For anyone who could not attend or watch tonight’s Vipers game here are my thoughts and views from tonight’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 tonight’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 tonight's Vipers-Silverbacks game as Salmon Arm defeated Vernon 4-2 in front of 964 fans at the Shaw Centre.
Vernon: Austin Smith
Salmon Arm: Adam Clark
1st Period: The Vipers got off to another quick start, as this seems to be a bit of trend for the team this season. Just fifteen seconds into the opening period Mason Blacklock was alone in front but missed the net from the slot on a great chance to open the scoring. Vernon would get the games first powerplay just 3:10 into the period and capitalize. Josh Bryan setup Liam Coughlin in front who beat Adam Clark with a nice shot giving the Vipers an early 1-0 lead at 3:32 Bryan & Mason Blacklock with the assists. The Vipers with three powerplay goals last night and one again tonight seem to be improving with the man advantage. The Vipers with a good start were outshooting Salmon Arm 3-0 early as the Backs needed almost five minutes to record their first shot of the night. Salmon Arm would get their first powerplay just minutes after the Vipers powerplay goal but a good penalty kill by the Vipers would kill off the Silverbacks man advantage. Vernon carried a slight edge in play in the first half would get their second powerplay of the night just past the midway mark and get three great opportunities to grab a two goal lead. Liam Coughlin with two back to back chances in close was stopped by Adam Clark who made two back to back pad saves before Demico Hannoun with a highlight reel move down low went around his defender before beating Clark but hit the post as Vernon with some good chances couldnt capitalize. The Silverbacks come back in the second half with some better jump getting back into the game. Not alot of chances at both ends of the rink as the play went back and fourth was fairly even in the last ten minutes. Vernon Product Alex Gillies with a wicked low slapper from the high slot forced Austin Smith to kick out the left pad making a big save with three and a half minutes to go before making another big save off Salmon Arm leading scorer Landon Smith who come down the left wing getting a high snap shot off up high on Smith who was forced to make a tough shoulder save just a minute or so after the Gillies save as the Backs started to come on late with some good pressure. Late in the period the Vipers capitalized on a Silverbacks turnover coming in on a three on one. Michael McNicholas setup Demico Hannoun who beat Clark in close glove hand giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 18:30 McNicholas and Dexter Dancs collected the helpers. After the goal Dancs and Vernon product Alex Jewell got tangled up knocking the net over before pushing and shoving behind the Backs goal as both players were sent to the penalty box. The Vipers were up 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers got off to a quick start, scored early capitalizing on the games first powerplay. Vernon had a slight edge in play in the first half as both teams were fairly even in the second half. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 11-8.
2nd Period: The Silverbacks down 2-0 on home ice come out fired up to start the second period with a good charge. The Vipers back on their heels quit skating got caught hemmend in their own end early as Salmon Arm with a good strong forecheck was deep in and ontop of the Vipers working them down low before Vernon would take an early penalty just over a minute into the second frame giving the Silverbacks their second man advantage. Vipers starting goaltender Austin Smith went post to post to come across the crease robbing former Vernon Vipers forward Michael Roberts at the doorstep making a huge right pad save. The Vipers defence with a smart heads up play made the quick transition feeding Dexter Dancs who went in shorthanded one on one got around his man before almost catching Silverbacks starting goaltender Adam Clark to commit out of his goal Dancs went around Clark, around the net before coming very close to beating Clark on the wrap around but the Salmon Arm goaltender recovered to get back into his crease making a huge save shorthanded. Clark looked a little shaken up on the play but was fine and stayed in the game. Vernon with a good penalty kill would kill off the penalty. The Backs looked hungry and kept pushing with a good attack carrying the better of the play for atleast the first seven or eight minutes. The Vipers finally got their legs going and come back with a good push of their own as Jason Bird with a low shot through traffic forced Adam Clark to make a tough pad save with bodies in front. Vernon now the team with the momentum and edge in play started to buzz in and around the Salmon Arm net. Demico Hannoun setup Dexter Dancs going to the net couldnt hit the net firing just wide on a great chance from in close. Just before the midway mark Austin Smith got lucky after firing the loose puck up the middle hitting Alex Gillies who was able to knock the puck down, get a rebound and a quick shot on goal as Smith was able to recover making the blocker save. Just past the halfway mark Mitchell Ferguson was tossed from the contest after hitting Brendan Persley from behind. Persley was a little slow to get up but stayed in the game. Vernon struggled with the man advantage couldnt capitalize. This period saw both teams taking over in play as the momentum seemed to go back and fourth making for an entertaining period. Just as the penalty expired Salmon Arm would get a shot with the powerplay, Austin Smith made a big save off Landon Smith with traffic in front as Vernon was able to kill off the minor. The Backs started to pull away and come on strong to finish the period. Salmon Arm with a good push late had several chances were coming close before Landon Smith with a high shot from just outside the circle found the top corner through a crowd in front cutting the Viper lead to one at 16:59 as the teddy bears hit the ice on Salmon Arm's teddy bear toss night. Alex Gillies and Taylor Maruya with the helpers. The Silverbacks with a great start to the second ended the period with a strong finish were down 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. Salmon Arm come out ready to go come the start of the 2nd and took it too the Vipers early and often as the Backs outplayed Vernon for atleast the first seven to eight minutes before the Vipers come back carrying the edge in play for atleast five or so minutes. Both teams battled hard in a one goal game. Shots were even 13-13.
3rd Period: Just like the 2nd period Salmon Arm come out charging and again for the second straight period the Vipers were caught standing around and it cost them. Vernon not skating was forced into taking another early penalty to start the period. It didnt take long before Landon Smith beat Smith tying the game 2-2 at 3:57 Cole McCaskill and Taylor Maruya with the assists. Less then a minute later the Vipers would get an early powerplay and have a great opportunity to take the lead after Demico Hannoun setup Mason Blacklock at the side of the goal but Adam Clark went post to post come across the creast to rob Blacklock at the side of the net. The Vipers with good pressure couldnt get pucks to the net as the Silverbacks were either blocking shots or collapsing to the front of the net as nothing was getting through. Salmon Arm with a very good penalty kill would kill off the minor. Less then a minute later Salmon Arm would capitalize on some missed coverage by the Vipers and take the first lead of the night. Michael Roberts with a nive feed setup Jeff Kennedy on a parcial breakaway put a nice move around Austin Smith giving the Silverbacks a 3-2 lead at 7:04 Roberts & Alex Jewell with the assists. Jason Williamson was very upset really giving it to the third line that was on the ice. Chase McMurphy didnt see a shift after the Backs third goal and Kenny Citron didnt see a shift the entire period. This goal really looked to deject the Vipers as Vernon couldnt get much going in the first seven to eight minutes as the Backs controlled the play. Two good chances, two goals. The Vipers seemed to finally get their legs moving in the second half but once again couldnt get pucks through as the Backs defence was large in the third getting in the shooting lanes, blocking lots of shots and not allowing anything to get through to the front of the net. The Vipers having all kinds of trouble getting shots on net. And with time winding down the Vipers defence was starting to jump up into the play, looking for the tying goal wich resulted in two back to back two on ones for Salmon Arm forcing Austin Smith to make two big saves keeping his club in the game and then made another big save off a third odd man rush as time was a factor for the Vipers at this point. The Silverbacks would put the game away late after Salmon Arm product Bryden Marsh ripped a hard shot from the circle beat Smith top corner at 17:30 giving the Backs a 4-2 lead. Alex Jewell and Jeff Kennedy with the helpers. Vernon with some pressure late waited until the final minute to get Smith to the bench for the extra attacker and then called a timeout with just seventeen seconds remaining. In the dying seconds Dexter Dancs started chripping with Brendan Kennedy before getting Kennedy to drop the gloves. At the same time Jared Wilson was egging on several Salmon Arm players with just two seconds remaining. The referee would wind down the clock to end the game as Salmon Arm knocked off the Vipers 4-2. Again another slow start for the second straight period. Taking an early powerplay allowed the Backs to tie the game before shortly after not being able to capitalize with the man advantage let Salmon Arm take the first lead of the night. The Vipers just couldnt must much offence in the third, having troubles getting pucks to the net. Vernon with a late push couldnt hold off Salmon Arm in the end. The Silverbacks outshot Vernon 15-9. The Backs lead the season series 3-2.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Jared Wilson I thought played one of his better games as a Viper this season. Wilson was very good defensively looked good on the man advantage. Played very steady through out tonight's game.
The line of Demico Hannoun (1 goal), Dexter Dancs (1 assist) and Michael McNicholas (1 assist) played well and created-generated most of the Vipers offence tonight. Dencs worked really hard didnt get alot of chances but had his best shorthanded in the 2nd coming very close to giving Vernon a 3-0 lead. Hannoun is a treat to watch, every game I see this kid pull off moves that blow me away. Was very hard to knock off the puck tonight, made a few nice moves tonight.
Liam Coughlin started off very good but didnt finish as strong. Coughlin was very good in the first two periods.
Austin Smith (35 saves) Didnt have to make alot of big saves but made several key saves in the first two periods to keep the Vipers up by two. I dont think you can blame the goaltender on any of the four goals. Played well.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
Up until the third period this was a very good hockey game. & Im not just saying this because the Vipers had a 2-0 lead at one point. I thought the Vipers got off to quick start, played well for most of the first two periods but got off to a slow start in the third and couldnt recover giving up three third period goals. In both the 2nd and 3rd periods the Vipers got off to a slow start, took an early penalty in both periods and quit skating. Vernon didnt have their legs moving and were burned because of it. Salmon Arm come out with a strong charge to start the 2nd period and I dont think the Vipers were ready for it. Im not sure if they thought they had this one in the bag with a 2-0 lead but they took their foot off the gas. Vernon needed that third goal either when they were up by two or up 2-1 going into the 3rd and just couldnt find the back of the net. The Vipers were standing still, not skating to start the third and it cost them giving up two early goals. David Robinson said it on the post game show and hes right, the Vipers are a very good-hard to play against team when they play a full sixty minutes but that hasnt happened much this season. Blowing a two goal lead is very dissapointing especially to hear Penticton knocked off Cowichan Valley tonight 5-1 to grab a five point lead over the Vipers in the standings.
Top Players: (Salmon Arm)
Jeff Kennedy I didnt really notice much in the first and second periods but come to play in the 3rd. Played a very strong third period picking up a goal and an assist.
The line of Landon Smith (2 goals), Alex Gillies (1 assist) & Taylor Maruya (2 assists) was by far the Backs best unit going tonight. This line was very good-dangerous and hard to defend. Alex Gillies has played very well against his home team all season. Smith is very creative and dangerous with and without the puck. I also really like Taylor Maruya. Has also played very well against Vernon this season.
Alex Jewell (2 assists) Played very well against his hometown team. Was very good with and without the puck, a good skater.
Bryden Marsh (1 goal) Played very good for Salmon Arm. Was really skating hard all night, hard to defend against and good down low.
Adam Clark (28 saves) Didnt get off to the start he wanted, giving up two goals on just six Vernon shots. But seemed to settle down as the game went on and played very well between the pipes the remainder of the game.
Game Thoughts: (Salmon Arm)
I didnt think Salmon Arm got off to the start they wanted but give them credit they didnt quit. Ive said this several times already but they come out ready to roll in the 2nd and 3rd periods giving the Vipers a good run scoring four unanswered goals for the 4-2 victory. A strong 2nd and 3rd periods pushed the Backs for the win. Salmon Arm with lots of jump and energy in the 2nd and 3rd didnt quit, they battled hard, come with a strong forecheck, pushed the Vipers back on their heels a bit, winning the battles and races. Vernon looked tired in the 3rd as the Backs speed and skill took over on numerous occasions getting atleast three maybe four odd man rushes, really moving the puck well, keeping Vernon and their speed and skill away from the puck as much as possible. Give credit to the Backs for keeping the Vipers to the outside, collapsing down low making it hard for the Vipers to get anything towards the net. Salmon Arm also did a great job at getting in the shooting lanes, blocking alot of shots. The Silverbacks were also very good on the draw, winning alot of the faceoffs tonight. This was a big Divisional game and the Silverbacks seemed to want it more then the Vipers with a hard fought come from behind win.
Mark Hamilton (Injured)
Ryan Renz (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
1st Star: Landon Smith (2 goals)
2nd Star: Adam Clark (28 saves)
3rd Star: Dexter Dancs (1 assist)
For more on tonight's game visit the BCHL boxscore,