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-Spruce Kings game as Prince George defeated Vernon 4-3 in front of 1,711 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Brendan Barry
Prince George: Liam McCloskey
1st Period: Off the opening faceoff Liam Finlay couldnt beat Liam McCloskey in close who come across the crease to make a big save off the former Penticton Vees forward. On the same shift Steven Jandric wired a hard shot from the hashmarks was stopped by McCloskey before the Vipers would get an early powerplay just twenty five seconds into the 1st. Riley Brandt with a slapshot from the top of the circle couldnt beat Liam McCloskey who had to be sharp as Vernon had some good pressure on the man advantage. The Spruce Kings held off the Viper powerplay until the final ten seconds when Viper captain Colton McCarthy tipped Riley Brandt's shot home past Liam McCloskey giving Vernon an early 1-0 lead at 2:15 Brandt & Mac Ferner picked up the helpers. It was Vernon for the entire period as the Vipers who come out with alot of jump and intensity jumped on a Prince George Spruce Kings team that played last night in Trail (Lost 7-3). The Vipers speed and skill was no match for PG who had troubles containing Vernon most of the opening frame. The Spruce Kings needed six minutes to record their first shot of the night. Brendan Barry who made his Vipers debut saw very limited shots-action this period. Liam Finlay with another good opportunity couldnt beat Liam McCloskey who was giving out alot of rebounds this period did play very well was holding his team in the game. The Vipers would get their second look with the PP and for a second time tonight connect with the powerplay. Odeen Tufto put Vernon up 2-0 at 6:45 Joe Cipillone and Bo Pellah with the assists. PG would mount their first and only real ammount of pressure just before the midway mark, would get a good two or three minutes in the offensive zone but unable to create or generate any real scoring chances. The Spruce Kings who had troubles staying out of the penalty box got into more penalty trouble in the second half, as Vernon would get a two man advantage. Adam Burnett would get tossed from the game for checking Hunter Zandee from behind. Zandee was ok and stayed in the contest. Liam Finlay who had several good opportunities in the opening period was robbed by Liam McCloskey who come across the blue paint to stone Finlay with the blocker keeping this a 2-0 game. Prince George would come up with a solid penalty kill, all due thanks to their goaltender Liam McCloskey who stood tall making several big saves as PG would kill off both penalties. This could have been a turning point in the hockey game. The Vipers get one or even two powerplay goals here and its now a 3-0 or 4-0 game. But its still 2-0 as the Spruce Kings are just barly holding on. Vernon was up 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers who dominated the 1st period were all over the Spruce Kings. PG with very little offence played most of the period in their own end. Prince George played most of the 1st shorthanded. The Vipers peppered Liam McCloskey only managed two goals were unable to put away PG. Vernon outshot Prince George 20-5.
2nd Period: What a difference a period makes. The Vipers who were in full control of this game come out to start the middle frame flat. Prince George would get an early powerplay, their first of the night and capitalize. A scramble down low in front of Brendan Barry and the Viper goal, nobody seemed to know where the puck was as several PG players were banging away at the loose puck before Barry was able to cover up and hold onto the puck. On the following play another mad scramble in and around the Vernon net. Again the Spruce Kings were banging away at the loose puck but at the sametime looked to have bumped-pushed Vipers starting goaltender Brendan Barry back into the net, while at the sametime the puck somehow found its way into the back of the net. With the goal light on but no official call from the referee the Spruce Kings were celebrating as if they got on the board. Both referee's would get together and talk things over while the Vipers were complaining Barry was pushed into the net. The goal would count and get PG on the scoreboard. Cavin Tilsley on the PP at 3:14 from Alex Stoley and Jake LeBrun. Just seconds later the Spruce Kings would get a scare after Liam McCloskey come way out of his crease, charging for the loose puck colided with a Vernon player and Jarod Hovde. McCloskey was down for several minutes while being attended by the team trainer. The PG goaltender was ok and stayed in the hockey game. Vernon would come out of the collision getting their fifth powerplay of the night but struggled with the man advantage. The Vipers couldnt capitalize as PG would kill off the minor. As the period went along the Vipers just couldnt get much of anything going. Both teams actually couldnt muster much for offence this frame but the Spruce Kings were playing much better. Vernon on the other hand went to sleep, playing down to the level of Prince George. PG may have not had alot of scoring chances but were working hard and competing. The Vipers playing with very little intensity and emotion looked like a totally different team after the 1st period. Shots were fairly close-even this period with very little emotion and chances at either ends of the rink. PG was holding their own before tying the game in the second half. Braiden Epp on a two on one decided to keep and shoot went high and over the net as the puck come around the boards Corey Hoffman's shot would go in and off a Viper stick on its way to the net beating Brendan Barry high tied the game 2-2 at 11:44 Kyle Johnson & Braiden Epp with the assists. A few minutes later Prince George with a hard fought shift once again had a mad scramble in and around the Viper goal, as everyone was trying to find the loose puck. Riley Brandt would go to the ice covering the puck with his hand while in the crease, wich awarded the Spruce Kings a penalty shot. Corey Hoffman come in but fired wide on a missed opportunity. A few shifts later the Vipers would get their first and only decent scoring chance of the period. Joe Cipillone stepped into a pass from behind the net was stopped by Liam McCloskey who made a quick reaction save low keeping this game tied. The Vipers come very close to grabing a lead late. Mitchell Oliver's point shot with about a minute and a half remaining was redirected on its way to the net by a PG player just missed the far corner on a close call. The Vipers would get a late powerplay in the final minute that would carry over into the 3rd. It was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes of play. PG who was totally outplayed the entire first period had a much better 2nd period. The Spruce Kings with an early powerplay goal, got some life and changed the momentum of the hockey game. The Spruce Kings didnt generate alot of grade a scoring chances but battled and worked hard, scored twice to tie the game. Vernon on the other hand come out flat, wasnt in the game at all. No jump or energy, couldnt get anything going were playing down to the Spruce Kings level. Vernon with just one decent scoring chance, didnt generate much for offence. A very poor effort by the Vipers. Vernon outshot Prince George 13-9.
3rd Period: Vernon started the final frame with the man advantage that was carried over from the 2nd. Another poor powerplay as PG would kill off the minor. The Vipers would then get trapped in their own end allowed Braiden Epp to give Prince George their first lead of the night at 1:59 Rylan Bechtel & Kyle Johnson with the helpers. On the play Riley Brandt jumped in the middle of the PG goal celebration and threw a punch at one PG player. Brandt would get called for roughing taking a very undisaplined penalty. The Spruce Kings with just their third powerplay capitalized. The Vipers got caught chasing the puck before Adam Brubacher hit the wide open cage after Brendan Barry was way out of position as Prince George took a 4-2 lead at 2:27 Bryan Basilico and Rylan Bechtel collected the assists. Mark Ferner and the Vipers would call a timeout to try and re-group the troops. Just a few minutes later the Spruce Kings looking for a three goal lead made some nice tic tac toe passing on an odd man rush couldnt find the top of the open cage after getting Brendan Barry to commit way out of his crease on a missed opportunity. With a two goal lead PG clogged up the neutral zone, played well defensively didnt give Vernon any time or space. PG now playing more of a defensive game didnt allow the Vipers to get much of anything going. The Spruce Kings would get a great chance to put the game away with their second man advantage of the night couldnt capitalize. The Vipers would kill off the penalty and still have some time left to go for the tie. The Vipers stepped up their game in the second half, finally turned up the pace a bit but had troubles getting any real offensive threat going. Again the Spruce Kings defence did a great job at keeping Vernon to the outside while Liam McCloskey was seeing everything was catching most pucks-shots in the chest. The Vipers now firing everything on goal were either missing the net or not getting alot of quality chances. Vernon would get one or two flurries late before getting a late powerplay. With just thirt six seconds to go with the man advantage, the Vipers would get Barry to the bench for a two man advantage. It worked as Mac Ferner's shot from the blueline would go in and off Colton McCarthy for his second of the night getting the Vipers to within a goal at 19:01 Ferner and Mitchell Oliver picked up the assists. On the following faceoff the Vipers would get Brendan Barry back to the bench for the extra attacker. But it was a hard working PG line-defenders that did a great job at tying up the loose puck along the boards, killing off valuable time off the clock on atleast three different scrums along the end wall. The Vipers just couldnt win the battles along the boards were running out of time, in the final seconds a shot from the point would get redirected down low but not enough to get near the net before the final buzzer would sound as PG would pick up just their second win of the season come away with a huge 4-3 victory. Just like last night, the visitors get two quick back to back goals in the opening few minutes of the third to get back into the game. But tonight it was a bit of a different story as the Spruce Kings two goals were to grab and take the lead wich both proved to be the game winner. Once out to a two goal lead PG did a great job at shutting down Vernon's offence weapons, really slowed the game down, tied the puck up along the wall, took some time off the clock and boxed out the Vipers from the front of the net, allowing Liam McCloskey to see and save all sixteen Viper shots this period. Another poor performance by Vernon who didnt look very good for a second straight period. The Vipers would come on late in the second half but didnt really muster much for good opportunities. Most of the Viper shots were from well outside, Liam McCloskey didnt really have to break much of a sweat in the third making several routine saves in the final period. Vernon outshot Prince George 16-7.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Mitchell Oliver (1 assist) I thought played very well on the Vernon blueline. Oliver who looks a little more confident this season, his second with the Vipers saw lots of ice time tonight, made some strong defensive plays.
Colton McCarthy (2 goals) The Viper captain played hard, was going to the net and was rewarded with two powerplay goals.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
After coming home from a five game road trip with just two wins this Viper team didnt look like they played very well on the road. A huge win and statement game last night after a 6-2 victory over one of the Island Division top teams, the Nanaimo Clippers and you gotta wonder where did this Vipers team come from? & then tonight the Viper team that I saw play on fast hockey the past two weeks on the road come back tonight. After a great start, jumping out to a two goal lead the Vipers went flat. After PG's 1st goal early in the 2nd period the Vipers couldnt recover and it cost them. Vernon who was playing with a ton of energy, had lots of jump and intensity in the first twenty minutes didnt show much of anything in the final fourty minutes. The Vipers had several chances to burry PG in the 1st with a two man advantage and several powerplays couldnt put the Spruce Kings aways. Vernon allowed Prince George to hang around and claw their way back into tonight's game. A lack luster final two periods give up two points with the loss. The Vipers didnt show or play with enough grit tonight, they took their foot off the gas after the 1st and almost coasted for the final two periods. A win tonight and the Vipers could have jumped into 2nd place depending on what the other teams did tonight. But a loss to the last place PG Spruce Kings and you have to wonder. Mark Ferner wont be pleased at all with the effort and performance tonight. I know the fans werent. We have seen this in past years, when a last place team or a team with a below 500 record come into town the Vipers cant seem to play a full sixty minutes and end up playing down to the level of the visitors. Five on five I didnt think the Vipers generated much offence and even though they scored three powerplay goals I thought Vernon struggled with the PP going 3-9. The Vipers move-pass the puck around killing off most of the powerplay, with very little to no shots. The Vipers really needed a veteran or older player to step up in tonight's game and nobody did. Riley Brandt didnt do his team much good after taking a very undisaplined penalty on the 3rd PG goal. Very dissapointing. Brendan Barry made his Viper debut tonight, I dont think could be blamed for the four goals but looked a little rusty at times. Gave out some big rebounds, was caught out of position and swimming around his crease at times. Dont forget this kid hasnt played since the Penticton Vees season opener in Salmon Arm on opening night. The Vipers have struggled this season and after last night's big win I thought this was a turning point. With PG in town tonight and Trail here Wednesday here are two big games with four points for you to have as long as you play hard and play sixty minutes, the Vipers have a chance to climb up the ladder in the standings. These are the games you need-have to win if you want to be sucsessful. A very dissapointing loss for sure.
Top Players: (Prince George)
Adam Brubacher (1 goal) I thought played very well on the backend.
Kyle Johnson (2 assists) Played very well picking up two points. Seemed to be involved in the play, read the ice well.
Rylan Bechtel (2 assists) Was another Spruce Kings forward that played-looked very good.
Braiden Epp (1 goal & 1 assist) Also played very well, really stepped up his play as the game went along.
Liam McCloskey (46 saves) Gave his team a chance to win and held his team in the game, especially after the opening period. Making 18 saves in the 1st McCloskey really settled down as the game went on. As the game went on the PG goaltender really controlled his rebound control. Didnt face the near amount of scoring chances in the final two periods but made the saves when called apon. A big boost-win for him and the team.
Game Thought's: (Prince George)
The Spruce Kings come into tonight's game riding a four game losing streak, were beat pretty good 7-3 in Trail Friday looked to be handed another loss tonight after the way the opening period went-looked. The Spruce Kings with a much better game-approach in the 2nd and 3rd didnt get alot of great opportunities but worked hard, battled, competed and earned their goals. The Spruce Kings went to the net, looking for the rebounds, the garbage goals if you want to call it, they dont have alot of flashy players but played hard and earned tonight's victory. PG with several goal mouth scrambles, were looking for the greasy goals and earned a few tonight. Give the Spruce Kings a ton of credit for not folding the tents, they got an early goal to start the 2nd period on the man advantage, this goal gave them some life and confidence. Two big back to back goals put the Vipers back on their heels and gave PG confidence to finish the game. The Spruce Kings defence played much better and very well down the road in the 2nd and 3rd periods, limiting the Viper shots-chances. Prince George also got some incredible goaltending from Liam McCloskey who was very solid in the 1st. McCloskey gave his team a chance to win, didnt see as much shots-Vernon opportunities in the 2nd and 3rd but was solid through out the game.
Jagger Williamson (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
Bo Pellah (1 assist)
1st Star: Liam McCloskey (46 saves)
2nd Star: Colton McCarthy (2 goals)
3rd Star: Braiden Epp (1 goal & 1 assist)
Ryan Lep's Prince George Spruce Kings blog