Friday, January 10, 2014

Penticton 2 Vernon 1

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-Vees game as Penticton defeated Vernon 2-1 in front of 1,913 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Danny Todosychuk
Penticton: Hunter Miska

Before tonight's game Vipers owner presented Vipers defenceman Jared Wilson as the Vernon Vipers player of the month for December.

1st Period: The Vees got off to a quick start, winning the draw Penticton got the puck in deep, with a strong forecheck the Vees went to work hard along the wall battling hard down low. The Vees with good pressure were in the Vipers zone for a good minute or two before the Vipers were able to get through the neutral zone. Both teams playing a very tight defensive game early allowing neither team much room as very little opportunities come about in the opening ten minutes of play. The Vipers with two shots from the point were the only shots of the game in the first four or five minutes as Penticton needed just over six minutes to record their first shot of the night. Vernon would get the early jump on things as the Vipers would be the first team to get things rolling. The Vipers slowly started getting their game going carrying the play and having the better of the play. Vernon didnt generate alot of chances but were getting pucks to the net, as Hunter Miska was having all kinds of trouble with his rebound control and catching glove. Miska was letting out big rebounds on almost every Vernon shot and was having troubles closing his hand on the puck with his catching glove. The Vipers were the more physical team early as the Vees were dropping to the ice almost everytime they were hit. Just before the midway mark Josh Bryan's wrist shot from the point was redirected by a Penticton player in front that just went wide of the goal on a close call for the Vees. The Vipers in control of the play in the first half were outshooting Penticton 7-3 at this point. The Vees would come right back just shortly after the halfway mark, veteran Cody DePourcq with a shot from in close at the side of the net was stopped by Danny Todosychuk before the Vees stormed the crease as Todosychuk had to be strong shutting the fivehole keeping the puck out on the Vees first opportunity of the night. This seemed to get the Vees going as Penticton slowly started to push back with a strong second half. The Vees slowly got their legs going and used their speed and quickness buzzing in and around the Vipers zone. Just like Vernon in the first half the Vees carried the edge in play but were limited to their scoring chances. The Vees who were outshot 7-3 in the first half climbed all the way back were outshot at this point 8-7. With a few minutes remaining Penticton captain Brad McClure with a wicked shot from the circle beat Todosychuk but hit the post as the Vees were very close to opening the scoring. Less then two minutes later the Vipers would take the first lead of the night after very little offence in the second half Hunter Miska made a big right pad save off the draw but couldnt hold onto the rebound. Liam Coughlin setup Mason Blacklock in the slot who hit the empty cage as Miska was down and out, giving Vernon the 1-0 lead at 18:27 Coughlin and Brendan Persley collected the helpers. The Vees come right back with a strong push to finish the period. Penticton with good pressure were pressing late. Defenceman Brett Beauvais rushed the puck up ice stepping over the Vernon blueline ripping a hard shot that was stopped by the quick glove of Danny Todosychuk with thirty three seconds left. Vernon would come back with a late flurry jamming the net near the buzzer but couldnt get anything through the bodies in and around the Vees goal. The Vipers with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. I thought the Vees got off to a strong start, had a good opening shift or two with some good pressure deep in the Vipers couldnt generate any offence before both teams played a very defensive game for the next few minutes. The Vipers would get going and played well in the first half carried the better of the play holding a bit of an edge in play didnt get alot of scoring opportunities before the Vees come back in the second half and carried the better of the play, with a few good chances. Vernon would open the scoring late after being outplayed in the second half. The Vipers outshot the Vees 12-11.

2nd Period: Off the opening faceoff Jack Ramsay with a hard low shot was stopped by Vernon goaltender Danny Todosychuk before former Cowichan Valley Capital Steen Cooper jumped on the rebound but couldnt beat Todosychuk who made a big save keeping this game at 1-0. Demico Hannoun with a breakaway about a minute into the period didnt get off a great shot was stopped by Miska. The Vees would get the games first powerplay, getting an early man advantage to start the middle frame. The Vees with the league's best powerplay had a few chances but the Vipers did fairly well killing off the penalty. Just ten seconds after the powerplay the Vipers would get their first shot with the man advantage but it was a hungry Vees penalty kill that would get the better of the chances. Matt Serratore and Riley Alfred would get a two on one, Serratore would keep and shoot was stopped by Todosychuk. The Vees wernt done there, Penticton would get a three on two opportunity but would miss the goal. The Vipers struggled as Penticton with the league's best penalty kill was very good getting two shorthanded chances before killing off the minor. Just after the penalty expired newly aquired Erik Benoit with an odd man rush would shoot getting stopped by Danny Todosychuk who just got a piece of the puck as it rolled out from under his arm rolling just wide of the far corner on a close call. A few minutes later Vees leading scorer Brad McClure walked around Ryan Renz going in for the breakaway shot high and over the goal on another missed opportunity. Penticton buzzing was all over the Vipers early and often. The Vipers may be big but the smaller Vees speed and quickness burned Vernon in the 2nd period as most of the play was in the Vernon end. The Vees outworked, outplayed and outhit the Vipers the entire period as Vernon was caught standing around getting skated circles around. The Vipers quit skating in the second period.  Penticton was winning all the battles, the races for the puck and simply outhustling the Vipers shift to shift. The Vipers were really mixing up their lines all night going with several different line combonations all game. Danny Todosychuk had to be sharp as the Vees looked to be on one very long powerplay. Todosychuk made several key saves keeping the Vipers in the contest. Vernon looked tired and out of gas the entire period as the Vees controlled the entire period. Max Coatta would collide with a Vernon player as he was falling to the ice and looked to take a knee or leg to the head on his way to the ice on a clean play. Coatta was very slow moving-trying to get up before laying on the ice with no motion as trainer Dan McDowell was out to help Coatta off the ice and to the Penticton dressing room where he did not return to the game. With six minutes remaining the Vees were pressing and would eventually tie the game at one after the puck looked to hit or go off a player or two in front before newly aquired Nic Pierog beat Todosychuk at 14:29 Brad McClure with the lone assist. Just sixty three seconds later the Vees would take their first lead of the night after a poor defensive play allowed former Moose Jaw Warriors forward Erik Benoit to beat Todosychuk on the wrap around giving the Vees a 2-1 lead at 15:32 Brett Beauvais and Steen Cooper picked up the assists. This was one of if not the worst period of hockey I have seen this season by Vernon as the Vipers showed very little intensity and emotion through out the second period. Vernon needed almost eight minutes to record a shot on goal had just two shots on net in the final twelve minutes of play. The Vipers with very little play in the Penticton zone would get a great chance late with two-three minutes remaining. Michael Statchuk with a nice move in the slot looked to have Hunter Miska beat dished off to another Vernon player (I didnt catch his #) somehow missed the open cage. At the buzzer Brendan Persley and Chris Rygus exchanged words before mixing it up in front of the Vees bench. This drew a bit of a crowd as players from both teams skated over before the little scrum was quickly broken up. Penticton outshot the Vipers 13-2 in the final twelve minutes of play were up 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. This period was ugly off the opening faceoff. The Vipers were outplayed, outworked, outskated, lost almost every draw, every battle for the puck, and were very poor defensively making a ton of defensive mistakes. Vernon gave up several odd man rushes were outshot 20-8.

3rd Period: Former West Kelowna Warriors forward Travis Blanleil with a great chance early to start the 3rd would get a breakaway but couldnt beat Todosychuk who made a nice save keeping this a one goal game. Penticton would get an early powerplay but it was the Vipers with a great chance shorthanded, Michael McNicholas with a parcial breakaway ripped a hard high shot from the circle went high and just missed the far corner. Vernon with a good penalty kill would keep this a one goal game killing off the penalty. The Vipers would finally get their game going after a hard working energy line seemed to generate and create a little spark. The Vipers with a flurry of chances in and around the Penticton goal couldnt get the tying goal. Hunter Miska who had troubles with his rebounds and glove hand played much better as the game went on, especially in the third made three or four quick glove saves off, Michael McNicholas, Demico Hannoun, Matty Saharchuk and Mason Blacklock. Vernon who didnt use the body much stepped up the physical play in the third. The Vees with just four shots in the first half went almost seven or eight minutes without a shot as Vernon carried the edge in play and was over the Penticton for most of the final frame. Give the Vees credit they played very well down low collapsing in and around the net not giving the Vipers any grade A scoring chances. Most of Vernon's shots-opportunities were from outside. Jack Ramsay took a hit along the side wall was favoring his one leg, was able to finish his shift and stay in the game. At the midway mark Demico Hannoun and Travis Blanleil exchanged a few shots as tempers heated up a little as both players headed to the penalty box. Late in the game Brad McClure with a great opportunity to give the Vees a much needed two goal lead was stopped by Danny Todosychuk before stopping Ben Dalpe on the rebound on one of Penticton's very few shots-scoring chances of the period. With time winding down Demico Hannoun would be stopped by the quick glove of Hunter Miska. Penticton would kill off almost a full minute late not allowing Vernon to get Todosychuk to the bench. The Vipers would eventually get the extra man out with just less then a minute to go. With good pressure deep the Vipers couldnt get pucks to the net as the Vees defence did a great job at keeping Vernon to the outside. With seconds remaining Michael McNicholas with a shot from the slot missed the net on a great opportunity as Penticton would hold onto the 2-1 lead for the victory as a crowd gathered deep in the Vees zone at the buzzer as some pushing and shoving occured before both teams were seperated. After being outplayed the entire 2nd period the Vipers come back with a much needed better effort in the third but couldnt get the game tying goal. The Vipers with some good chances didnt get alot of great opportunities played much better in the third outplayed the Vees carrying the play for most of the final twenty minutes. Penticton with a solid defensive third period fully deserved the win. Vernon outshot Penticton 11-4.

Top Players: (Vernon)

Michael McNicholas was the Vipers best and most consistant player tonight. The former Nanaimo Clipper had the better opportunities of any Vipers tonight did have troubles hitting the net. Generated several good chances played very well.

Matty Saharchuk really stepped up his game come the 3rd and played very well in the final twenty minutes. I thought Saharchuk was one of Vernon's better players in the third other then McNicholas. Played with alot of jump, had a ton of energy was going hard to the net, putting pucks on net and laying the body.

Danny Todosychuk (33 saves) Got the start tonight in wich I would have thought Austin Smith would have played. Smith who has recently played the majority of the games for the Vipers looked to have taken over the #1 job was the backup. Give Danny credit, he come into tonight's game hasnt played much latley played very well giving his team a chance to win and kept the Vipers in tonight's game especially in the 2nd period. Todosychuk with several big saves in the second was the difference in this game being 2-1 rather then 5 or 6-1.

Game Thoughts: (Vernon)

The Vipers played very well in October and November going 12-4-2-1 have struggled in December and now into early January going 6-4-0-0 In the last month the Vipers have had troubles putting teams away after a strong opening period as well as blowen several two goal leads in games where they ended up losing. My biggest concern is inconsistancy. The Vipers have really had troubles the last month playing a full sixty minutes and it showed again tonight. I thought Vernon played very well in the first half of the opening period played one of if not their worst period of the year (2nd period) before bouncing back with a solid 3rd period. The Vipers outplayed Penticton for most of the final frame worked hard, were physical and started skating again couldnt get the game tying goal on some good chances. But where was this effort and performance in the 2nd? A very dissapointing second period for sure.  The Vipers were just bad and need to be better with hosting the RBC Cup this year.  The Vipers need to play physical against a quick fast skating team like Penticton. Vernon who has a bigger club had troubles, especially in the 2nd slowing down the Vees. If Penticton is going to win, make them earn the two points. A bad 2nd period, giving up two goals in sixty three seconds cost the Vipers a win and two points, putting them now eight points back of Penticton and dropping them into 3rd place after a West Kelowna 7-2 win over Coquitlam tonight. A strong surge by the Warriors and some inconsistant play by the Vipers has pushed West Kelowna into second place in the Division. The Vipers are struggling now have just two wins in their last six games. Dylan Chanter and Brett Mulcahy made their Viper debuts tonight. Tonight was a huge test for the Vipers as well as a big game (trying to catch Penticton). Tonight's loss could be the Division as Penticton has a strong eight point lead and will be hard to catch late in the season. The Vipers need to rebound tomorrow night with a full sixty minute game vs a Coquitlam team they lost too earlier this season.

Top Players: (Penticton)

Brett Beauvais (1 assist) Played a very strong game on the Vees blueline. A bigger kid, can handle the puck, likes to jump up into the play, smooth skater gets involved in the rush-play played well at both ends of the rink. Very hard to beat on one one.

Steen Cooper played well up front for Penticton. This kid is quick, reads the ice well and really gets involved in the play. Made some smart plays tonight.

Ben Dalpe played well at times. I thought he was in and around the net at times getting some looks.

Cody Depourcq who plays very well against Vernon over the years made it difficult for the Vipers to slow him down. One of the smaller players can skate, hard to knock off the puck and is always in and around the net.

Erik Benoit (1 goal) Who was recently signed after being cut by the WHL Moose Jaw Warriors played very well. Good with the puck creating a few good chances, scored the game winner.

Chris Rygus played very well on the backend. A steady d-man keeps the game simple, dosnt get too carried away trying to make the big play. Eats alot of minutes and hard to play against.

Patrick Sexton also played very well defensively. A big kid is also hard to beat one on one, good down low and in his own end.

Nic Pierog who was recently aquired from the Surrey Eagles played very well scored the games tying goal on going to the net. A bigger kid can skate and handle the puck well. Really sees and reads the ice well. I thought was very good in the opening frame.

Hunter Miska (30 saves) Had troubles with his rebounds and glove hand early but rebounded well especially in the third. Didnt see much action at all in the 2nd period made several key saves (three or four glove saves) in the 3rd keeping his team in the game and giving them a chance to hold onto the 2-1 lead for the victory.

Brad McClure had a strong game for Penticton and is one of those players that seems to always be at his best vs Vernon.  The Vees captain was very good with and without the puck, hitting the post once, missing the net on a breakaway had several opportunities to score but couldnt find the back of the net.  The Vipers had a hard time defending against McClure most of the net.  Was dangerous with the puck.

Game Thoughts: (Penticton)

Tonight was a huge game for both teams. A win by the Vees and they grab a eight point lead over Vernon. A loss and the Vipers are within four points for the Division lead. I really liked the Vees tonight. Not the biggest team but they have speed and team quickness. This team can move the puck well, break out of their own end in a hurry as well as get back in a hurry with a strong defensive game. The Vees were very good with and without the puck for most of the night. A strong 2nd period as they dominated the entire period were all over Vernon. Penticton won the races, the battle along the boards, outplayed, outhit and outworked the Vipers outshooting them 20-8. Penticton could have put the game away in the 2nd period missing on several opportunities.  Give Penticton credit they capitalized on their chances and took advantage of some defensive breakdowns by the Vipers in the 2nd period scoring twice in just over a minute. The Vees played very well defensively keeping Vernon to the outside, collapsing down low and not giving the Vipers alot of grade A chances. The Vees looked hungry tonight and it showed.  The Vees are very good defensivly, collapse down low, move the puck well and get contribution from all four lines.  A very good hockey team.  The Vees did a great job at shutting down Dexter Dancs and Demico Hannoun.  Penticton has now won three straight over the Vipers and leads the season series 3-1. The Vees played hard and fully earned tonight's win.



Mark Hamilton (Injured)
Michael Povolofskie


Blake Butzow
Josh Blanchard

Energy player of the game:

Jared Wilson

Three Stars:

1st Star: Erik Benoit (1 goal)
2nd Star: Danny Todosychuk (33 saves)
3rd Star: Hunter Miska (30 saves)

For more on tonight's game visit the BCHL boxscore,

For more on the Penticton Vees and tonight's game visit Fraser Roger's Penticton Vees blog,

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