Friday, March 11, 2011

Warriors Stifle Snakes In Game 2:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Warriors stifle Snakes in Game 2

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star

Published: March 11, 2011

In the world of boxing, they say styles make match-ups. The Vernon Vipers are finding the same rules apply to the B.C. Hockey League playoffs.

The Snakes imposed their blinding speed and relentless puck pursuit to stun the Westside Warriors 3-2 in Game 1 of the Interior Conference semifinal Tuesday night.

The visiting Warriors went on the counterattack a night later in Game 2, using grit, size and some timely scoring to grind out a 5-2 decision before an audibly-challenged 1,369 fans.

If it wasn’t for a boisterous bus load of vuvuzela-toting Westside supporters, Wesbild would have been devoid of any real playoff buzz, other than when fans called out referee Brandon Liefke for missing several calls and blowing his whistle a fraction early on some goal-mouth scrambles.

To add insult to injury, the visiting fans claimed both 50-50 draws.

The Vipers got a bad omen on the very first shift as forward Dane Muench, who had one of his most complete games as a Viper in Game 1, left with what is likely a season-ending shoulder injury. He was run into the boards by Max French, who had just returned from a two-game suspension for a blow to the head in Westside’s first-round series against the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Forward Tyler Krause led the Warrior offence in Game 2 with a two-goal showing, opening the scoring with a rebound goal on an odd-man rush.

Krause, one of eight Kelowna-area products on Westside’s roster, sealed the game with an empty-netter in the final minute.

“We were sitting back on our heels in Game 1, but we came out with a lot more jump (in Game 2). We got outplayed at the start and just battled back and were patient,” said Krause.

“Vernon is one of the toughest barns in the league to come in and steal a win. It’s big as we take the series back to our own rink.”

Games 3 and 4 go tonight and Saturday night respectively at Royal LePage Place. The series returns to Wesbild for Game 5 Monday.

The Vipers replied at 14:01 of the first period, shortly after they killed off a minor to Pat McGillis. Bryce Kakoske worked the puck to Dylan Walchuk on the point where he used McGillis as a screen to rip a shot past netminder Kevin Boyle’s glove.

After Vernon took its third straight penalty in the first period, Westside captalized on the man advantage as Quinn Gould deflected Tyler Brickler’s shot past Blake Voth at 16:03.

The Warriors struck again 33 seconds into the second frame when captain Alex Grieve snuck a weak shot past Voth on a broken play in front of Vernon’s net.

Said Westside head coach Darren Yopyk: “This team doesn’t give up a lot of chances and we have to take advantage of the chances we did get and I thought we did that.”

Viper head coach Mark Ferner pulled Voth, who allowed three goals on eight shots, in favour of Kirby Halcrow, who made 15 saves in relief.

At the other end, the Vipers generated plenty of quality chances but struggled to solve Boyle (38 saves).

Said Walchuk: “We got shots on net, we did the right things, we just didn’t get those little bounces to get those goals.

“They’re a frustrating team to play against. We got away from our game a little at times, but overall I think we battled hard and tried to overcome that chippy game that they’re trying to play us on.”

The Vipers pulled within one on a powerplay five minutes into the second period after Malcolm Lyles hobbled Tyler French with a wrist shot from the point, and then walked in to capitalize on a give-and-go with David Robinson.

With Vernon shorthanded to start the third period, Lyles was stripped of the puck as he tried to carry it over his own blueline. On the ensuing turnover, the Warriors worked the puck to Brickler, who snapped a shot from 20 feet out past a screened Halcrow at 59 seconds.

“Of all things, we tried to do too much on the penalty kill. Simple is better,” said Ferner, a slight grin on his face.

“Disappointed in the result, no question, but pretty happy with our efforts for the most part.

“If anyone thought we were going to run through the playoffs without losing a game or facing adversity, they’d be crazy. There’s too many good hockey teams.”

On Monday night before 1,550 fans, Vernon showed no signs of rust from a first-round bye, outshooting Westside 14-5 in a scoreless first period.

Goals by Marcus Basara and Muench (powerplay) had the Vipers up 2-0 after 40 minutes, and Colton Sparrow (second star) went top shelf on Boyle early in the third to give his team a three-goal cushion.

Said Yopyk: “They came at us hard in the first two periods and we didn’t have an answer for their speed.”

Krause and Matthew Maher scored later in the third to spark a Westside comeback, but Voth (18 saves) was steady the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, netminder Kris Moore turned in a 40-save, first-star performance as the Salmon Arm SilverBacks jumped to a 2-0 series lead with a 3-2 win over the host Penticton Vees Wednesday night at South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Vees fired a pair of powerplay goals to lead 2-1 after 40 minutes, but rookie Bryce Gervais equalized with a third-period penalty shot and David Killip provided with winner midway through the frame.

SNAKE BITES: F John Knisley missed Games 1 and 2 with strep throat. He is expected to play tonight...F Zach McPhee and D Philip Patenaude were healthy scratches for the Vipers in both games...F Tanner Cochrane, a Kamloops product who had 25-31-56 with the KIJHL Golden Rockets, is up with the Vipers...Evan Richardson scored at 4:47 of the second OT as the Victoria Grizzlies clipped the Powell River Kings 4-3 Wednesday night, tying that series 1-1. Richardson, of Nanaimo, was a first-round WHL Bantam draft pick of the Swift Current Broncos in 2009...Surrey Eagles stuffed the Langley Chiefs 6-1 Tuesday night to tie their series at 1-1...Viper grad Mike Ullrich earned Male Athlete of the Week with the SAIT Trojans in Calgary. The third-year F had 1+2 as SAIT eliminated Concordia Thunder of Edmonton 6-3 in ACAC semifinal play.

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