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-Centennials game as Vernon defeated Merritt 5-3 in front of 1,785 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Jarrod Schamerhorn
Merritt: Anthony Pupplo
1st Period: Vernon got off to a quick strong start jumped on the Cents who played last night in Trail. The Vipers playing with alot of jump and energy were buzzing in the Merritt zone early and often. In the opening minute Luke Shiplo's point shot was redirected in front forcing Anthony Pupplo to make an early save. The Centennials back on their heels early had troubles getting out of their own end. Blaine Caton with a good opportunity was stopped by Pupplo on a Vipers three on two rush. Vernon was the better of the two teams in the first half carried the majority of the play. Just before the halfway mark Luke Shiplo with a nice dangle went in and around two or three different Centennials before breaking free in close couldnt beat Anthony Pupplo down low after coming across the blue paint, made a big pad save off the Viper d-man keeping this game scoreless. The Vipers would get the games first powerplay of the night at the halfway mark but struggled. Vernon with just a single shot couldnt generate much offence as the Cents were very quick at clearing the zone everytime, even caught the Vipers for icing the puck with the man advantage. Just before the penalty was up the Cents would get their first shot with the PP. Both teams played a little four on four before Merritt went on the powerplay. The Cents didnt generate much off a powerplay either as Vernon would kill off the minor. Merritt looked to get their legs going in the second half come on and played much better in the final ten minutes. The Cents now showing their speed turned up on the offence and with some good pressure had Vernon back on their heels. The Vipers hemmed in their own end couldnt clear the zone as Merritt with atleast two or three quality shots missed on two of them. The Centennials with good pressure for a few minutes couldnt open the scoring. Sam Johnson missed the net on a Cents two on one rush while Josh Teves missed the net on another odd man rush. Merritt missing some golden opportunities couldnt finish on some missed opportunities. Rhett Willcox took a huge hit along the side wall went down but was slow to get up, finished his shift but looked to be in some discomfort went down to the tunnel where he was attended on by the team trainer would be ok and return to the game a few shifts later. With just over five minutes to go Thomas Aldworth with a nice move cut hard towards the net was stopped in close before making a nice defensive play in the neutral zone got the puck back ripped a hard shot from the circle that beat Anthony Pupplo blocker side giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 15:29 TJ Dumonceaux & Johnny Coughlin collected the helpers. On the following shift the Centennials would get their second shot on the PP. Merritt looked much better with the man advantage couldnt capitalize but come very close to tying the game just as the penalty expired. Sam Johnson in tight couldnt squeeze the puck through the fivehole of Jarrod Schamerhorn who made a tough save down low at the end a penalty kill. It was 1-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers with a great start, come out with a ton of jump and energy were all over the Centennials early and often. Vernon with a few good scoring chances looked very good in the first half were the better of the two teams before Merritt turned things around. The Cents got their legs going in the second half of the period and generated-created some offensive chances of their own but couldnt finish missing on some good opportunities. Merritt had a slight edge in play in the second half but overall both teams looked even in the final ten minutes. The Vipers outshot the Centennials 12-9.
2nd Period: Merritt with a quick start to the period come out with alot of pressure. The Cents really buzzing attacked the Vernon zone early and often. Sam Johnson on a three on two got inbehind the Viper defence couldnt beat Jarrod Schamerhorn down low before Luke Shiplo went crashing into the Vernon goaltender knocking the net off its pegs. Shortly after Schamerhorn was forced to make a big save off Brandon Duhaime as the Cents were coming on strong. Merritt would get an early powerplay and capitalize. Josh Teves setup John Schiavo in front who beat Jarrod Schamerhorn from the slot tied the game at 5:29 Teves and Shane Poulsen with the assists. The Cents kept coming and poured the pressure on giving Vernon's defence all kinds of trouble. The Vipers with several turnovers-give aways in their own end had trouble clearing the zone. Luke Voltin setup Trevor Fidler on a two on one who couldnt beat Centennials starting goaltender anthony Pupplo who come across the crease to make a huge blocker save off Fidler. This was Vernon's first good look-chance of the period as Merritt was all over the Vipers. Later on the Vipers would get two good quick passing plays off couldnt convert in close on two missed opportunities. Vernon who had troubles staying out of the penalty box tonight would give up another powerplay goal. James Neil with a rocket shot from the high slot looked to beat Vipers starting goaltender Jarrod Schamerhorn under the crossbar, a quick flicker of the goal light while the shot-goal was waived off by the referee until a stopage in play. The referee's and linesmen gathered near the penalty box before giving the goal to Neil who put the Centennials up 2-1 at 14:13 Diego Cuglietta & Matt Foley picked up the assists as the Vipers tried to argue the call-goal but the goal stood. The Vipers seemed to rally late and come on strong. Less then two minutes after giving up the lead Vernon would tie the game on a nice play down low. Luke Shiplo setup Liam Coughlin at the side of the net tying the game at 16:33 Shiplo feathered a light pass through the crease for Coughlin who had to just tap it into the open cage. Shiplo and Mitch Meek with the helpers. Vernon wasnt done and less then two minutes later would re-gain the lead. Liam Finlay making his Viper debut tonight showed alot of hustle and determination come back into the defensive zone to break up a Cents odd man rush before making a quick outlet pass to Johnny Coughlin. Coughlin & Finlay passed back and fourth before Finlay wired a shot into the back of the net gave Vernon a 3-2 lead at 18:23 Coughlin and Jagger Williamson with the assists as the crowd was alive and cheering on this highlight reel goal. Merritt would get a late powerplay that would extend into the 3rd period. Vernon with a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes of play. The Cents come out hard really took it too the Vipers early and often. Merritt with several good chances in the opening few minutes couldnt find the back of the net eventually tied the game before taking their first lead of the night with back to back powerplay goals. Vernon who had troubles defensively and in their own end didnt generate alot of scoring chances played better in the final minutes would score two quick back to back goals to grab the lead heading into the final frame. This period was all Merritt as the Centennials outplayed Vernon. The Vipers were lucky to be ahead after two periods. The Vipers outshot the Centennials 13-10.
3rd Period: The Cents started the third with the man advantage that was carried over from the end of the second period. Josh Teves come very close to tying the game rang his shot off the crossbar. Brandon Duhaime with alot of hustle couldnt beat Jarrod Schamerhorn as the Vipers would kill off the minor. Merritt looked very good off the start moved the puck well, really used their speed carried the play early. Liam Coughlin had a good opportunity early on a odd man rush couldnt get the shot through the Cents defence after Shane Poulsen made a huge defensive play blocked Coughlin's shot from the slot. Trevor Fidler with his second opportunity of the night got in close for the parcial breakaway couldnt beat Anthony Pupplo down low who made another big save off Fidler. The Cents had a slight edge in play in the first half before the Vipers would get just their second PP of the game. Liam Finlay spotted TJ Dumonceaux in the slot who ripped his shot fivehole past Pupplo gave Vernon a 4-2 lead at 10:58 for his first of the season. Finlay & Luke Shiplo collected the assists. Less then a minute later the Cents would get another shot with the man advantage but a good penalty kill by Vernon. Less then a minute later Vernon would get their second powerplay of the period and capitalize. Jagger Williamson setup a wide open Mitch Meek who ripped his shot past Anthony Pupplo gave the Vipers a 5-2 lead at 15:29 Williamson and Anthony Latina with the assists. Vernon come right back and with a hard working shift looked to jump ahead by four. A Merritt defender went into the blue paint bumping into his own goaltender, the Vipers were able to get a shot off from the slot that went through the Merritt players legs and hitting the back of the mesh but the goal was waived off while the play continued up ice. Nick Fidanza with a hard but quick shot from the high slot beat Schamerhorn gloveside cut the Vernon lead to within two goals at 17:05 Fidanza's goal was unassisted. The referees and linesmen gathered at the penalty boxes called Merritt's goal a good goal and waived off Vernon's goal. On both goals that needed a discussion not one of them were confirmed with the goal judge on wich both goals the goal light was on. Merritt now within two goals couldnt get full control of the puck to sustain any pressure to get Pupplo out for the extra attacker. The Vipers with a dump and chase play had the Cents hemmed in their own end winding the clock down till the final fourty seconds or so before Merritt couldnt even get into the Vernon zone. The Vipers would come away with a 5-3 victory. I thought the Centennials had a good start to the period, hit the crossbar once had some good looks-opportunities couldnt capitalize on their chances. Vernon with back to back powerplay goals looked better as the period went on still had troubles defensively. Merritt outshot Vernon 12-8.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Blaine Caton didnt register a point but I thought played well, looked strong and confident with and without the puck tonight. Was good on the penalty kill seems to be improving as the season moves along.
Jagger Williamson (2 assists) Really played well for the youngsters tonight. Picking up two helpers Williamson was really skating hard.
Luke Shiplo (2 assists) I thought was very good on the Vipers backend. Made a nice dangle through two or three Merritt players on a nice goal rush in the opening period. Was good with and without the puck tonight, looks calm and cool on the blueline.
Liam Finlay (1 goal & 1 assist) Made his Vipers debut after coming over in a trade with the Penticton Vees Tuesday. Finlay scored a highlight reel goal after a huge defensive play is very quick, this kid has some wheels and can motor. One of the smaller players out there tonight really sees and reads the ice well, makes quick decissions with the puck. Had a strong game.
Luke Voltin I thought also played very well, seemed to be skating hard, seemed to really move the puck well through the neutral zone into the attacking zone.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
The Vipers unvieled their new third set jerseys tonight. Mostly all gold/yellow with three smaller dark blue stripes around the arms and again near the bottom of the jersey with dark blue names and numbers with the Vipers logo on the front. When I first saw these in warmup I was appalled thinking these were the ugliest Viper jerseys of all time! But once the game went on the more these new third jerseys grew on me and I actually dont mind them at all. They remind of of Sweden's hockey jerseys or the University of Michigan's hockey jerseys. Back to the game I thought Vernon had a great start, it seems like almost every game the Vipers get off to a good-strong start. The Vipers with alot of jump-energy had the Cents back on their heels, created some offensive chances looked good in the opening period. The 2nd period was a different story as the Vipers didnt look very good at all, as Merritt was all over Vernon who was outplayed most of the period. The Centennials with several good chances early had the Vipers back on their heels who made several turnovers-giveaways in their own end. The Vipers come on strong in the final minutes of the period scored two quick goals to re-take the lead. I thought Vernon looked and played a little better in the 3rd scored two back to back powerplay goals to seal the victory. The Vipers seem to have problems in the 2nd period, havent played or done very well in the middle frame this season. Scoring two powerplay goals was sure nice to see as Vernon's powerplay has been dreadfull this season. I recall reading in the paper the flu has gone through the Vipers dressingroom this maybe a reason for all the turnovers-mistakes in their own end tonight? Vernon didnt look very good defensively or in their own end most of the night. With alot of divisional games this month tonight was a big win against Merritt. The Vipers who have been playing their best hockey of the season as of late have now won six of their last eight games.
Top Players: (Merritt)
Shane Poulsen (1 assist) I thought played a strong-steady game on the Centennials blueline. Made a big defensive play in the 3rd to block a Liam Coughlin shot on a Vernon odd man rush.
John Schiavo (1 goal) Looked dangerous at times has played well against the Vipers this season (3 games). Very shifty-crafty with the puck, quick on his feet, moves in a hurry always seems to find open ice. Hard to contain-defend against.
Daniel Nachbaur looked good up front this evening, seemed to generate-create some looks-opportunities.
Sam Johnson was another forward that looked-played very well for the Cents. Had some good chances, was buzzing in and around the Viper net through out the game.
Brandon Duhaime I thought was Merritt's best player, was dangerous with and without the puck. Seemed to be all over the ice, created and generated some chances lead the attack for the Cents.
Josh Teves (1 assist) Was another d-man that looked good on the backend. Hit the crossbar in the 3rd is mobile, moves the puck well, plays alot of minutes.
Anthony Pupplo (28 saves) I thought played very well between the pipes. Made atleast three big saves tonight, giving his club a chance to win. Dosnt give out alot of rebounds, quick on his feet, gets across the crease in a hurry for that big save, looks and plays with alot of confidence.
Game Thought's: (Merritt)
After a tough 7-5 loss in Trail on Halloween the Centennials have dropped back to back games. The Cents fall to 1-2 against the Vipers this season will meet again in Vernon on the 26th. Merritt has now lost five straight away from home will finish the three game road trip Wednesday in Langley. After a late night bus ride from Trail you could see the Centennials didnt have their legs going off the start of the game, but give Luke Pierce's team credit. They may have been outplayed early but didnt give up a goal before coming back with a strong turn around in the second half. The Cents who have a hard working team, never quit and it showed tonight. Merritt with a strong 2nd period outplayed the Vipers in all area's of the game took the lead before giving up two late goals to end the period. The Cents would give up two back to back powerplay goals couldnt recover before running out of time. Merritt plays physical and laid the body tonight, this team plays with an edge and at times can be a little chippy. A quick, puck moving team the Cents missed the net often tonight, looked to go for a bounce off the end boards on atleast three or four plays tonight. Merritt didnt capitalize on some good opportunities wont be happy with losing both games this weekend. With the loss the Cents drop to 3rd place just one point up on the Vipers.
Danny Todosychuk (Suspended)
Brandon Egli (Suspended)
Riley Brandt (Suspended)
Energy player of the game:
Johnny Coughlin (2 assists)
1st Star: Liam Finlay (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: TJ Dumonceaux (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Mitch Meek (1 goal & 1 assist)