Friday, March 25, 2011

Vipers Take Series Lead:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers take series lead

by don klepp | Added 2011-03-25

Aaron Hadley’s goal at 5:43 of the first overtime period gave the Vernon Vipers a 3-2 win and a 3-2 series lead in the BCHL’s Interior Division final with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

The winner came when goalie Kris Moore couldn’t squeeze Steve Weinstein’s chest high shot and Hadley out muscled Jayson Reardon to poke in the puck that was lying in the Salmon Arm goal crease.

Referee Trent Knorr seemed about to wave the goal off because he apparently thought that Moore had frozen the puck, but he consulted with the other referee, Nick Swaine, and the two linesmen, who persuaded Knorr that it was a legitimate goal.

The play spoiled a gallant comeback by the Silverbacks, who trailed for most of the game. Morgan Zulinick’s short handed goal at 19:20 of the second period and Clinton Atkinson’s tally at 10:12 of the third period brought the Silverbacks back from a 2-0 deficit.

Zulinick’s marker incorporated the end-to-end action that has typified the fourth and fifth games of this series. The Vipers had intense pressure on the power play and David Robinson nearly scored from five feet but Kris Moore got a piece of the puck that rolled just wide of the net.

Josh Manson retrieved it and fired up ice to Mike Hammond, who was lurking at centre ice instead of helping in his own zone. That pass set up a two-on-one break when Zulinick hustled to join the play. Hammond’s pass from the right boards found Zulinick in full stride and the 16-year-old sniped the top corner with a wicked wrist shot.

The goal renewed the Silverbacks’ hopes and they started the third period with fire in their eyes against a Viper squad that seemed content to defend their lead.

After the game was tied, the Silverbacks had a glorious chance to go ahead when Ryan Renz drew a high sticking call at 16:15. Brett Knowles had the winning goal on his stick but he was denied by Kirby Halcrow’s lunging stop.

Again, the Salmon Arm power play was stifled by the Vipers, who have now killed 13 straight power plays in the last three games, including three in this match.

The Viper power play got the home team off to a good start with a goal at 12:06 of the first period. After receiving a D to D pass from Adam Thompson, Ryan Renz sized up his options before sliding a pass to Darren Nowick, who cruised through the low slot. Nowick directed the pass through Moore’s skates for a 1-0 lead.

In an exciting seesaw second period, Dylan Walchuk doubled the Viper lead, batting a rebound of David Robinson’s shot past Moore.

Kris Moore played one of his better games of the series as he stopped 32 of 35 Viper shots. His best save came in the first period when Malcolm Lyles beat four defenders en route to the Salmon Arm goal. Moore stopped Lyles’s initial shot, but Lyles got the rebound and looked to have a certain goal. However, Moore got the paddle of his goal stick to deny the Viper spark plug.

About 30 seconds previously, Kirby Halcrow had strutted his stuff, as he robbed Devin Muller.

So, this game had a bit of everything, including end-to-end action and great goaltending. There’s very little to choose between the two teams, who resume the series in Salmon Arm on Friday.

A Viper victory would close out the series. A Silverback win would send the series to a seventh game in Vernon on Saturday. Stay tuned!

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