For anyone who could not attend or watch today’s Vipers game here are my thoughts and views from today’s game. You may agree or disagree but we all have our own view and opinion on any game we watch. This is my opinion and my thoughts on how I saw today’s game. I try to be unbiased and give a fare recap on both sides. Thanks for stopping by & visiting my blog.
I was at today's BCHL game as Vernon defeated Cowichan Valley 5-1 in front of 1,753 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Austin Smith
Cowichan Valley: Francis Marotte
1st Period: The Vipers got off to a quick start this afternoon. Winning the draw Vernon got the puck in deep, Josh Bryan's point shot just twenty five seconds into the game gave Francis Marotte a bit of trouble as the puck took a bit of a hop at the last second giving the Capitals goaltender a tough save to make and hold onto the puck. Cowichan Valley needed almost two minutes to record their first shot of the afternoon before the Vipers opened the scoring. Michael McNicholas behind the Caps net setup Liam Coughlin in front who beat Marotte at 4:06 giving Vernon the early 1-0 lead. McNicholas and Dexter Dancs would pick up the assists. Just over a minute later the Capitals would the games first powerplay (four minute). But it was the Vipers with the best chance, Michael Statchuk jumped up into the play leading a two on one, Statchuk's pass caught TJ Dumonceaux in the skates as Vernon couldnt capitalize. Halfway through the four minute powerplay Cowichan would take a penalty while on the man advantage killing the Caps powerplay as both teams played a little four on four action for the next two minutes. Just as both teams went back to playing five on five Demico Hannoun with a sweet pass through the slot setup Chase McMurphy for his first career BCHL goal and first goal as a Viper giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 9:38 Hannoun and Dexter Dancs with the helpers. Both clubs would go the next several few minutes without recording a shot on goal as the play was fairly even before the Caps would get their second chance with the man advantage. Another good penalty kill by the Vipers would kill off the penalty. The Vipers were outshooting the Capitals 7-3 at this point but Cowichan would come back with a few late hard working shifts, no real good scoring opportunities but the Caps carried a slight edge in play for a few shifts gained some momentum before getting on the board in the final minute. Brayden Gelsinger setup Taki Pantziris on the two on one beat Austin Smith low cutting the Vernon lead to within a goal at 19:20 Gelsinger with the lone assist on the goal. The Vipers had a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play. I thought the Vipers got off to a good start in a fairly balenced opening period with both teams looking fairly evenly matched. Vernon with the better scoring opportunies had better puck possession in a one goal game. Vernon outshot Cowichan Valley 9-7.
2nd Period: Cowichan come out hard to start the second period as Vernon looked flat and was back on their heels early. The Caps with some good pressure early couldnt muster much offence most of the afternoon. The Capitals with some jump early were outskating and outworking the Vipers early. After being outplayed the first four or five minutes Vernon would catch a break. Colton Sparrow won the draw deep in the Capitals zone back to Riley Guenther whos quick point shot was redirected along the way by Sparrow beat Francis Marotte at 4:59 giving the Vipers a 3-1 lead. Marotte had no chance on the goal as Guenther picked up the lone assist. A few minutes later Cowichan Valley would get their third powerplay of the game. Jarrett Brown's point shot was redirected at the side of the net by Dane Gibson who somehow missed the open cage as the puck went wide of the net. The Vipers lucky would excape after another good penalty kill, would kill off the penalty. Mitch Ball would go into the boards awkward and hard was very slow to get up and looked to have injured his shoulder going down to the Caps dressing room but would return to the game later. On the other side Liam Coughlin took a puck or stick to the mouth area and left the game for a few shifts going to the Vipers dressing room but would also return a few shifts later. Vernon seemed to gain some momentum after the penalty kill coming back with several hard working shifts down low in the Capitals zone. The Vipers with a flurry of chances in close couldnt capitalize. Dexter Dancs on a wrap around couldnt beat Caps starting goaltender Francis Marotte who made a big save down low keeping this a two goal game with just over six minutes remaining. Two minutes later the Caps come back with their best opportunity of the period. Jarrett Brown's point shot was stopped by Vipers starting goaltender Austin Smith with Jordan Topping standing in front. Smith stayed with the play stopping Topping on back to back shots down low before the Vipers would clear the zone. In the dying few seconds Chase McMurphy lead Vernon on an odd man rush tried feeding Michael McNicholas for the onetimer but missed the net. The Vipers with a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. I thought Cowichan Valley come out hard, getting some pressure early on the Vipers couldnt get the offence going before giving up a goal minutes later. The Caps outskated and outworked the Vipers early in the 2nd but the Vipers come back in the second half with a flurry of chances were the better team in the second half. Vernon outshot Cowichan Valley 10-9.
3rd Period: Just fourty seconds into the final frame Liam Coughlin setup Riley Guenther who skated in over the Caps blueline ripping a quick hard shot that beat Francis Marotte at 0:40 giving Vernon a 4-1 lead. Coughlin with the only helper. Cowichan would get an early powerplay to start the third. A relentless-hard working Viper penalty kill went to work. Colton Sparrow with two big block shots and Brendan Persley with another huge shot block showed the determination from the Viper penalty kill. Persley took the worst of the shot blocking was in lots of pain couldnt stand-was very slow struggling to get off the ice, was attended too by the Vernon trainers on the bench before going to the dressing room but would return later and finish the game. The Caps best opportunity on the powerplay came after Taki Pantziris walked in from the circle ripping a quick shot but was stopped by Smith who come out to challenge making the big save. The Vipers with a very strong-hard working penalty kill gave up just a single shot killing off the penalty. A few minutes later Mark Hamilton would leave the Vernon bench going to the dressing room but would return later. The Vipers looked sluggish and a little slow to start the third but after a big penalty kill slowly took over the edge in play. You could see what team was playing their third game in a row and who had the night off last night. The Vipers would get back to back powerplays, with a flurry of chances couldnt capitalize as Cowichan Valley would kill off both minors. Just after the second powerplay ended Logan Mick and Daniel Wanner dropped the gloves before Chase McMurphy would get his second of the afternoon after Michael Statchuk setup McMurphy in front who beat Marotte in close with traffic in front giving Vernon a 5-1 lead at 13:44 Statchuk with the lone assist on the play. On the next shift or two the Vipers on an odd man rush, Michael McNicholas setup Dexter Dancs who couldnt beat Marotte who come across for the nice save. Give the Caps credit they didnt back down and didnt quit as Cowichan come on hard late in the final few minutes firing anything and everything on Austin Smith. Kyle Horsman tried setting up Rylan Ball on a Caps two on one but couldnt finish as in the end Vernon would win it's second in a row moving into a first place tie with Merritt for top spot in the Interior Division. The Vipers scored early but looked a little sluggish in the opening few minutes before carrying most of the play the rest of the way. Cowichan Valley outshot Vernon 9-8.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Riley Guenther (1 goal) Played very well on the Vipers blueline.
Jared Wilson I thought played one of his best games as a Viper this afternoon. Wilson was very solid on the backend made a few nice defensive plays today.
The line of Liam Coughlin (1 goal & 1 assist), Michael McNicholas (1 assist) & Dexter Dancs (1 assist) was once again very effective this afternoon. This line has really come along and playing very well together recently. These three kids have alot of chemistry together and skill. I thought Coughlin had a real strong game down low for the Vipers as did Dancs. Both players were very good with and without the puck.
Demico Hannoun who returned to the Vipers lineup this weekend looked very dangerous with the puck today. Hannoun has some soft hands and very skilled. Played very well at both ends of the rink. I remember one play where he was on an odd man rush going one way, before hustling back the other way to break up a Caps scoring opportunity.
Colton Sparrow had a heck of a game today. Sparrow another kid who has really stepped up his game as of late and been one of the better Vipers the last four or five games. Sparrow played with alot of jump, hustled, blocked shots, was skating hard, working hard and going to the net.
Brendan Persley is one of the toughest Vipers for sure! This kid just never quits, battles and competes hard every shift and it showed again today. Persley dosnt score a ton of goals but does all the little things most fans dont notice each game. Persley played physical was a work horse today coming up with a huge shot block in the third was in alot of pain shook it off and stayed in the game.
Chase McMurphy (2 goals) Playing in just his fourth game as a Viper scored his first career BCHL goal. I really noticed his quickness today, was skating hard, had lots of jump, very quick on his feet, shows lots of hustle with quick soft hands.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
The Vipers with a very well-hard fought game have won two straight and now unbeaten in four games have moved into a first place tie with the Merritt Centennials. Vernon got off to a good start, jumping out to a 2-0 lead was huge. Getting off to a quick start and jumping on a Cowichan team that is playing there third game in a row was key. The Vipers last two home games they played well in the opening period but didnt put the visitors behind early and down a few goals. Today the Vipers put the Caps down two early and didnt really give them a chance to stay in the game. I thought both teams were fairly evenly matched in the opening period but the Vipers did get the better of the chances and had more puck possession. The Vipers with early goals in all three periods started and finished the game off strong. I thought Vernon was the better of the two teams overall, The Vipers with more skill, speed and depth had the better of the scoring opportunities. I thought all four of Vernon's lines played well, all chipping in, contributing, played hard. I thought the Vipers defence played well limiting Cowichan Valley's chances and the Vipers penalty kill was very strong tonight. Ive really liked the penalty kill this season, usally get a few shorthanded scoring chances as well as keep the other teams to a very low limited amount of shots. The Vipers now travel to Penticton Wednesday for a huge game vs the Vees. Former Vipers Kevin Kraus, Michael Roberts and Bryce Kakoske were at the game today.
Top Players: (Cowichan Valley)
Rylan Ball I thought played very well on Cowichan's blueline. Jumped up into the play a few occasions. Can skate, handle the puck well and move the puck from zone to zone well.
Brayden Gelsinger (1 assist) Was one of the Capitals more offensive minded players. Gelsinger can skate, good with the puck and can read the ice.
Dane Gibson played well up front for Cowichan Valley. Somehow missed an open net with the Caps on the powerplay. Tipped the point shot that just missed the open cage on a shot that should have went in.
Kyle Horsman played hard, physical and used his bigger body to try and intimidate the Vipers. Horsman was always involved in the play went to the net lots but wasnt rewarded.
Myles Powell also played well this afternoon. Powell the Caps leading scorer was one of Cowichan Valley's more offensive minded players had the puck lots but couldnt generate much offence.
Game Thoughts: (Cowichan Valley)
I thought Cowichan Valley played well for most of the game but falling down 2-0 early and going 0-4 with the man advantage didnt help. The Caps who have been struggling latley (Three wins in their last eleven games) have also been struggling on the road. I thought the Capitals even though they gave up the first two goals played fairly well in the opening frame but had troubles generating offence most of the afternoon. The Caps with very little scoring opportunities all game couldnt handle the Vipers speed and skill. Giving up the early goal in the 2nd period after having Vernon back on their heels was a killer. The Caps with some good pressure were all over the Vipers early, before giving up the third goal just five minutes into the period. All that hard work and not getting rewarded then giving up a goal really hurts and deflates your team. Cowichan worked hard but didnt get many offensive opportuities. In the third you could really notice who was playing their third game in a row and who had the night off last night. The Caps didnt quit but needed to generate and create some more scoring chances if they wanted to stay in todays game.
Mason Blacklock (Injured)
Danny Todosychuk (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
1st Star: Chase McMurphy (2 goals)
2nd Star: Riley Guenther (1 goal)
3rd Star: Liam Coughlin (1 goal & 1 assist)
For more on today's game visit the BCHL boxscore,
For more on today's game and the Cowichan Valley Capitals visit Dustin Forbe's Cowichan Valley Capitals blog,