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 the Warriors home opener as Vernon defeated West Kelowna 4-1 in front of 1,212 fans at Royal Le Page Place.
Vernon: Danny Todosychuk
West Kelowna: Andy Desautels
1st Period: The Vipers got off to a quick start, on just their third shot of the game just over a minute into the opening period Mackenzie Bauer on a turnover beat Andy Desautels from the high slot gave Vernon the early 1-0 lead at 1:07 Bauer's goal was unassisted. Two minutes later Kylar Hope with a parcial breakaway was stopped by Danny Todosychuk. The Vipers with a strong forecheck early were forcing the Warriors into several turnovers inside their own blueline. Vernon showing a ton of speed was really flying early buzzing in the West Kelowna zone. Mackenzie Bauer with a nice pass setup Mitchell Oliver going to the net who beat Desautels in front giving the Vipers a 2-0 lead at 4:52 Bauer & Anthony Latina collected the helpers. The Warriors with a good look jumped out on a two on one but missed the net. A few minutes later the Vipers with a ton of pressure created & generated several grade A scoring chances. Thomas Aldworth with a hard low shot forced Andy Desautels to make a huge pad save before having to stop Liam Coughlin on the rebound who was driving hard to the net. Within minutes Jake Emilio's point shot was kicked out by Desautel before stopping Mitchell Oliver going hard to the net. Desautels was keeping the Warriors in the game as Vernon was buzzing outshooting WK 9-4 at this point. Just before the halfway mark the Vipers would get the games first powerplay. Vernon would struggle with the man advantage couldnt setup as West Kelowna with a fairly easy penalty kill would kill off the minor. In the second half Greydon Robinson made a nice defensive play on Liam Coughlin taking away a Vernon scoring opportunity. Jagger Williamson with a harmless looking dumpin shot from outside the blueline caught Andy Desautels off guard just got a peice of the puck with his glove as it graized over the top of the crossbar. The Warriors would get their first man advantage late in the period and wouldnt take long to capitalize. Jason Cotton's shot was stopped by Todosychuk before Liam Blackburn made contact with the Viper goaltender scored on the rebound before Kenny Citron went after Blackburn. A small scrum formed behind the Vernon goal with West Kelowna coming out on top with a powerplay. Blackburn's goal got the Warriors on the board at 17:24 Cotton & Kristian Blumenschein with the assists. The Warriors down just a goal went right back to work on their second man advantage. Moving the puck around WK with a good powerplay created some chances couldnt capitalize as the Vipers killed off the penalty just before the final buzzer. Vernon was up 2-1 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers with a strong start to the hockey game jumped out to a quick two goal lead had several chances couldnt beat Andy Desautels who kept the Warriors in the game early. West Kelowna couldnt generate much offence had troubles with the Vipers forecheck turning over the puck in their own end. Vernon with a strong relentless forecheck carried the better of the play were the better team after one period. Shots were even 12-12.
2nd Period: West Kelowna got off to a quick start with a hard working shift off the opening whistle. The Warriors who didnt have alot of jump in the first period were really skating hard, had some good energy to start the middle frame. Vipers starting goaltender Danny Todosychuk was forced to make a big save from in close three minutes into the period. Vernon back on their heels a bit had some troubles with the Warriors speed early. Just over five minutes into the period Vernon would get their third powerplay of the night, the Vipers with some good early pressure moved the puck around spotted Trevor Fidler in close tried going fivehole but somehow couldnt beat Warriors starting goaltender Andy Desautels who shut the door making a big save from in tight. WK would get into penalty trouble gave Vernon a two man advantage. Once again Desautels had to be the Warriors best penalty kil, come across the crease to rob Luke Voltin at the side of the net on a game saver keeping this a one goal game. The Vipers with several quality chances from in close couldnt beat the Warriors tender who was coming up large were able to excape, killing off both minors. Vernon with nine shots on the man advantage couldnt capitalize. Less then a minute later West Kelowna would get their first opportunity with the powerplay this period couldnt get much going as the Vipers were able to kill off the penalty. This period was all Vernon as the Vipers looked good with and without the puck. The Warriors just like the 1st period couldnt get any offensive chances had just one shot in about ten minutes of play. Vernon would get a late powerplay but once again couldnt solve Desautels before the Warriors would get a powerplay in the final minute wich would carry into the 3rd. Vernon was up 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. West Kelowna with a strong start to the period come out flying, generated a few chances in close couldnt keep the pace going as it was all Vipers this period. Vernon went 0-3 with the man advantage but it wasnt for a lack of opportunities as Andy Desautels once again kept WK in the game making several big saves keeping this a one goal game. The Vipers dominated the play were all over the Warriors outshot West Kelowna 20-5.
3rd Period: The Warriors started the final frame on a powerplay that was carried over from the 2nd period. Before the powerplay expired West Kelowna would get a penalty sending both teams to some four on four before the Vipers would get a shortened powerplay. Thomas Aldworth with a very strong performance tonight went wide and through two Warrior defenders couldnt beat Andy Desautels in close on a great opportunity early. With Vernon on an early man advantage the Vipers would finally capitalize on the PP with just a second remaining. Ryley Booth's point shot beat Desautels gave the Vipers a 3-1 lead at 2:44 Jake Emilio & Jagger Williamson picked up the assists. Blaine Caton looked to injury himself was slow getting to the bench was looked at by the trainer but stayed in the game and looked to be fine. Liam Coughlin setup Thomas Aldworth on a Viper odd man rush but again Desautels come across the crease to make his biggest save of the night robbing Aldworth at the side of the net keeping this a two goal game. On the same play the Warriors spotted Liam Blackburn with a long stretch pass to go in all alone for the breakaway, Blackburn was stoned by Danny Todosychuk who come up with the huge pad save. West Kelowna with a much better period looked good early and often carried the better of the play seemed to have the Vipers pinned inside their own zone for minutes at a time. Just before the midway mark a mini line brawl broke loose as everyone on the ice was either tangled up with someone as everyone on both sides were pushing and shoving on something that basically happened out of nothing. Rylan Yaremko dropped the gloves and started throwing punches towards Anthony Latina before Latina got involved in the lone fight of the game. Tempers heated up in a hurry as the bad blood between these two teams showed from last years first round Playoff matchup. Latina and Yaremko were both tossed from the game for fighting while Mac Ferner was also given the boot. After everything was settled Vernon come out on top with the powerplay. The Vipers with a good powerplay were unable to connect found themselves back in their own end as West Kelowna kept coming looking to try and claw back into the game. The Warriors with some good pressure didnt have alot of room to try and create chances as the Viper defence was very solid positionally at times keeping WK to the outside hemmened along the boards. West Kelowna would get their first shot with the man advantage this period. Danny Todosychuk made a big save off a point shot before diving across the crease on the rebound to make another big save. Todosychuk was very good between the pipes tonight helped the Vipers kill off the minor. West Kelowna with a great chance had Danny Todosychuk down and out but somehow fired high and over the goal. The Warriors would get Andy Desautels to the bench with three minutes to go but only for a few seconds before the Warriors would come up with a late man advantage. Mitchell Oliver and Jake Emilio both come up with two huge defensive plays to break up a WK scoring opportunity as the Warriors were pressing with some pressure. A shot from the point looked to have go off a player in front before beating Todosychuk and then hitting the far post on a close call. The Vipers would seal the victory after Mackenzie Bauer's second goal of the night shorthanded into the empty cage put Vernon up 4-1 at 18:46 Bauer's goal was unassisted. The Vipers were able to wind down the clock and come away with the 4-1 win. West Kelowna with their best period of the hockey game looked their best created and generated some good chances. The Warriors with a ton of pressure at times couldnt buy a goal missing on two great opportunities in close. The Vipers had troubles getting into the Warriors end did play well defensively at times keeping the Warriors to the outside limiting their chances. Vernon with a huge PP goal early needed that two goal lead for a little cushion for their second win of the season. West Kelowna carried the better of the play couldnt find the back of the net outshot Vernon 19-9.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Mitchell Oliver (1 goal) Played very well on the Vernon blueline. Wasnt afriad to jump up into the play, made a few nice defensive plays was solid all night.
Jake Emilio (1 assist) Another Viper d-man that I thought played very well this evening. Emilio was very good at both ends of the rink, very steady, confident and sound posionally.
The line of Liam Coughlin, Thomas Aldworth & Luke Voltin was the Vipers best unit going. This line was very dangerous come up with several great scoring chances. I really like the looks of Aldworth. This kid can play. A smooth skater with soft hands, is strong on the puck and hard to defend against. Voltin can also skate, has some speed created and generated some opportunities. I really liked the looks of this line.
Jagger Williamson (1 assist) Not the biggest kid but played well in all positions. Saw some icetime on the penalty kill and played against some of the Warriors top lines. A real buzsaw, played with a ton of energy and isnt afraid to through his weight around.
Mackenzie Bauer (2 goals & 1 assist) Looked very impressive tonight. Scored twice another player who played with alot of energy and jump in his game.
Nicholas Gnazdownsky made his Vipers debut tonight didnt see alot of icetime come the 3rd period but played very well in the first two periods. I think the rookie saw one maybe two shifts in the final frame was another player who had some jump in his game, was really flying all night. Showed alot of hustle and determination battled and competed hard.
Riley Brandt has really impressed me since the first time I saw him in Training camp. Not one of bigger kids but plays big, through's his weight around, battles and competes all game. Played physical tonight, laying out a few big checks but also was stood up on the recievening end.
Danny Todosychuk (35 saves) Was named the teams #1 starter during Training camp improves to 2-0 with the win. Todosychuk wasnt tested much after 40 minutes of play made his biggest saves of the night in the third. Wearing a new painted mask Todosychuk handled his rebounds well, was very solid making 19 saves in the 3rd.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
Mark Ferner made his second debut as Vipers Coach-GM tonight after returning to the Vipers earlier this week. What a huge difference in the Vipers style of play and just their play overall through out the game tonight. I thought the Vipers were by far the better of the two teams in the first two periods. Vernon carried the edge in play and dominated most of the game after two periods were only up a goal heading into the 3rd. A huge powerplay goal early in the final period gave Vernon a bit of a cushion were able to sit on a two goal lead. The Vipers didnt have the same jump they had in the first two periods couldnt generate much offence were held in their own end most of the period. The Vipers defence did a good job at keeping the Warriors to the outside, limiting their chances. I really liked the Vipers passing tonight, I thought their breakout was very good and I was very impressed with their strong forecheck wich gave West Kelowna all kinds of troubles, forcing the Warriors into several turnovers. Vernon really showed their speed and quickness tonight, playing with some high tempo offence and getting alot of jump and energy going early and through out the game. The Vipers worked very hard and were rewarded with the two points. Overall I thought the Vipers looked and played very well tonight.
Top Players: (West Kelowna)
Jason Cotton (1 assist) Had a strong game in his second season with the Warriors. The US native looked very good with the puck. Didnt get alot of scoring chances but always noticable when with the puck.
Liam Blackburn (1 goal) I thought was another strong player for the Warriors tonight. Another player returning for a second season in WK was all over the ice. Scored the lone Warriors goal on the PP was stopped on a breakaway in the 3rd looked good with and without the puck.
Mac Ferner I thought played well on defence. Played with a bit of an edge getting in the face of several Vernon players, before being tossed from the conest.
Andy Desautels (37 saves) Was the difference in tonight's game. Another second year Warrior kept West Kelowna in tonight's game making several game savers. Desautels who was solid between the pipes last season showed no rust tonight. The veteran twenty yr old goaltender made several highlight real saves keeping this a one goal game heading into the 3rd. Without Desautels this could have easily been a 7 or 8-1 final.
Game Thought's: (West Kelowna)
The Warriors wearing their new third set jerseys tonight have now lost four of their last five home openers. West Kelowna drops to 2-1 after the loss will look for a re-match tomorrow night in Vernon. The Warriors fell behind early down two goals couldnt seem to rally. The Vipers carried the play and were the better of the two teams in the first two periods didnt give West Kelowna alot of time or space. WK with very few scoring chances in periods one and two were spending alot of time in their own end chasing the Vipers. I thought the Warriors had spurts in the first two periods where they showed life but not for very long. Down just a goal West Kelowna come out with a strong third period played their best but couldnt hold the Vipers off the scoreboard and couldnt get any on the scoreboard. The Warriors missing a few glorious chances missed atleast two open nets, hit the post once in the 3rd just didnt seem to have much puck luck tonight. West Kelowna caused way too many turnovers and gave up way too many Viper scoring opportunities. Getting outshot 20-5 in a period is never going to win you many hockey games hockey games. Overall if you were a Vernon fan this was a very entertaining hockey game and a bounce here or there and this could have been a different outcome for the Warriors. A great turnout for the Warriors home opener, one of the biggest crowds I have seen at Royal Le Page Place.
Riley Guenther (Injured)
TJ Dumonceaux (Injured)
Luke Shiplo (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
1st Star: Mackenzie Bauer (2 goals & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Andy Desautels (37 saves)
3rd Star: Danny Todosychuk (35 saves)
Kyle Anderson's West Kelowna Warriors blog,