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-Warriors game as Vernon defeated West Kelowna 3-1 in front of 2,277 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Austin Smith
West Kelowna: Andy Desautels
1st Period: The Vipers would get the games first good opportunity coming just a minute into the opening frame after Colton Sparrow setup Liam Coughlin in front who just missed the net on a close chance from the slot. Vernon would get the games first powerplay, just 2:37 into the contest and get a great chance after Liam Coughlin again in front was stopped by Andy Desautels who made the big right pad save. West Kelowna with a good penalty kill would kill off the remainder of the penalty. Both teams looked a little tenative in the opening few minutes trying to feel one another out, making sure not to make the games first mistake. The Vipers would get another great scoring opportunity eight minutes into the game after Michael McNicholas stole the puck off a Warriors turn over at the West Kelowna blueline, going in for a breakaway was stopped by Desautels who made a huge right pad save on a nice move in close by McNicholas. The Warriors come right back two minutes later with their first scoring chance of the night. Taki Pantziris with a nice long feed setup David Pope coming down the left wing was stopped by Austin Smith who made a big blocker save before making a tough save on the same shift with bodies in and around the net. A few minutes later West Kelowna would get their first powerplay of the night and come very close to opening the scoring after Taki Pantziris point shot was redirected on its way to the net just missed the open cage as Vernon got a bit of a break on that play before TJ Dumonceaux won the race for the loose puck going in shorthanded for the breakaway was stoned by Desautels who stood his ground keeping this game scoreless. West Kelowna with some good puck control was unable to generate much offence as Vernon would kill off the minor. Both teams were evenly matched in the first half before the Vipers took over the edge in play in the second half getting some great chances. Andy Desautels had to be sharp making several big saves keeping his club in the hockey game. Desautels made a big save off Michael McNicholas late in the period. The Vipers with a ton of pressure late, Demico Hannoun was stopped in front with thirty seconds remaining before Desautels made a huge save off Michael McNicholas in the slot in the dying seconds. It was 0-0 after 20 minutes of play. Both teams were evenly matched in the first half, the Vipers couldnt capitalize with two breakaways took over the edge in play in the second half couldnt beat Warriors starting goaltender Andy Desautels who was very solid. Brendan Persley with a very physical period laying out atleast two or three big checks. Vernon outshot West Kelowna 12-10.
2nd Period: Both teams very evenly matched went back and fourth with very little scoring chances before Demico Hannoun with a nice move in close couldnt finish after being stopped by Andy Desautels five minutes into the second frame. Hannoun would get revenge less then five minutes later after once again putting on a clinic with a nice toe drag down low, going around one West Kelowna defender before going upstairs on Desautels giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 9:39 Michael McNicholas and Jared Wilson with the helpers. The Warriors come close on a few plays in and around the net couldnt seem to buy a break after a pass or a scoring opportunity just missed the net. West Kelowna with their best chance of the period come just past the midway mark after Warriors leading scorer Jason Cotton alone in the slot was stopped by Vipers starting goaltender Austin Smith who just got a peice of it with his glove making a huge save. Smith then made a quick glove save off Seb Lloyd from the high slot with four minutes remaining. Very little scoring chances in the period in a tight checking game at both ends of the rink as both teams were even all the way. The Vipers with a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. Again very little scoring opportunities at both ends of the rink, Demico Hannoun's lone goal was the only goal of the game. West Kelowna outshot Vernon 13-8.
3rd Period: Just a minute into the final frame Demico Hannoun setup former Penticton Vees formward Dexter Dancs in front who just missed the far corner on a close play in the opening minute. Just over a minute later Vernon would get just their second powerplay of the game and capitalize. Jared Wilson with a seeing eye pass hit Mason Blacklock in the skates as the puck went off Blacklocks skates and into the cage giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 3:31 Wilson with the assist. A few shifts later the Vipers with a great opportunity after some nice three way passing setup Demico Hannoun who couldnt beat Desautels from the slot. Just a few minutes later the Warriors would get just their second powerplay of the game, moving the puck around Austin Smith with a few nice saves and Vernon was able to kill off the minor. Around the halfway mark Dexter Dancs and Michael McNicholas with back to back chances were stopped by the quick glove of Andy Desautels who made back to back glove saves keeping this a two goal game. Just past the midway mark David Pope with a great chance to get the Warriors on the board couldnt beat the quick glove hand of Austin Smith who flashed the leather. Smith had to be sharp as West Kelowna was coming on strong in the second half as the Warriors had the Vipers back on their heels for most of the final ten minutes. Smith was forced to make several key saves keeping the Vipers in the game in the third. West Kelowna would call a timeout and get Andy Desautels to the bench with 1:50 remaining. With good puck possesion the Warriors couldnt get pucks to the net before Demico Hannoun setup Michael McNicholas for the empty netter giving Vernon a 3-0 lead at 19:08 Hannoun and Dexter Dancs collected the helpers. This was the Vipers first shot on net in just over seven minutes. West Kelowna would get a late powerplay and ruin Austin Smith's bid for a second shutout this season after Jason Cotton down low at the side of the net snuck one through the pads of Smith getting the Warriors on the board at 19:39 Adam Plant with the lone assist. The Vipers would kill off the remainder of the clock coming away with the 3-1 victory. Vernon with a big goal on the man advantage early grabbed the all important two goal lead and then hung on for the win after West Kelowna with a strong finish couldnt beat Austin Smith who was very good. The Warriors outshot the Vipers 15-8.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Kenny Citron played a very strong game at both ends of the rink for the Vipers tonight. I thought Citron was one of Vernon's better defencemen tonight. Was very good defensively, making some smart plays through out the game.
Liam Coughlin played very well in the opening period and parts of the second period but didnt stand out nearly as much in the third. Coughlin with a few good scoring opportunities in the opening period sees and reads the ice well and can turn on the wheels when wanting too.
Jared Wilson (2 assists) Played a very strong game on the Vipers blueline collecting two assists. I really liked Wilson's game in Salmon Arm Saturday and again tonight. Wilson looked calm and confident tonight playing very well.
Tyler Povolofskie played with alot of jump and energy tonight, was really hustling all night. Was skating hard, working hard all game.
The line of Michael McNicholas (1 goal & 1 assist), Dexter Dancs (1 assist) & Demico Hannoun (1 goal & 1 assist) was very strong collecting five points. McNicholas with several good chances couldnt buy a goal before scoring the empty netter was very good at both ends of the rink. Dancs was very good along the wall and hard to knock off the puck, made some nice plays to setup both McNicholas and Hannoun through out tonight's game. Hannoun with yet another strong game, this kid has some soft hands and makes his defenders look silly at times. Scored a highlight reel goal to open the scoring. Nice touch at the end of the game to setup McNicholas for the empty netter instead of scoring the goal himself.
Brendan Persley played a very physical game, was another player who brought lots of jump and energy to the game tonight. A real workhorse who never stops competing.
Austin Smith (37 saves) Rumors have been going around for several months now saying the Vipers still need a #1 goaltender. Well Austin Smith proved his cridicts wrong tonight making several key saves in the final period keeping the Vipers in the game. Smith was just twenty one seconds away from his second shutout of the season was very solid between the pipes tonight.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
I thought the Vipers played very well tonight in a big divisional matchup with West Kelowna. The Vipers snapping the Warriors three game winning streak get back into the win column with their 20th win of the season are now five points back of Division leading and League leading Penticton. Vernon with several great chances in the 1st could have easily been up by two or three if not four goals couldnt solve Andy Desautels who kept the Warriors in the contest. In a very close 2nd period with very little scoring opportunities the Vipers would get the games first goal wich was key and held on for the victory. A huge goal to start the third scoring with the man advantage grabbed a two goal lead before holding on for the 3-1 win. Both teams were evenly matched well for most of the game, I thought the Vipers were much more physical, had the better scoring chances in the first period but were back on their heels in the third being outplayed for most of the 3rd. Austin Smith was very good, keeping the Vipers in the game in the final frame. Both goaltenders played very well in a game where there were alot of scouts and former Vipers. Robbie Short, Kevin Kraus, Mark Ferner & Bryce Kakoske. Captain Ryan Renz returned to the lineup after being out with a shoulder injury for sometime now. Nice size crowd for a mid week game. Vernon will finish out 2013 with a tough matchup vs Powell River Saturday.
Top Players: (West Kelowna)
Taki Pantziris played a strong game on the Warriors blueline. One of West Kelowna's better d-men was very good at both ends of the rink. Was very hard to get through, made several nice breakout passes as well as made several smart defensive plays shutting down some Vipers. Really sees and reads the ice well.
The line of Seb Lloyd, Jason Cotton (1 goal) & David Pope was West Kelowna's most dangerous players tonight. All three were very good and created and generated much of the Warriors offence. Pope who can really skate and use his soft hands with several chances played very well up front. Cotton another kid who can skate, find the open lanes and seems to know where the puck is at all times was very good.
Andy Desautels (25 saves) Made several big saves in the opening period keeping this a scoreless game. Desautels with atleast four or five big saves was very solid between the pipes for West Kelowna. Stopped two breakaways in the first, made two or three big saves in the final minute of the opening period was strong through out tonight's game. A bigger kid with a quick glove is always tough to beat and plays well vs Vernon this season.
Game Thoughts: (West Kelowna)
I thought the Warriors played well were outchanced after two periods of play didnt generate alot of offence in the first two periods, pushed back in the third with a strong period getting lots of good looks at Austin Smith and the Vernon goal but couldnt find the back of the net. The Warriors didnt play very physical didnt have that in your face style of hockey tonight like in previous games. I thought they really missed former Warrior Ambrose Firkus who played very well against Vernon, getting under the skin of several Viper players. Not alot of penalties in tonight's game didnt have many if any scrums after the whistle like most Vernon-West Kelowna games. The lack of intensity lacked through out the game at times. Rylan Ferster who is usally pretty vocal behind the Warriors bench was even pretty calm and cool tonight. The Warriors with just one win in their last thirteen games in Vernon. Whats up with the Warriors new third set jerseys? They are going with the Minnesota Wild third set style jersey but the Warriors have no green in their regular home and away jerseys? So whats with the green jerseys?
Mark Hamilton (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
1st Star: Austin Smith (37 saves)
2nd Star: Demico Hannoun (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Jared Wilson (2 assists)
For more on tonight's game visit the BCHL boxscore,
For more on tonight's game and the West Kelowna Warriors visit Jon Zacks Warriors blog,