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 game as Vernon defeated Nanaimo 3-2 in front of 2,102 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Austin Smith
Nanaimo: Tanner Kovacs
Before the game started Kal Tire Place was having technical difficulties with the PA system, as no music was being played during warmup and through out the entire opening period. They would eventually get the mic going for the start of the game.
1st Period: The Clippers come very close to opening the scoring on the first play of the night. Nanaimo would get the puck deep into the Vernon zone before Austin Smith just about lost control of the puck outside of the crease as two Clippers were right in their going for the loose puck before the Vipers were able to clear the zone. The Vipers would come right back and get a great chance to open the scoring after Mason Blacklock with a wicked wrist shot just two minutes into the game from just inside the blueline beat Tanner Kovacs but went off the crossbar. A bit of a slow start to the game as both teams were playing pretty tight not giving one another much room out there. Both teams with very little scoring opportunities as Nanaimo held a slight edge in shots were out to a 4-1 lead. Devin Brosseau would get a parcial breakaway but it was the Vipers captain Ryan Renz who come up with a solid defensive play to breakup Brosseau's breakaway taking away a great scoring opportunity. Just before the halfway mark the Vipers with a hard working shift generated several flurries in and around the Clipper net with some hard work down low. On the next shift Vernon would get the games first powerplay just past the midway mark but it was the Clippers who would get a great chance shorthanded off the first draw. Anthony Sabitsky one on one riffled a quick low shot from the circle forcing Austin Smith to kick out the left leg making a big pad save. The Vipers with just a single shot on the man advantage couldnt capitalize as Nanaimo would kill off the penalty. Just less then two minutes later the Vipers would head back to the powerplay and capitalize. Mason Blacklock and Colton Sparrow worked hard down low before setting up a pinching Josh Brayn who jumped into the play to beat Kovacs shortside giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 15:17 Sparrow and Blacklock collected the helpers. But two minutes later the Clippers would get their first shot with the man advantage but a good penalty kill by Vernon would kill off the minor. The Vipers with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Not the most exciting period but for the most parts both teams were fairly evenly matched. Nanaimo outshot Vernon 10-8.
2nd Period: The Vipers would get a great chance to grab a two goal lead off the opening faceoff after Dexter Dancs outwaited Clippers starting goaltender Tanner Kovacs before sliding the puck just wide of the open cage on a great opportunity a minute and a half into the second period. The Clippers come right back after Brendan Taylor alone in the slot ripped a hard shot that was stopped by Smith with a quick blocker save. The Clippers would get two back to back early powerplays just a few minutes into the period getting several good looks but Vipers starting goaltender Austin Smith had to be sharp making several key saves as Vernon was able to excape and kill off both minors. Tyler Povolofskie and Brendan Persley would get a two on one, Povolofskie would shoot but miss the net on another chance for Vernon to go up by two. Just a few plays later Demico Hannoun setup Dexter Dancs in front who beat Kovacs giving the Vipers a 2-0 lead at 9:36 Hannoun and Michael McNicholas picked up the assists. On the next shift Hannoun with a nice dangle tried going in and around two Clipper players looked to have made one too many moves couldnt hold onto the puck otherwise Hannoun would have been in all alone. The Vipers with some good pressure were coming on would grab a three goal lead after Michael Statchuk with a beauty of a goal gave Vernon a 3-0 lead at 12:16 Ryan Renz and Liam Coughlin with the assists. Just a minute later with Nanaimo going on the powerplay several players from both sides got involved in a minor scrum with some pushing and shoving. As the game went on from here both teams started not to like one another as a few scrums-pushing and shoving occurred for the remainder of the night. The Clippers come very close with about three and a half minutes to go. A shot from the corner went through Vipers starting goaltender Austin Smith and the crease luckily for Vernon the puck didnt hit anybody on its way through the crease and go in. The Vipers would get a late powerplay that would continue into the third. Vernon was up 3-0 after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers with two goals went up by three and I thought had a slight edge in play even though being outshot in the middle frame. Nanaimo with two early powerplays to start the period couldnt beat Smith had some good chances. The Clippers outshot the Vipers 16-10.
3rd Period: The Vipers started the period with the man advantage that was carried over from the second period. In the opening minute Michael McNicholas with a nice dangle along the sidewall setup Jared Wilson at the side of the net who was robbed by Tanner Kovacs who come across the crease to make a huge save. Vernon with some good pressure couldnt convert with the powerplay. Jacob Hanlon setup Corey Renwick alone in the slot early redirected a shot that went high and over Smith into the netting on a great opportunity. Nanaimo would get an early powerplay that didnt last too long after the Clippers would take a four minute high sticking penalty as both teams played a little four on four before the Vipers would end up with a late powerplay. But it was the Clippers who seemed to have a little more jump and spark to start the third as Nanaimo with good pressure on Vernon would steal the puck before Clippers leading scorer Brendan Taylor with a nice move at the blueline beat Austin Smith with a low shot along the ice shorthanded getting Nanaimo on the board at 5:37 Korey Morgan and Josh McArdle with the helpers. The Clippers with a very good penalty kill kept Vernon outside the offensive zone for most of the powerplay before killing off the remainder of the four minute penalty. Just as the penalty expired the Vipers would head back to the powerplay but again couldnt capitalize as the Clippers with a good penalty kill would excape once again. Just after the penalty kill the Vipers would get into penalty trouble. On the man advantage Sheldon Rempal looked to have beat Smith from a sharp angle as the play continued. Once the play was stopped the referee said the goal didnt go in. The Vipers would give the Clippers a long five on three powerplay and Nanaimo would cut the Vernon lead to within a goal. Just as the first penalty expired Nick Gushue was allowed to walk into the slot was stopped by Austin Smith before Bo Brauer jumped on the rebound putting it home making it 3-2 at 11:31 Gushue with the assist. Nanaimo who pushed hard for the remainder of the third come on strong as the Vipers were back on their heels at times. Chase McMurphy had a great chance late to give Vernon a two goal lead but somehow missed the open cage hit the side of the net. Both teams with a few chances late made for an exciting finish. The Vipers played very well in the final few minutes added some good pressure had the Clippers hemmned in their own end taking valuable time off the clock and not allowing Nanaimo to get Tanner Kovacs to the bench for the extra attacker. The Clippers would eventually get the play deep into the Vernon zone allowing Nanaimo to get Kovacs to the bench for the extra man with just over fifty seconds remaining. The Vipers would once again get into penalty trouble taking a minor penalty with just fourty seconds remaining. The Clippers with good pressure moved the puck around before Austin Smith down low was forced to make two big saves in the final seconds before the Vipers were able to clear the zone and hold on for a thrilling 3-2 victory. At the buzzer two Nanaimo players got tangled up with the Vipers bench as they come onto the ice to celebrate the win. Words were exchanged before a minor scrum broke loose as several players from the Clippers joined the scrum. Bo Brauer was right in the middle of the Vipers. Both benches were basically on the ice as this situation could have gotten out of hand. In the end the referee and linesmen were able to break up the melay and get both teams off to the dressing rooms. Several penalties were handed out at the end of the game but none were announced over the PA system. Former Vipers Head Coach-GM Mike Vandekamp stood patiently waiting until both teams were off the ice when he had a lengthy discussion with the referee. Nanaimo outshot Vernon 14-9. I thought the Vipers got into penalty trouble taking way too many penalties in the final period giving Nanaimo a chance to comeback for the win. The Clippers with four or five powerplays had some good looks at times couldnt beat Austin Smith.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Josh Bryan (1 goal) I thought played a very strong game for the Vipers. Bryan was very solid defensively and scored a nice powerplay goal to open the scoring.
Michael Statchuk (1 goal) Also played very well on the backend. Statchuk with just his second career BCHL goal tonight took a high stick to the face, played a heck of a game.
Dexter Dancs (1 goal) Was very good up front for Vernon, good down low and along the wall with the puck, was very strong and hard to knock off the puck and wasnt afraid to get involved in the play after the whistle on several occasions.
Colton Sparrow (1 assist) Was also very good for the Vipers, played with a ton of energy and showed lots of hustle and determination in his game tonight. Worked very hard all night picking up one assist.
Austin Smith (38 saves) Was very good through out tonight's game. Let out a few rebounds but otherwise was very strong between the pipes for the Vipers. Made several key-big saves on the penalty kill at times and through out the contest.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
I thought the opening period was pretty dull to start with not alot of action or much of anything going on really for atleast the first seven or eight minutes. Both teams played a pretty tight checking game with very little opportunities. As the first period got going I thought Vernon seemed to play well, opening the scoring and limited the Clippers chances. It was the second period that I thought the Vipers had a slight edge in play and chances even though were outshot. The Vipers with a big strong penalty kill early to start the middle frame would kill off back to back penalties before scoring two quick goals just less then three minutes apart. The third was alot of powerplays as Vernon needs to cut down on penalties. Sure they were up 3-0 in the 3rd but taking four or five penalties is eventually going to cost you and it just about did tonight. The Clippers with a shorthanded and powerplay goal in the third made things interesting and for a thrilling finish. Vernon who seems to have troubles with a two goal lead latley were good on the penalty kill and keeping the Clippers to the outside for most of their chances. The Vipers did get lucky at times and excaped with the win. The Vipers have to watch the undisaplined penalties especially in the third, the leagues top teams will make you pay look at just before the Christmas break the Vipers got into penalty trouble vs a good club like Powell River (7-2 loss) and made Vernon pay on the man advantage. Nanaimo didnt get alot of second looks-chances as the Viper defence was pretty good at shutting down all second opportunities. The Vipers also did a good job at limiting the Clippers time and space, getting in the shooting lanes, blocking shots etc. Nanaimo didnt have alot of time and space to create and generate chances. You also have to give Austin Smith credit for keeping the Vipers in at times. Dylan Chanter wasnt in the lineup and isnt listed on the Vipers roster on the BCHL website, anyone know why he isnt playing yet? A big crowd on hand for tonight's game saw several Clipper fans in attendance. Two Vernon products are playing with Nanaimo.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Anthony Sabitsky impressed me tonight, had a few good chances was quick on his feet, played with lots of jump and was going to the net most of the night.
Bo Brauer (1 goal) Seemed to try and get under the skin of several Vipers through out the game. A bigger kid didnt back down played well.
Tanner Kovacs (24 saves) Played very well between the pipes tonight. Both goaltenders played well each giving their team a chance to win.
Game Thoughts: (Nanaimo)
I wasnt too impressed with the Clippers for most of the first two periods. I thought the Vipers had the better of the scoring chances at times jumped out to a 3-0 lead and were going to go away with the victory but give Nanaimo credit they sure battled hard and played strong in the final frame. The Clippers did outshoot the Vipers but alot of there shots were from the outside and didnt really generate alot of grade A chances. I really liked the Clippers game in the third, If Nanaimo would have had this jump-spark in the first two periods we may have been in for a bit of a different game. The Clippers with a shorthanded and powerplay marker in the third couldnt capitalize with the man advantage went 1-7. The Clippers with limited chances in periods one and two looked and played with more of an edge in the third gave Vernon a good run in the final twenty minutes. A bounce here or there and this could have easily been a tied hockey game in the 3rd. The Clippers may have outshot the Vipers 40-27 but in no way did this mean Nanaimo outplayed Vernon. The Vipers may have got lucky in the third. Both teams would split the season series both winning at home.
Mark Hamilton (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
Michael Statchuk (1 goal)
1st Star: Colton Sparrow (1 assist)
2nd Star: Austin Smith (38 saves)
3rd Star: Bo Brauer (1 goal)
For more on tonight's game visit the BCHL boxscore,