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 Trail 6-3 in front of 1,325 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Austin Smith
Trail: Adam Todd
1st Period: The Smoke Eaters would get an early powerplay just thirty nine seconds into today's game. The Vipers with a good penalty kill gave up two late shots on the penalty kill before killing off the minor. Just after the powerplay expired Bryan Basilico with a wicked shot from the left circle just missed the far corner on a Trail odd man rush. The Vipers would open the scoring early after Josh Bryan carried the play into the zone, setup Logan Mick who was stopped by Adam Todd before TJ Dumonceaux jumped on the rebound giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 4:08 Mick and Josh Bryan collected the assists. The play was fairly even both ways as Braden Pears jumped into the play, but was stopped by Austin Smith from in close. Demico Hannoun with a nice move setup Chase McMurphy on a two on one but McMurphy missed the net. Under two minutes later Vernon would grab a two goal lead after Riley Guenther's shot from the circle beat Todd at 7:13 Michael McNicholas and Dexter Dancs with the helpers. But just two minutes later Trail would cut the lead to within one after a faceoff win in the Vernon zone Riley Brandt setup Joel Webb who's lazer from the point beat Smith at 9:46 Brandt and Greyson Reitmeier with the assists. The Vipers would get their first powerplay of the afternoon about a minute and a half later and got several good chances. The man advantage struggled early before Vernon was able to settle things down, with some good puck movement the Vipers worked the puck around down low created and generated some good opportunities. Liam Coughlin setup Michael Statchuk in front who was stopped by Adam Todd before Coughlin with a quick shot from at the side of the net beat Todd but hit the post. Todd was sharp on the penalty kill making a few good saves as the Smokies would get some good goaltending and kill off the penalty. The Vipers outshooting the Smoke Eaters 11-5 at this point went a few minutes without a shot as Trail stepped up their play coming on strong in the final four or five minutes. The Smoke Eaters with some good pressure late carried the edge in play. The Vipers with a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play. I thought for most of the period both teams were fairly even but Vernon did get the better of the scoring chances. Trail come on late with a good attack but couldnt muster any real good opportunities. The Vipers outshot the Smoke Eaters 11-9.
2nd Period: The Vipers got off to a slow start, as Trail come on strong early. The Smokies with lots of jump were all over Vernon before taking an early penalty giving the Vipers their second man advantage of the game. A good penalty kill by Trail as Vernon didnt generate much with the powerplay. A bit of a slow start to the second period with not alot of flow and several stopages in play. The Vipers having troubles getting out of their own end, didnt have much jump in their game in the second period were getting beat to the puck and losing alot of the races. The Smokies come very close to tying the game after Vipers starting goaltender Austin Smith covered a loose puck before a rush of bodies stormed the crease. Smith who didnt have the puck fully covered got lucky as the Vipers were able to clear the puck from the crease and get out of trouble. Vernon didnt have their legs going had troubles with the Smokies strong forecheck. A very tight checking hockey game with very little scoring chances at either ends of the rink. Any chance Vernon did create or generate an opportunity Trail did a great job at getting their sticks in the way, breaking up any Viper passing plays. A little four on four action at the halfway mark before the Vipers with a short powerplay had just one chance. Josh Bryan's point shot was stopped by the glove of Smokies starting goaltender Adam Todd in the dying seconds of the man advantage. Late in the period Travis Stephens with a nice inside outside move tried splitting the Viper defence was hauled down giving Trail a powerplay. The Vipers would get into some penalty trouble giving the Smoke Eaters a two man advantage but with a good penalty kill and Smith on top of his crease Vernon was able to excape and kill off both minors. No scoring in the 2nd period with Vernon holding a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers looked flat to start the period and didnt seem to get their legs going, playing with very little energy. Trail on the other hand was really skating, had lots of jump in their game and did a great job at tying up the Vipers, giving them very little room to create or generate chances. The Smokies carried the better of the play and were the better team in the period. Shots were even 9-9.
3rd Period: Chase McMurphy setup Demico Hannoun on a Viper two on one off the opening faceoff but Hannoun missed the net. On the same shift Riley Guenther and Riley Brandt dropped the mits in the only scrap of the game. But just six seconds later Trail would tie the game coming back down two goals after Colby Livingstone beat Austin Smith off the rebound in close at 0:42 Joel Webb & Jake Lucchini with the helpers. For the second straight period the Vipers looked flat, wernt moving their legs and didnt have alot of energy early. Vernon would get an early powerplay and capitalize after Michael McNicholas with his second assist of the day setup Jason Bird for the onetimer who beat Adam Todd giving Vernon the lead again at 5:52 McNicholas and TJ Dumonceaux with the assists. This goal seemed to give the Vipers a little lift as less then a minute later Josh Bryan with some patience carried the play in across the Smokies blueline before going in on goal beat Todd gloveside at 6:41 giving Vernon their second two goal lead of the game. Todd got a peice of the puck with his glove but couldnt hold on, on a goal I think he would like to have back. Bryan's goal was unassisted. Two quick goals by the Vipers less then a minute apart and Vernon seemed to step up their play, getting their legs going again and picking up the physical play. Colton Sparrow, Tyler Povolofskie, Logan Mick and Michael Statchuk all through out some big checks as the Vipers slowly started to get going. The game also got a little chippy with several scrums after the whistle, with lots of pushing and shoving going on as both teams were starting to mix it up a bit. Trail would get a powerplay around the midway mark but with a good penalty kill by Vernon the Smokies couldnt capitalize with the man advantage. Just as the powerplay expired Braden Pears with a nice end to end rush carried the play deep into the Viper zone, was stopped by Austin Smith before Greyson Reitmeier jumped on the rebound beating Smith low cutting the Viper lead to 4-3 at 13:25 Pears & Dylan Bowen picked up the assists. This game wasnt over just yet as the Smokies wernt giving up. This goal gave Trail a little jump as back come the Smoke Eaters with a good push coming back with some good pressure. A very entertaining final period made for a great finish. The Smokies come very close to tying the game after Colby Livingstone's shot from the circle beat Smith but hit the crossbar with just less then five minutes to go. Less then two minutes later the Vipers with a hard working shift down low, moved the puck around as Riley Guenther setup Dexter Dancs in front who beat Todd giving Vernon a 5-3 lead. Guenther and Michael McNicholas picked up the assists. Trail didnt quit and come back with a hard push late. Firing everything towards the net Austin Smith had to be sharp making several saves before the Smokies got Adam Todd to the bench for the extra attacker. Jake Lucchini with a great chance in the final minute was stopped by Smith who made a huge save, back come the Vipers Dexter Dancs setup Chase McMurphy who hit the empty cage giving the Vipers a three goal lead at 19:17 Dancs with the lone helper. With 4.4 seconds remaining tempers heated up as another scrum formed behind the Vernon goal with pushing and shoving. The Vipers would come away with a much needed win and two points with a 6-3 victory climbing back into 1st place in the Interior Division. I thought the Vipers looked flat for a second straight period seemed to get back on track with two quick goals less then a minute apart. Trail didnt back down made it close late and come very close to tying the game hitting the crossbar in a exciting third. Vernon outshot Trail 14-9.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Josh Bryan (1 goal & 1 assist) Played very well on the Vipers blueline. Bryan was good at both ends of the rink, jumped up into the play on several occasions today.
Michael Statchuk played very well this afternoon. Played with alot of jump in his game, was very physical, expecially in the third laying out several big checks. Statchuk has really come along ways since the start of the season and playing a good roll on this hockey club.
Riley Guenther (1 goal & 1 assist) Played well on the backend. Got into an early fight to start the 3rd scored a nice goal and made some nice plays today to contribute on the scoresheet.
Tyler Povolofskie I thought played another strong game for Vernon. Was banging and crashing playing hard.
TJ Dumonceaux (1 assist) Added some spark and energy to the Vipers lineup. Was really skating and buzzing in and around the net.
Logan Mick also was banging and crashing, playing hard today. Really skating hard, going to the net, getting involved in the play.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
The Vipers got a bit of a scare this afternoon and hung on for a 6-3 victory climbing back into top spot in the Division. Vernon has won two straight and now unbeaten in their last four games, also have points in eleven of their last twelve games. I didnt think the Vipers played their best game were lucky at times to come away with the win. I thought the Vipers looked good and played very well in the opening period, getting out to a 2-0 lead maybe they thought they had this one in the bag. Vernon wasnt the same team in the 2nd and 3rd periods looked flat, didnt have alot of jump in their game and didnt have their legs going. Give the Vipers some credit, they didnt quit and seemed to play a little better in the 3rd after scoring two quick goals less then a minute apart. I thought Vernon started skating, playing physical and got their game going after these two quick goals. Demico Hannoun saw limited icetime in the third. The Vipers now begin a three game roadt trip next weekend.
Top Players: (Trail)
Joel Webb (1 goal & 1 assist) Played a steady game for the Smokies on the backend.
Braden Pears (1 assist) Was also very good on the Trail blueline. A good skater, really moves the puck well, jumped up into the play on several occassions today. Really sees and reads the ice well.
Travis Stephens leads the team in scoring and you can see why. Stephens was by far the Smokies best offensive player. Always involved in the play, very good on his feet, nice hands, has an eye for the net. Always going hard to the net, looking for opportunities. Very shifty with the puck.
Greyson Reitmeier (1 goal & 1 assist) Also played well up front for Trail. Was involved in the play and always in and around the net.
Game Thoughts: (Trail)
Give the Trail Smoke Eaters full credit for giving the Vipers a good run for their money. The Smokies showed no signs of a last place club today giving Vernon all they could handle. Trail played very well this afternoon for a team playing their third game in as many days. Head Coach-GM Nick Deschenes has made a ton of trades since being named the Head Coach-GM trying to change the idenity of the team, well from the last time Trail was in town earlier this season this is a different Smokies hockey team. Trail battled back down two goals to tie the game come very close to tying the game with less then five minutes to go after Colby Livingstone hit the crossbar. The Smoke Eaters battled and competed all game, did a great job at tying up the Vipers, getting their sticks in the way to break up Vernon's passing, made it tough for the Vipers to generate alot of offence-get out of their own end at times, played a very tight checking game. Play very well positionally and arnt afraid of getting involved after the play. I think alot of fans and maybe even the Vipers thought this was going to be an easy win.
Mason Blacklock (Injured)
Brendan Persley (Injured)
Ryan Renz (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
1st Star: Riley Guenther (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: TJ Dumonceaux (1 assist)
3rd Star: Josh Brayn (1 goal & 1 assist)
For more on today's game visit the BCHL boxscore,
For more on today's game and the Trail Smoke Eaters visit Josh Hoffman's Smoke Eaters blog,