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-Smoke Eaters game as Vernon defeated Trail 5-1 in front of 1,380 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Andrew Shortridge
Trail: Bailey MacBurnie
1st Period: Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start. It would be the Vipers who would get the games first good opportunity of the game after Callum Volpe's shot from the blueline would get redirected on its way to the net but stopped by Bailey MacBurnie. About a minute later Max Newton was alone in front had lots of time in close couldnt beat Andrew Shortridge in tight who stood tall covered the net well. About a minute later former Vernon Viper forward Kurt Black with a quick snap shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle forced Shortridge into making a quick glove save as Trail with back to back scoring chances. A few minutes later the Smoke Eaters with a goal mouth scramble couldnt find the back of the net, with a ton of bodies in and around the Vernon goal. Andrew Shortridge had to be sharp made a save or two down low before the Vipers were able to clear the front of the net. The Smokies slowly started to come on and take it to Vernon who was back on their heels a bit. The Vipers didnt get off to a great start, didnt show much jump or intensity looked a little dopey at times. Trail with tons of speed early, were moving the puck well creating and generating chances. The Smoke Eaters were outshooting the Vipers 9-3 not even seven minutes into this hockey game. The Vipers had all kinds of trouble getting through the neutral zone were being bottled up by the Smokies defence. Vernon with very few scoring chances played most of the period in their own end. In the second half the Vipers would get a great opportunity after Liam Finlay come down on an odd man rush tried setting up Jimmy Lambert who redirected Finlay's pass just wide of the net. There wasnt a whole lot of intensity in this game on both sides of the rink, neither team was overly physical. Max Newton & Kale Howarth with good opportunities couldnt beat Andrew Shortridge in the second half had several good chances but couldnt beat the Viper goaltender. With just over three minutes to go in the opening frame the Vipers would capitalize after winning a draw deep in the Trail zone. Joe Sacco setup Colton McCarthy down low who gave Vernon a 1-0 lead at 16:56 Sacco with the lone assist. This goal seemed to give the Vipers a little life as Vernon would push back in the final minutes of the period with a few good hard shifts. The Vipers with a few chances late were up 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. A bit of a slow start before Trail got going and took it to Vernon. The Smoke Eaters with several good opportunities couldnt get one past Andrew Shortridge who was on his game tonight, made several key stops keeping the Smokies off the board. The Vipers got off to a slow start and couldnt recover as they were outplayed most of the period. Vernon didnt have any jump or intensity in their game at all, the Vipers looked slow and sluggish managed to get some big saves from Shortridge before getting the opening goal of the game late. Trail outshot Vernon 15-10.
2nd Period: The Vipers would get the games first powerplay early to start the second frame after Kurt Black highsticked Darren Rizzolo. Vernon on a four minute powerplay, would struggle early. The Vipers would get a quick shot off from the high slot were stopped by Smoke Eaters goaltender Bailey MacBurnie before scoring on just their second shot on the man advantage. Mitchell Oliver's point shot was tipped in front by Joe Sacco giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 7:07 Oliver and Riley Brandt with the helpers. A few minutes later Steven Jandric setup Hunter Zandee on a Viper odd man rush couldnt hit the net on a missed opportunity. Not alot of opportunities from either team in the first half. Both teams with just a few shots each in the first ten minutes of play. Vernon's defence were having some problems this period after Trail was allowed to skate in close, untouched would get a shot-scoring chance walked right through the Viper defence. On one play Mac Ferner was caught way up ice, the Smokies come on three on one were stopped by Vipers starting goaltender Andrew Shortridge. Vernon would get into penalty trouble as the Smoke Eaters would get a two man advantage. The Smokies would get several good chances but again couldnt beat Andrew Shortridge. Ryan Swanson's shot from the point was stopped by Shortridge. Rhett Willcox couldnt beat the Viper netminder before Kurt Black was denied in front. Shortridge and the Viper penalty kill were good as Vernon would kill off Trail's two man advantage as the Viper faithful gave the Vipers a good round of applause for their penalty kill. The Vipers would get a late powerplay that would carry over into the 3rd period. Vernon was up 2-0 after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers picked up their play in the middle frame coming out with a little more jump & intensity. Vernon would get a huge goal with the man advantage to give them a two goal before killing off a Smokies two man advantage. Andrew Shortridge was the difference making several big saves on the penalty kill. I thought Vernon played fairly well in the first half, didnt get alot of scoring chances while Trail other then the two man advantage didnt get as many scoring chances as they did in the 1st period. Again not alot of physical play in this game. Riley Brandt with the only real hits after two periods. Trail outshot Vernon 13-11.
3rd Period: The Vipers started the 3rd on the PP that was carried over from the 2nd period. Vernon didnt generate much with the extra man couldnt capitalize. A few players later the Vipers would jump back on the powerplay, just their third of the night but again couldnt capitalize. Liam Finlay with a nice tic tac toe play couldnt put home the rebound in front as Trail would kill off the minor. The Vipers with a good start to the period looked hungry, were driving to the net, creating and generating chances had some of their better opportunities in the first half of the period. Liam Finlay with some nice moves couldnt find the back of the net, Jimmy Lambert and Riley Brandt with opportunities couldnt beat Bailey MacBurnie. Cooper Leitch going hard to the net along side another Trail forward was stopped by Andrew Shortridge who made a big save in close. On the same play, Riley Brandt with a nice move, went hard to the goal went upstairs on MacBurnie giving Vernon a 3-0 lead at 8:41 Brandt's goal was unassisted. A big save at one end, while the Vipers repsond with a goal coming back the other way. This was the Smokies first good look at the net-scoring chance of the period. This was a huge goal as Vernon was pressing, also puts them up by three. Just fourteen seconds later the Vipers would respond. Odeen Tufto setup Liam Finlay who would get rewarded for his hard work tonight. Finlay put Vernon up 4-0 at 8:55 Tufto & Steven Jandric collected the assists. This goal kinda sunk the Smokies who were outplayed to this point in the period. Trail who were the better of the two teams going into the 3rd couldnt get much going in the final frame. Bailey MacBurnie got caught out of his goal, while the puck come out front. A mad scramble in front of the Smoke Eaters net. Vernon couldnt capitalize before the Smokies would get the loose puck and clear the front of the open net. John Laurito lead a two man rush setup Cooper Leitch who broke Andrew Shortridge's shutout bid cut the Vernon lead to 4-1 at 13:57 Laurito with the lone helper. This goal seemed to wake up Trail as the Smokies come back with a few push back shifts. The Vipers now back on their heels a bit as Trail was coming on with some good pressure. Once again Shortridge had to be sharp making some nice saves late in the game. Were the Vipers sitting back? or was Trail coming on late? I think it was a combo of the two. Andrew Shortridge made a nice glove made several big saves late. Trail with a good finish couldnt get to within two to make a game of it late. In the dying seconds Jimmy Lambert with a nice shot gave Vernon a 5-1 lead at 19:58 Colton McCarthy with the assist. The Vipers would come away with a 5-1 victory take a 2-1 season series lead. I thought Vernon played their best at the start of the 3rd. The Vipers couldnt capitalize on two early powerplays carried the play, had some of their better chances this period were skating, moving the puck and creating opportunities. I also liked the Viper defence, well in the first half. The Vipers did a great job at holding back the Smokies, giving up very few and limited shots-chances. Two quick back to back goals fourteen seconds apart put this game away. Trail would break Andrew Shortridge's shutout bid come on late with a good push back couldnt solve the Viper goaltender who made some big saves in the second half. Trail outshot Vernon 14-13.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Brett Stapley didnt see much if any icetime in the 3rd I thought played very well through out tonight's game. The youngster held his own for most parts, was involved in the play, did alot of good things tonight.
The line of Riley Brandt (1 goal & 1 assist), Colton McCarthy (1 goal & 1 assist) & Jimmy Lambert (1 goal) was Vernon's best unit. These three were the Vipers best players tonight. I thought Brandt responded with a statement game tonight after taking two very undisaplined penalties in Saturday;s loss to Prince George. Brandt come ready to go tonight, was the Vipers most physical player, played hard for a full sixty minutes, competed, come back on the backcheck to break up a play, did all the little things right. McCarthy has come on the last few games played a strong game this evening. The Viper captain was going to the net all night, getting in front on the PP, going to the grey areas was hard to move from the front of the net. Played a hard gritty game. Lambert scored once had atleast two or three different chances had a strong game. Another Viper that was going to the net, was really skating hard, made some nice plays, had a big game.
Liam Finlay (1 goal) Has struggled lately, hasnt had a whole lot of puck luck finally would find the back of the net after going to the net. Finlay who hasnt looked like the same player from last season played and worked hard tonight. Made several nice passes-plays to create and generate some offence. Was really skating, was hard to contain.
Callum Volpe I thought played well on the Vipers blueline. Made some heads up plays, didnt look out of place.
Andrew Shortridge (41 saves) Gave the Vipers a chance to win and kepy his team in the game, especially in the opening period. Shortridge was forced into making several big saves in the 1st and again late in the 3rd with the Smoke Eaters pressing. The twenty year old goaltender looked calm, confident and played his position very well. Dosnt give up alot of rebounds if any, made several key saves through out tonight's game. Was very good on the penalty kill when the Vipers needed him the most, made several big saves as Vernon would kill off both minors. Without Shortridge, this could have easily been a different outcome.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
After a sloppy and not very good finish Saturday I thought the Vipers would have come out alot better then they did. I didnt think Vernon was ready to go tonight, as the Vipers didnt have much jump or intensity in the 1st period. The Vipers werent skating, looked sluggish at times were outplayed and lucky to be in the game. Andrew Shortridge made several big saves keeping his team in the game. Volton McCarthy with a huge goal late in the 1st gave Vernon the lead heading into the 2nd period. The Vipers would get a big goal on the PP early into the second played a little better. Both teams had troubles generating shots and offence in the middle frame. I really liked the Vipers start to the 3rd, up two goals the Vipers come out hard, finally we saw them use their speed and skill getting their better opportunities in the final frame. The Vipers with several good chances did a great job at holding off the Smoke Eaters for most of the first half of the third. Vernon with two quick back to back goals put the game away but not before Trail had a good push to finish the game. The Vipers relied on Shortridge in the final seven or so minutes to come away with the win. The Vipers with one powerplay goal still struggle with the man advantage in my mind. Way to many passes, dont move the puck in a hurry for that quick one timer from the point. Riley Brandt with the only real physical pressence made for not alot of hitting tonight.
Top Players: (Trail)
Kurt Black had a strong game, had some good chances couldnt find the back of the net. Was driving-going to the net alot, worked hard.
Max Newton had a strong game up front for the Smokies. Newton with several good opportunities couldnt solve Andrew Shortridge.
Ryan Swanson had a solid game on the backend.
Cooper Leitch (1 goal) Was going to the net often, had some chances, played and worked hard all evening.
John Laurito (1 assist) Has some wheels, this kid was skating hard all night, played a full sixty minutes was creating and generating opportunities.
Game Thought's: (Trail)
For the second time this season the Trail Smoke Eaters come into Vernon and play very well wound up on the short end of the stick. I thought the Smokies were the better of the two teams for most of the night. Trail with a very strong 1st period had some good chances but couldnt beat Andrew Shortridge. The Smoke Eaters had the Vipers back on their heels couldnt get the games first goal before giving up a late goal. Trail was the better team after the 1st and deserved a better outcome. Both teams didnt get alot of shots or grade A chances in the 2nd, The Vipers did get a few looks-opportunities but not many while Trail's all come on the two man advantage. The Smokies needed a goal with the lengthy two man advantage once again couldnt solve Andrew Shortridge. After killing off two back to back Vernon powerplays to start the 3rd the Smokies give up two back to back goals just fourteen seconds part wich basically puts the game away. This was a big blow to Trail who worked and competed so hard, couldnt get one now down four in the final frame. Trail just couldnt muster much for offence in the first half of the 3rd would finally get one past Shortridge, seemed to give them some life but with time not on their side. The Smoke Eaters with a ton of pressure had several good chances once again couldnt beat Andrew Shortridge who was solid between the pipes for Vernon. The Smokies with a good fight didnt get any breaks or bounces. I really liked Trails top two lines, both units created and generated alot of good opportunities. If Trail scores once or twice in that first period, this is a different hockey game. Not one of your more entertaining hockey games with lots of mistakes. Not alot of hitting-intensity coming from either teams made for a pretty dull game.
Jagger Williamson (Injured)
Enery Player of the Game:
Liam Finlay (1 goal)
1st Star: Riley Brandt (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Andrew Shortridge (41 saves)
3rd Star: Joe Sacco (1 goal & 1 assist)
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