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 BCHL game as Vernon defeated Trail 6-3 in front of 1,675 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Danny Todosychuk
Trail: Dustin Nikkel
Before tonight's game former Vipers captain Lennie Rampone awarded forward Dexter Dancs with the Vipers player of the month award for November.
1st Period: Mason Blacklock returned to the Vipers lineup after missing the last sixteen games with an injury and got the games first opportunity of the night just twenty one seconds into the game. Liam Coughlin setup Blacklock in front who was stopped by Dustin Nikkel. The Vipers come ready to play getting atleast two or three good looks from the point, getting some long shots from the backend with bodies in front were outshooting the Smokies 4-1 early. Trail come right back just a few minutes into the period. Scott Davidson on an odd man rush kept and fired but was stopped by Danny Todosychuk who gave up a big rebound with no Smoke Eater players around for the loose puck. Vernon didnt take long before opening the scoring after Mason Blacklock setup Vernon product Colton Sparrow in front who beat Dustin Nikkel fivehole giving the Vipers a 1-0 lead at 6:54 as the teddy bears hit the ice on Kiss FM teddy bear toss night. Blacklock and Liam Coughlin picked up the helpers as a minor delay in the game to help collect and pick up all the bears off the ice. Vernon carried the better of the play for most of the 1st. Demico Hannoun with a nice slick move went inside-outside went through two Trail defencemen couldnt beat Nikkel in close who just got a peice of it. The Vipers would get the games first powerplay just past the halfway mark and capitalize. Jared Wilson with a nice pass setup Demico Hannoun giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 12:10 Wilson and Michael McNicholas collected the assists. Less then two minutes later Dylan Mascarin with a wicked two handed slash on a Vernon player forced Josh Bryan to come across the ice taking Mascarin into the Trail bench as the Smokies door was open as everyone was no getting involved. Even both benches were trying to get their fare if shots in as players from both benches were exchanging words and sticks. Things could have got alot worse and out of hand but once everything was all settled Mascarin was tossed from the game and given five minutes for slashing. Demico Hannoun and Bryan Basilico were both given ten minute misconducts. Josh Bryan was given a two minute penalty. After two minutes of four on four the Vipers wound up with a five minute powerplay (three minutes remaining). But it was the Smoke Eaters who would get the best chance after Jared Wilson got tangled up with two Smokies Dylan Bowen stole the loose puck going in for the shorthanded breakaway but was stopped by Danny Todosychuk who made a big pad save with about three and a half minutes to go in the opening frame. While still on the powerplay Vernon would take a penalty as both teams would go back to four on four before the Vipers were left with a very shortened powerplay with just seconds remaining. Trail down two goals would get lucky and excape giving up no goals on the five minute major. The Smokies come on late in the final minute to minute and a half getting some good pressure before Scott Davidson with his second opportunity of the night was once again stopped by Todosychuk in the final minute. The Vipers were up 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. I thought Vernon carried most of the play, dominated the period scoring twice getting several good chances. The Smoke Eaters with very little puck possesion did get three good chances but couldnt capitalize. Vernon outshot Trail 10-6.
2nd Period: Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start as neither team could get much of anything going. The play was very scrambly on and off in the opening few minutes. Trail slowly started to come on as the Vipers got sloppy in their own end making several mistakes turning over the puck. Vernon quit skating and were standing still watching the Smoke Eaters skate-win the battle for the puck. Trail with good possesion and pressure deep in the Vipers zone couldnt generate much offence. The Smokies best opportunity came after some hard work down low, Trail setup Braden Pears who jumped up into the play but was stoned by Vipers starting goaltender Danny Todosychuk who made a big save at the side of the net. Trail would get their second powerplay of the night. With good puck control the Smokies had troubles getting the pucks to the net as Vernon was able to easily kill off the minor. The Smoke Eaters with a good attack in the first half just couldnt muster any offence outplayed Vernon in the first ten minutes before Jason Bird with a long stretch pass found Dexter Dancs who wheeled in and around his man went hard to the net put a nice move in close beat Smokies starting goaltender Dustin Nikkel on a highlight reel goal gave Vernon a 3-0 lead at 12:09 Bird and Michael Statchuk picked up the helpers. This goal seemed to turn the tables a little as the Vipers seemed to gain a little confidence and momentum back. Demico Hannoun with a highlight reel drive beat Nikkel in tight but hit the post. Later Logan Mick got inbehind the Trail defence for a parcial breakaway couldnt beat the former Salmon Arm Silverback goaltender in close. The Vipers with just three shots in the first eight or so minutes starting skating and getting back to their game in the second half coming on strong to finish the middle frame. Late in the period Trail would get their second powerplay of the period after Colton Sparrow would take a penalty and pick up a ten minute misconduct on the play but a strong penalty kill by Vernon would kill off the minor. Mason Blacklock with a great chance in close in the dying seconds was stopped by Dustin Nikkel with just four seconds to go. The Vipers with a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. Both teams struggled early before Trail got their game going and took it to Vernon early and often as the Vipers quit skating, got caught making several sloppy mistakes in their own end were outplayed the first half of the period but come back with a strong push in the second half scoring once, getting some good chances played much better in the final ten minutes. Vernon outshot Trail 11-9.
3rd Period: Just 2:20 into the final frame Tyler Povolofskie dropped the gloves with Sheldon Brett. Just over two minutes later Jason Bird with a nice play to avoid being checked made a smart heads up play to get out of his own end before setting up Dexter Dancs with a long stretch pass as Dancs with a nice move in close scored his second of the game giving Vernon a 4-0 lead at 4:27 Bird with the lone assist. Off the next faceoff Liam Coughlin setup Dexter Dancs at the side of the net for a great chance for the hat-trick but Dancs just missed the goal. But just thirty three seconds later Scott Davidson found the back of the net getting Trail on the board at 5:01 Sean Davies and Braden Pears collected the assists. Davidson's shot looked like a slow floater going through the air went up and over Danny Todosychuk. On the next shift the Smoke Eaters would get an early powerplay but once again couldnt capitalize with the man advantage. The Vipers played a much better third after a sloppy second carried the play for most of the period. Trail playing most of the period in their own end couldnt slow down the Viper attack as Vernon with several chances. Just past the midway mark Trail would get into penalty trouble and the Vipers would make the Smokies pay. Moving the puck around Riley Guenther setup Mason Blacklock down low who sniped a quick low snap shot that beat Dustin Nikkel giving Vernon a 5-1 lead at 11:44 Guenther and Josh Bryan with the helpers. Less then three minutes later Demico Hannoun setup Michael McNicholas on the powerplay giving Vernon a 6-1 lead and in full control of the game. Hannoun and Jason Bird picked up the assists. On the next shift Trail would get a late powerplay and capitalize. Nathan Browne's point shot was redirected by Travis Stephens in front cutting the lead to four. Browne and Jake Kauppila with the helpers. Just over a minute later Jake Kauppila was able to walk around the net and tuck one home past Todosychuk making it 6-3 Vernon at 17:28 on a defensive letdown by the Vipers. Jesse Knowler and Nathan Browne with the asissts. The Vipers figured the game was over as Vernon quit skating allowing the Smokies to walk all over them getting several shots as the Vipers were having troubles clearing the zone in the final few minutes. Dustin Nikkel took a puck to the mask and was shaken up on the play but stayed in the game. Late in the game Dexter Dancs dropped the gloves with Bryan Basilico as both players were tossed from the game. The Smoke Eaters would get a late powerplay in the final minute but the Vipers were able to kill off the penalty coming away with a 6-3 victory. Other then the final few minutes when the game was long but over Vernon dominated the play and was all over the Smokies as most of the play was deep in the Trail zone. The Vipers third and fourth lines seeing alot of icetime was firing anything and everything on Dustin Nikkel. Vernon outshot Trail 23-8. The Vipers lead the season series 4-0.
Top Players: (Vernon)
The line of Dexter Dancs (2 goals), Mason Blacklock (1 goal & 1 assist) & Liam Coughlin (1 assist) was very good tonight. This line was dangerous most of the night, creating and generating opportunities most of the night. Dancs who was named the Vipers player of the month for November prior to tonight's game scored twice and was in a scrap worked hard all night. Blacklock who returned to the Vipers lineup after being out with a long term injury didnt look out of place was involved in the play all game looked very good. Coughlin with one helper really sees the ice well, made several nice plays for goals or scoring chances. This kid when wanting too can really turn on the jets and move, very quick when he gets them wheels going.
The fourth line of Logan Mick, Tyler Povolofskie and Matty Saharchuk played very well this evening. TJ Dumonceaux was added into this line in the 3rd when the Vipers started juggling the lines around. This fourth line plays with alot of energy, plays physical and keeps the other team on their toes. Mick played a strong game getting a few good chances was going hard to the net most of the night.
Josh Bryan (1 assist) Played very well on the Vipers blueline.
Demico Hannoun (1 goal & 1 assist) Played a very strong game up front for Vernon. I really enjoy watching this kid play, hes a real treat to watch. The fellow in front of me said a few games ago Hannoun is the most skilled player Vernon has had here in the last twenty years. Hannoun with some highlight reel moves tonight could have had two or three goals.
Jason Bird (3 assists) Played a very strong game on the backend. Bird made atleast one maybe two mistakes before recovering coming back hard to make up for his mistakes made a nice defensive play at the other end. Two very nice long stretch passes for goals tonight as well. Was in the zone most of the night, when on his game is a very solid-steady d-man. Im still puzzled as to why Coquitlam released him last season.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
The Vipers got off to a quick start and looked very good early and often outplaying the Smokies for most of the first period were up 2-0. Vernon with several good chances in the first didnt start the second period as they would have liked. Sitting back, quit skating made several sloppy mistakes in their own end were lucky Trail didnt capitalize and get back into the hockey game. The Vipers seemed to get back to their game jumping out to a three goal lead looked much better in the second half. In the third it was all Vernon until the final few minutes. The Vipers with twenty three shots in the final frame outplayed and dominated the Smoke Eaters. Nice to see the powerplay clicking scoring three times. I also thought the Vipers penalty kill was very good as it has been most of the season. Nice to also see Brendan Persley and Mason Blacklock return to the lineup. This was a must win tonight, these are games that are hard to get up for but even worse if you dont come away with the two points. The Vipers have some key Interior Division opponents here in the next week and need to start to distance themselves from the rest of the teams below them in the standings. The Vipers are now unbeten in their last seven home games have a big Divisional game in Salmon Arm tomorrow night.
Top Players: (Trail)
Braden Pears (1 assist) Always seems to play hard for the Smokies played a strong game on the blueline tonight. A veteran kid is very steady on the backend game in and game out.
Scott Davidson (1 goal) Was by far the Smokies best player this evening. Davidson with atleast three scoring chances tonight got the Smokies on the board early to start the third. Played hard most of the night, didnt back down and used his body to get through and to the net.
Game Thoughts: (Trail)
The Smoke Eaters dropped their ninth straight game have just two wins in their last twenty one games. Trail coming off a hard fought 3-2 loss in Penticton didnt get off to the start they wanted. Going down by two on the road having to battle back vs one of the top teams is tough especially when you only have seven wins on the season. I thought Trail was outplayed and outskilled in periods one and three did finally get going in the 2nd but couldnt get any offence going. The Smokies with very little puck possesion all night struggled with the man advantage as specialty teams went to the Vipers. Sure the Smokies were down 2-0 in the 1st but Trail did have atleast three good opportunities to get on the board or even get back into the game. A goal here or a goal there and its a different game. The Smoke Eaters struggled to get pucks on goal and struggled offensively had troubles containing the Vipers speed and skill most of the night. I thought Trail gave Vernon a much better run two weekends ago when they also lost 6-3 to the Vipers. This was a different hockey club I saw tonight compared to that afternoon game here two Sundays ago.
Mark Hamilton (Injured)
Ryan Renz (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
1st Star: Dexter Dancs (2 goals)
2nd Star: Mason Blacklock (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Jason Bird (3 assists)
For more on tonight's game visit the BCHL boxscore,
For more on tonight's game and the Trail Smoke Eaters visit Josh Hoffman's Smoke Eaters blog,