 11-5 win over BC on February 15, 1997. Stollery is the first HEA defender to net a hat trick since UMass' Marvin Degon on Jan. 7, 2006.

50 for Dennehy
The 3-2 win over Lowell was the 50th for Mark Dennehy as Merrimack's head coach.

50 Shots for First Time Since 1998
The Warriors rattled off 50 shots in the 5-3 win at RIT, the most in Hockey East this year, and the most by a Merrimack team since registering 57 against Maine on Jan. 9, 1998.

Merrimack Wins Series against National Champs
The Warriors captured the regularseason series from the Eagles for the first time since 1996-97, defeating the defending National Champion Boston College twice at home.

NU Win Gives Senior Class Points at All HEA Arenas
The victory at NU on 12/3 gave the senior class points at all Hockey East arenas. Merrimack entered that game 0-8-1 in its last nine at Matthews Arena, dating back to October of 2003.

Warriors Conclude November with 3-1 Win at Harvard
Merrimack concluded November with a 4-2-2 record after beating Harvard 3-1. Karl Stollery had two points while Stephane Da Costa netted the game-winner as they outshot the Crimson 39-15.

First Line Leads Warriors to 5-3 Win over Eagles
Led by six points from the top line, including three points from Da Costa, the Warriors downed BC 5-3 on Nov. 26 at Lawler. Jesse Todd and Joe Cucci also had multi-point games, while Joe Cannata stopped 24 shots.

Todd Named HEA Player of the Week After Hat Trick
After tallying his first career hat trick, Jesse Todd was named the HEA Athletic Republic Co-Player of the Week on November 22. Trailing 3-2 late in the third, Todd scored twice in a 1:43 span, winning the game with 37 seconds left in regulation.

Spreading Out the Scoring
Incredibly, 24 different Warriors have scored at least a point.

MC Sweeps UML in Weekend Series for First Time Ever
Merrimack earned its first ever weekend sweep of Lowell, defeating them 4-3 and 3-2. Against the River Hawks, the Warriors have won three straight for the first time since 1977 and will win the season series for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

Stingy Defense
The Warriors allowed just 12 shots (one in the 3rd) against Lowell on Nov. 20, its fewest shots allowed in a game since Jan. 3, 2004 when Princeton managed just eleven.

Points Against #1 and #2
The Warriors have already earned points against the two top-ranked teams in the country this season. They tied #1 BU twice and defeated #2 BC on October 30.

Recent Success over BC
After going winless in 10 straight against BC at home, Merrimack has won three straight.

Defeating the Highest Ranked Team in Dennehy Era
Merrimack's win over BC marks the defeat of the highest ranked team under Dennehy. Merrimack has knocked off the defending National Champion in each of the last two seasons.

Non-Conference Home Winning Streak Reaches Nine
The Warriors are 9-0 in their last nine non-conference home games and 19-6-3 in their last 28 non-conference games.

Strong on Opening Night
Merrimack is now 7-1-2 in its last 10 home openers.

NHL Draftees
For the first time since 2002, Merrimack had two players selected in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Kyle Bigos was picked in the fourth round (99th overall) by Edmonton, while Joe Cannata was picked in the sixth round (173rd overall) by Vancouver.

Merrimack in 40+ Save Performances
Incredibly, over the last three seasons, Merrimack is 4-1-2 when its goaltender stops 40 or more shots. Joe Cannata stopped 40+ shots last season with his 42-save shutout effort at UMass. He stopped 40+ shots in the 2008-09 season when he recorded 44 saves at Army.

Camrose Connection
Chris Barton, Karl Stollery, and Jesse Todd all played junior hockey with the Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL. The trio helped Camrose to two straight AJHL and Doyle Cup Championships in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Duncan Wray Interior Conference Finals Game 5 Post-Game Interview:

Vernon Vipers colour commentator, Don Klepp interviews Vernon Vipers owner, Duncan Wray after the Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in Game 5 of the Interior Conference Finals 3-2 in overtime Thursday night at the Wesbild Centre giving Vernon a 3-2 series lead.

Vipers Win Interior Division:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers win interior division

by Don Klepp | Added 2011-03-26

Dylan Walchuk’s four goals led the Vernon Vipers to a 5-4 win in Salmon Arm on Friday.

Walchuk’s bravura performance propelled the Vipers into the Fred Page Cup against the Powell River Kings for the third straight year. The Viper victory was their fourth in a row after the Silverbacks had opened with two wins in Vernon.

In the Viper dressing room before the game, veteran Steve Weinstein recalled that in the deciding game of the 2008-09 Interior final, played in Salmon Arm, Connor Jones had scored a hat trick in the Viper 3-1 win.

“Who wants to be Connor tonight?” Weinstein asked.

After the game Dylan Walchuk said, “No one said anything when Steve asked his question, so I said, ‘OK, I’ll be Connor.’ But I didn’t expect four goals!”

Walchuk scored on each of his four shots on goal: “Just one of those nights, I guess. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t.”

Winger Patrick McGillis, who pocketed three assists in the game, lauded his centre’s efforts. “He’s an elite player, the kind that shows up in the big games. He’s been working so hard in this series, so it’s nice to see him get rewarded.”

Then McGillis added with a twinkle, “All stars are made in the regular season, but superstars are made in the playoffs.”

Here’s the chronology of Walchuk’s outburst.

4:18, Period 1. Walchuk opened the scoring with a perfect low shot to the glove side of Kris Moore, while on a two-on-one break with Patrick McGillis.

19:51, Period 1. Just 12 seconds after Bryce Kakoske had scored on a one-timer on a pass from McGillis on another two-on-one, Walchuk struck again. From the faceoff, the puck went back to Kevin Mills at the Salmon Arm blue line. There, Walchuk picked Mills’s pocket and went in uncontested to beat Moore through the five hole, to make the score 3-1.

5:57, Period 2. Walchuk made the score 4-1 with a sensational effort, stickhandling his way through the heart of the Salmon Arm defence and beating Moore in tight.

6:05, Period 3. After Salmon Arm had fought back to make the score 4-3, Walchuk gave the Vipers a two goal cushion with another highlight reel play. Marcus Basara took a hellacious hit from Jayson Reardon at the red line, but moved the puck forward to Walchuk at the Salmon Arm blue line. Walchuk’s speed set him free and he beat Moore with a high backhand.

In the face of Walchuk’s heroics and fierce Viper checking, the Silverbacks deserve credit for continuing to fight. After the first Walchuk marker, David Killip came back with his linemates to push the puck and Kirby Halcrow over the goal line at 10:20.

Indeed, the Silverbacks dominated the second half of the first period, so the two Viper strikes at the end of the frame came against the run of play.

Roles reversed in the middle frame. The Vipers outplayed the Silverbacks for most of the period, but the home team outscored the visitors 2-1.

Brett Knowles made the score 4-2 at 13:02 with a bull rush, and then Jayson Reardon was credited with a truly bizarre goal at 19:02.

St. Louis Blues Recall Former Viper Strachan From AHL:

The St. Louis Blues have been recalled Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Tyson Strachan from the Blues’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. Strachan played one season in Vernon (2002-03).

This is posted on the Blues website:

Blues Recall Strachan from Peoria

Defenseman has been recalled under emergency conditions

Tuesday, 03.22.2011 / 2:00 PM / News St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced Tuesday the club has recalled defenseman Tyson Strachan from the Blues’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen, on emergency basis.

Strachan, 26, has appeared in 28 games for the Blues this season recording an assist and serving 34 penalty minutes. The 6’2, 215-pound defenseman has also dressed in four games for the Rivermen posting one assist.

The Melfort, Saskatchewan native was signed by the Blues as a free agent on October 9, 2008.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Vernon Vipers 2011 Interior Conference Champions:

The Vernon Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 5-4 tonight to win the series in six games winning their 16th Interior Division-Conference Championship in franchise history. (1988,1989,1990,1991,1992,1996,1997,1999,2000,2002,2003,2005,2007,2009,2010 & 2011)

Here's a look back at the previous Interior Division-Conference Champions

2011 Vernon Vipers
2010 Vernon Vipers
2009 Vernon Vipers
2008 Penticton Vees
2007 Vernon Vipers
2006 Penticton Vees
2005 Vernon Vipers
2004 Salmon Arm Silverbacks
2003 Vernon Vipers
2002 Vernon Vipers
2001 Merritt Centennials
2000 Vernon Vipers
1999 Vernon Vipers
1998 Penticton Panthers
1997 Vernon Vipers
1996 Vernon Vipers
1995 Kelowna Spartans
1994 Kelowna Spartans
1993 Kelowna Spartans
1992 Vernon Lakers
1991 Vernon Lakers
1990 Vernon Lakers
1989 Vernon Lakers
1988 Vernon Lakers
1987 Kelowna Packers
1986 Penticton Knights
1985 Penticton Knights
1984 Penticton Knights
1983 Kelowna Buckeroos
1982 Penticton Knights
1981 Penticton Knights
1980 Penticton Knights
1979 Kamloops Rockets
1978 Penticton Vees
1977 Penticton Vees
1975 Kelowna Buckeroos
1974 Kelowna Buckeroos
1973 Penticton Broncos
1971 Kamloops Rockets

Interior Conference Finals-Game 6: Vernon 5 Salmon Arm 4

I was at tonight's Interior Conference Finals Game 6 as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 5-4 winning the series 4-2 and their 16th Interior Division-Conference Championship in front of 1,590 fans at the Sunwave Centre.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Kirby Halcrow
Salmon Arm: Kris Moore

1st Period: The Vipers had the Silverbacks pinned in their own end early and often as Salmon Arm couldnt get the puck through the neutral zone. Very little action to start the game as it took the Vipers almost four minutes to record their first shot on goal while almost eight minutes for the Silverbacks to get their first shot on net. Dylan Walchuk would open the scoring beating Kris Moore at 4:18 giving Vernon a 1-0 lead. Walchuks goal was unassisted. Vernon is 7-0 when scoring first in the playoffs, while Salmon Arm is 0-4 when giving up the first goal in the playoffs. Just about a minute later Salmon Arm would get the games first powerplay. The Backs were unable to get much going as the Vipers killed off the minor. Salmon Arm slowly started to come out and carry the better of the play. The Backs were really forcing Vernon in their own end getting some good pressure. The Silverbacks moved the puck around well creating chances but no shots on goal. Jayson Reardon with a shot from the point was stopped by Kirby Halcrow before Silverbacks captain, David Killip wacked away at the rebound before Devin Gannon driving hard towards the net beat Halcrow at 10:20 tying the game. Killip and Reardon with the assists. Vernon was up 3-1 in shots before the Backs with three straight shots took the lead 4-3 and tied the game. Off the draw the Silverbacks would get the play back in deep, forcing Halcrow to come out of his crease to play the puck, but Halcrow's pass from behind the goal ended up hitting Steve Weinstein as the puck come out front as the Vipers quickly cleared the puck and the crease on a close call. Salmon Arm continued to control the play as the Vipers managed to get a few shifts and plays in the Backs zone but not for very long as the Silverbacks continued to press with some good pressure. Vernon who couldnt seem to get out of their zone had just two shots in the second half of the period before Bryce Kakoske and Mike Hammond collided at the Vipers blueline, this forced a turnover sending Kakoske and Patrick McGillis in on the two on one, McGillis setup Kakoske who beat Moore at 19:38 giving Vernon a 2-1 lead. McGillis with the lone assist. Off the draw the Vipers come right back with another two on one, Dylan Walchuk used Marcus Basara as the decoy before Walchuk beat Kris Moore low to the glove side at 19:51 giving Vernon a 3-1 lead stunning the Silverbacks and the Sunwave Centre. After Salmon Arm had the Vipers on their heels, Vernon comes back with two late goals just thirteen seconds apart to take a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers got off to a good start but the Silverbacks controlled most of the opening period. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 9-7.

2nd Period: Off the draw the Vipers would get the play in deep and with a scramble in front Kyle Murphy couldnt beat Moore on a great chance in the opening minute. Vernon would get an early powerplay, moving the puck well Bryce Kakoske's one timer from the point was stopped by Kris Moore who come across the crease to make a huge pad save. The Vipers looked good with the man advantage getting some pressure but Salmon Arm would kill off the minor. The Vipers looked very good to start the 2nd really moving the puck well, and making some real nice plays breaking into the Backs zone. David Robinson with a hard shot from the high slot was stoned by Kris Moore who made a nice glove save. The Vipers with several good chances in the offensive zone. Ryan Renz setup Dylan Walchuk who dangled through the neutral zone and then through three Salmon Arm players before beating Moore in close at 5:57 giving Vernon a 4-1 lead. Renz with the only helper. This was a highlight reel goal as Walchuk was having his best game as a Viper. Vernon would then get it's second powerplay of the night after the Backs were caught with too many men on the ice. The Vipers really moved the puck around well, setting up some nice plays, Darren Nowick with a shot from the side corner had Kris Moore beat but hit the post on the far side as the Vipers almost went up by four. Salmon Arm was really pinned in their own end for most of the man advantage but the Silverbacks with a huge penalty kill excaped down three goals. Just a minute and a half later Brett Knowles beat Halcrow at 13:02 cutting the Vernon lead to two goals. Knowles goal was unassisted. The Silverbacks would get a late powerplay, Jayson Reardon dumped the puck into the Vipers zone, the puck would hit the side boards before taking a funny bounce hitting the empty net at 19:03 making this a one goal game. Kirby Halcrow stepped out of his crease to get the puck before the puck hit the boards and found the empty cage on a lucky goal. Reardon's goal was unassisted. Vernon was the better team carrying the better of the play getting some good chances. The Vipers were up 4-3 after 40 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 14-8.

3rd Period: Not much action early as Salmon Arm tried getting the offence going but couldnt get much past the Vipers blueline as Vernon looked to be sitting back a little. David Robinson and Kyle Murphy did a great job at killing off some valuable time off the clock early pinning the puck along the boards eating a good minute and a half off the clock as the Silverbacks couldnt win the battles along the boards. Some nice passing allowed Patrick McGillis to setup Dylan Walchuk with his fourth of the night at 6:05 giving Vernon a 5-3 lead. McGillis and Basara collected the assists. Not alot of scoring chances at either ends as Salmon Arm was really trying to tie the game and Vernon was trying not to make a mistake and play well defensively. The Backs would get the play in deep and setup James Friedel's blast from the point that beat Kirby Halcrow at 11:53 making this a one goal game. David Killip and Devin Gannon picked up the helpers. From here on in the Silverbacks would carry the better of the play but it was Vernon's defence and hard work that did a great job at keeping the Silverbacks to the outside and away from the goal as Salmon Arm was unable to really get any quailty chances. The Vipers would just chip the puck out into the neutral zone or off the glass and out of the zone, keeping things simple. With time winding down and down a goal the Backs were making some poor passes, bumping into one another and at times had troubles getting the play deep in the Vernon zone. Kirby Halcrow was forced to make a few good saves but no real great chances. Mark Ferner would call a timeout with 1:24 remaining and a faceoff just outside the Vernon blueline, Kyle Murphy would win the draw and from here on in Salmon Arm had all kinds of trouble getting the play in deep as Kris Moore was forced to stay between the pipes as the 20 yr old goaltender couldnt get to the bench for the extra attacker. The Vipers playing a strong defensive game were shutting down the Silverbacks before finally Moore would get to the bench with about fourty three seconds remaining on the clock, Salmon Arm would get the play in deep and with a scramble in front get off a shot but somehow Halcrow kept the puck out. The puck would come back to the point where a huge blocked shot by captain David Robinson got the puck out of the zone and deep into the Backs end where Salmon Arm would make one last push but couldnt get the puck past the neutral zone as the buzzer sounded Mike Hammond and Jarryd Ten Vannholt started to mix it up with a handful of Vipers before the small scrum was broken up as the Vernon Vipers would hang on for a thrilling 5-4 victory and come back down 2-0 win four straight to win the 2011 Interior Conference Championship and the Ryan Hatfield trophy for the 16th time in franchise history. (1988,1989,1990,1991,1992,1996,1997,1999,2000,2002,2003,2005,2007,2009,2010 & 2011) Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 7-4.

Top Players: (Vernon)

Malcolm Lyles for the second straight night played a very solid-non flashy game. Lyles didnt jump up into the play and carry the puck, setting up some scoring chances like in Game 5 last night but played a real solid defensive game on the Vipers blueline.

The line of David Robinson, Kyle Murphy and Bryce Kakoske (1 goal) was very strong for the Vipers tonight. What can you say about the Vipers captain, Robinson has basically carried this team all season and once again played a strong game. Was very strong on the forecheck and penalty kill. Battled and competed hard all night. Kyle Murphy dosnt get alot of goals or makes alot of great plays but does alot of the little things that go unnoticed through out a hockey game. Murphy was very good on the draw and also played very well on the forecheck and penalty kill. Bryce Kakoske who didnt look like he was in Game 5, really stepped up his play tonight and played a strong game up front for the Vipers. Had a few chances, was skating hard tonight and battled hard in and along the boards. Made some real nice heads up plays through out tonights game, chipping the puck out, clearing the zone etc. Played a smart game.

The line of Dylan Walchuk (4 goals), Marcus Basara (1 assist) & Patrick McGillis (2 assists) was another solid, hard working line for Vernon. Walchuk Was by far Vernon's best player tonight. Walchuk who has played well most of the playoffs started off a bit slow, but got better as the playoffs went on. Walchuk's third goal was a highlight reel goal as he went through three Silverbacks to record his hattrick. McGillis who has really come along and proved to be one of the Vipers better players come playoff time worked hard and made some real nice plays.

Steve Weinstein & Adam Thompson also played very well logging alot of minutes on the Vipers backend.

Top Players: (Salmon Arm)

Jayson Reardon (1 goal & 1 assist) I thought played very well in his final game as a Salmon Arm Silverback. Scored a very lucky goal late on the powerplay in the 2nd period that took a funny bounce off the side boards and into the open cage.

Morgan Zulinick looked good in the 1st period and 2nd but didnt really stand out as much in the 3rd.

Brett Knowles (1 goal) What can you say about Brett Knowles, this kid has played very well and done very well against the Vipers in his career and played a heck of a strong game up front for the Backs. Works, battles and competes game in, game out and it showed tonight.

David Killip (2 assists) The Silverbacks captain I thought played very well up front for Salmon Arm. Didnt get alot of scoring chances but created and setup chances offensively.

Game Thoughts: (Vernon)

First off Id like to take this time to congradulate the Vernon Vipers, the coaching staff, Duncan Wray and everyone involved with the hockey club as well as the Viper fans for winning the 2011 Interior Conference Championship-Ryan Hatfield Trophy for the 16th time in franchise history. I will admit that heading into this series with how well the Salmon Arm Silverbacks played and did against the Vernon Vipers through out the regular season, I didnt give the Vipers a whole lot of chances to win the series. Then after going down 2-0 with both losses at home I thought the series was over. Just the way the entire series and games played against Salmon Arm all year have gone, I didnt think Vernon could recover down 2-0 heading to Salmon Arm. & now Im totally shocked and speachless after the Vipers have won four straight to win the series and head back to the BCHL league finals for a third straight season. Just before training camp I never ever would have picked the Vipers to even come close to finishing first nor win the Interior Division Pennant yet alone their third straight Interior Conference Championship. Again Im shocked and yet very happy to see how well our boys have come since the start of the season. Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson have done a tremendous job and should be patted on the back for one heck of a job. Also to the hard work of the Viper players for never giving up and making the city of Vernon and the Viper fans so proud to be Viper fans! Back to the game, I thought the Vipers played a very well game on the road, scoring on their chances, playing very well defensively and shutting down the Backs offence most of the night. I really liked the passing and puck movement, I thought the Vipers looked very good with and without the puck tonight. Vernon built up a three goal lead and made the Silverbacks have to work to try and complete the comeback. I also thought Vernon did a great job at shutting down Mike Hammond, Brad Reid as well as a few other top players. A very solid road win against a very good Silverbacks hockey club. The Vipers are now playing some of their best hockey of the season and playing with alot of confidence right now.

Game Thoughts: (Salmon Arm)

Id like to take this time to congratulate the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for a great season and a heck of a playoff series. What can you say about Tim Kehler and Colin O'Hara, these two young men really turned around this franchise and made it one of the Interior's top teams. All season the Silverbacks come to play and ready to battle winning seven of eight games against the Vipers. It looked like for just the second time in franchise history the Silverbacks would win the Interior Conference Championship. Thanks for a great entertaining series. Id like to wish all the veteran players or players that wont be back next season, all the best in your hockey or life futures. Thanks for some great memories this season. For the second time in three years the Vipers have ended the Silverbacks season at the Sunwave Centre. After going 7-1 against Vernon during the regular season and then take a 2-0 lead on the road before losing the next four straight, you have to wonder what happened? Did the Silverbacks get over confident? Run out of gas? Or just beat by a better hockey team? Some of these questions will haunt the Backs for a while and some of these questions may never be answered. I can tell you this, this is going to take a long time for alot of the veteran players to try and get out of their heads. Alot of the veteran players have seen the Vipers win back to back National Championships and then blow a 2-0 series lead in wich was supose to be their year for a long playoff run, this one has to hurt just a little more. Last night's Game 5 overtime loss was a crucial and very tough loss to swallow. After outplaying the Vipers for most of the opening period, giving up two late quick back to back goals has to be a turning point? From here on in the Backs had to claw and fight their way back all night. Salmon Arm had to try and battle back all night and just ran out of time, the Silverbacks who I thought didnt really look all that great battled back but in the end couldnt hold off the Vipers who are playing with alot of confidence right now. The Silverbacks made some poor passes at times, were bumping into one another at times, just seemed to be rushing the play and couldnt really get alot of good quality chances. The Backs couldnt get much past the Vernon defence and get alot towards or in and around the goal. Give Salmon Arm credit they battled right till the end and made it one heck of a hockey game.



Max Mowat (Injured)
Phillip Patenaude (Injured)
Dane Muench (Injured)
Colton Sparrow (Injured)

Salmon Arm:

Justin Elliott
Josh McKissock
Brandon Mistal

1st Star: Dylan Walchuk (4 goals)
2nd Star: Brett Knowles (1 goal)
3rd Star: Patrick McGillis (2 assists)

For more on tonight's game check out the boxscore,