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 1,523 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Andrew Shortridge
Merritt: Cole Kehler
1st Period: The Vipers would get an early powerplay to start the game, just fifty seconds into the contest. But it would be a sharp Merritt Centennials penalty kill that would go to work. Bo Pellah coughed up the puck at the blueline allowing Brett Jewell to break loose for the parcial breakaway, luckily Jewell didnt get a good shot off allowing Andrew Shortridge to make the save. On the same powerplay, Darren Rizzlolo was forced into making a solid defensive play, breaking up a Merritt two on one shorthanded rush as the Vipers struggled with the man advantage. The Cents were able to kill off the minor. The Centennials would get the games first quality scoring chance after Tyler Ward tried beating Shortridge on the wrap around couldnt jam away the loose puck with bodies in and around the Viper goal. Andrew Shortridge kept his eye on the puck, had that left leg tight against the post before smothering the loose puck. The Cents come out hitting early and often, were really throwing their weight around in the opening frame. Vernon on the other hand was having all kinds of troubles staying on their feet as atleast four or five different Vipers hit the ice after falling on several occasions. Merritt looked to have the better jump carried the better of the play through out the 1st were outshooting the Vipers 5-2 just four minutes into the game. The Vipers looked a little flat and sluggish early couldnt get any real scoring chances going. Nick Jermain would get a great opportunity from the slot forced Andrew Shortridge into making a big pad save keeping this game scoreless. Merritt was the better of the two teams in the first half. The Vipers needed almost ten minutes to get their first good look-opportunity of the game after Steven Jandric with a wicked shot from the high slot couldnt beat former Kamloops Blazers goaltender Cole Kehler who made a big stop. Vernon would get their second PP of the period just past the midway mark and the Vipers would create-generate a few good chances, got lots of pucks to the net before taking a penalty of their own halfway through the powerplay. Merritt would get a shortened penalty wich was their first look with the man advantage but the Vipers would kill off the minor. A few minutes later the Centennials would open the scoring, late in the period. Colin Grannary with a nice move beat Darren Rizzolo along the boards before ripping a hard shot past Shortridge giving Merritt the 1-0 lead at 18:50 Ryan Coghlan with the lone assist. It was 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Cents played very well in the first, carrying the better of the play, were the better team after the 1st period. The Vipers got off to a bit of a slow start, looked shaky on the opening powerplay didnt generate alot of offence. Merritt played a physical period, worked hard. Vernon had all kinds of troubles in their own end, coughed up the puck, gave up several odd man rushes. Vernon outshot Merritt 15-13.
2nd Period: Just fifty six seconds into the middle frame, Griffin James with a wicked backhand beat Centennials starting goaltender Cole Kehler from the goal line tied the game 1-1 at 0:56 Colton McCarthy with the helper. The Vipers come out with some jump, looked to have lots of energy were flying early. Vernon would get an early powerplay and get some good chances. The Vipers firing pucks to the net couldnt get a stick on a loose puck in the crease before Ben Butcher somehow missed the open cage in the final seconds of the man advantage. The Vipers with good pressure, had some good looks couldnt capitalize. A few minutes later the Vipers would go back to the powerplay but this time struggle as Merritt would kill off the minor. It was all Vernon as the Vipers played a whole lot better in the 2nd period, the Vipers with some good chances couldnt find the back of the net. The Vipers dominated the play in the first half, as the Centennials with just four shots in the first eleven minutes. The Vipers would get their third PP of the period but once again struggled. Merritt with another shutdown penalty kill. The Cents seemed to finally get some life late in the frame and get a few decent looks-chances. Inside the final minute Colin Grannary would get a parcial breakaway couldnt beat Vipers starting goaltender Andrew Shortridge before crashing into the net. It was 1-1 after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers responded with a much better period and took it too the Centennials most of the frame. Vernon getting lots of pucks to the net, had some good chances but struggled with the man advantage. Merritt on the other hand played most of the period in their own end, didnt generate much for offence, generating very little chances. Vernon outshot Merritt 17-11.
3rd Period: Just two minutes into the final frame the Vipers with a quick shot from in close forced Cole Kehler into making a big save who couldnt control the rebound as the puck was loose in the crease but a Viper couldnt get his stick on the puck before the Cents defence cleared the puck from the blue paint. Just over a minute later Zack Zorn would give the Centennials the lead on a Viper turnover inside their own zone. Zorn alone in front beat Andrew Shortridge high glove giving Merritt an early 2-1 lead at 3:29 Michael Regush picked up the assist. A wild finish as both teams would go back and fourth. The Vipers would come right back to tie the game less then two minutes later. Liam Finlay alone in front tied the game 2-2 at 5:09 Jagger Williamson & Christian Cakebread with the assists. Just over a minute later Merritt would jump on just their second powerplay of the night. The Vipers with a big penalty kill would kill off the minor. On the following shift Christian Cakebread redirected Jagger Williamson's shot past Cole Kehler giving Vernon their first lead of the night, 3-2 at 8:47 Williamson and Liam Finlay collected the helpers. But within minutes the Cents would tie the game at three on the man advantage. Gavin Gould tied the game 3-3 at 11:33 Brett Jewell and Colin Grannary with the assists. The Centennials really gave it to Griffin James after leaving the penalty box. Andrew Shortridge then robbed former Vipers "AP" defenceman Mark O'shaughnessy in front after making a huge right pad save from in close. A few plays later With Vernon on the PP the Cents with another shorthanded opportunity. Gavin Gould was off to the races for the breakaway couldnt beat the quick glove of Andrew Shortridge. On the following play former Surrey Eagles defenceman Latrell Charleson with a quick shot from the point gave Vernon the 4-3 lead at 15:36 Riley Brandt & Jagger Williamson with the helpers. But less then a minute later Merritt would get a late powerplay. Tyler Ward would get a great look at the net but robbed by Andrew Shortridge who made a quick pad save from in close, keeping the Cents off the board. This was the Centennials only real good opportunity as the Cents PP struggled, couldnt get much of anything going. Vernon did a great job on the PK would kill off the minor still holding a one goal lead. With time winding down, the Centennials would get Cole Kehler to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:07 to go with no real good look at the net or opportunity, Christian Cakebread would miss the open cage from just outside the blueline before Liam Finlay pounced on the rebound, hitting the empty net giving Vernon a 5-3 lead at 19:03 Cakebread and Ben Butcher collected the assists. This was the end of the night for Merritt as Vernon would hang on for the 5-3 victory. What a wild 3rd as both teams went back and fourth. 1-1 entertaining the final frame before both teams would score six goals in the third. Both teams took the lead, Mark Ferner was juggling his line through out the night, but did again in the 3rd. before battling back and fourth. It seemed like no lead was safe this period, Both teams with some chances, both goaltenders played well. Vernon outshot Merritt 13-11.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Latrell Charleson (1 goal) Scored the game winner on the powerplay with just over four minutes to go played very well on the blueline. Charleson has been a big help-addition to the backend. The veteran d-man adds alot to the Viper powerplay, has a quick shot-release, moves the puck in a hurry.
Jagger Williamson (3 assists) Hasnt been the same player, he was in his rookie season last year with his hometown Vipers. Got off to a very slow start this season, struggled early in the season, was out of the lineup with an injury had a good night tonight, picking up three helpers in the win. I liked the line of Williamson, Christian Cakebread and Liam Finlay when they played together at times tonight, I thought these three had some good chemistry.
Odeen Tufto I thought played very well, was skating hard, really sees and reads the ice well, was generating some offensive chances, going to the net, getting pucks to the net, worked hard all night.
Griffin James (1 goal) Played very well on the Viper blueline. James with a wicked backhand early into the 2nd period tied the game on a shot that I think caught Cole Kehler off gaurd. James played hard all night, played well at both ends of the rink, jumped up into the play on several occasions.
Liam Finlay (2 goals & 1 assist) Finlay is another returning Viper that I think has struggled-hasnt been the same player he was last season. Finlay who was all over the ice last year after coming over in a trade during the season with the Vees got off to a bit of a slow start this season. I thought Finlay played & looked like the same Finlay from last season tonight. Was skating hard, always moving his feet, strong with the puck, was hard to contain at times.
Andrew Shortridge (32 saves) Played very well between the pipes made 32 saves in the victory. The veteran 20 yr old goaltender made some big game savers in the 3rd keeping this a tight game. A bigger goaltender, covers alot of the net, plays his position very well, made several big saves through out the game.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
The Vipers didnt look or play that great in the 1st I thought looked flat at times, didnt seem to have that jump. Im not sure what the issue or problem was but several Viper players were falling all over the ice in the 1st period. I thought the Centennials carried the better of the play in the first, but give credit to the Vipers for responding with a much better effort and performance in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Latley the Vipers have played some of their best hockey come the 3rd periods. The Vipers powerplay struggled, going 1-6 the Vipers went 0-3 with the man advantage in the 2nd period, could have maybe put the Cents away instead of needing a late powerplay goal-empty netter to seal the win. I thought Vernon got better-played better as the game went on, sure they didnt play a full sixty minutes and struggled at times but also looked very good at times (especially in the 2nd period). Vernon struggled defensively in their own zone, turning over-coughing up the puck way too many times. The Vipers also gave up several shorthanded opportunities as well as several odd man rushes. The Vipers get back to back wins for the first time since back to back wins over Merritt in mid October. With the win, the Vipers now move seven points up on Merritt. Mark Ferner was mixing up his lines all night. The Vipers who have been struggling the past month or so need wins and need to try and get on a role here. Vernon with a tough schedule coming up will face West Kelowna, Penticton and Salmon Arm twice in the next week and a bit are going to have to play better hockey then they have been if they want to win some of these games.
Top Player's: (Merritt)
Ryan Coghlan (1 assist) played a solid game on the Centennials backend. Has a quick hard shot, gets off a quick release from the point.
Colin Grannary (1 goal & 1 assist) Leads Merritt in scoring, had a strong game for the Cents this evening. Stood out, was hard to defend against, generating lots of chances through out the game.
Gavin Gould (1 goal) Had a heck of a game here last week in the Centennials 4-1 win over the Vipers, got off to a bit of a slow start tonight, but got going as the game went on. Was stopped on a 3rd period breakaway competed and played hard.
Brett Jewell (1 assist) Played well through out the contest.
Tyler Ward I thought had a strong game up front for Merritt. Had some good opportunities, was in and around the net most of the night.
Nick Jermain is a strong skater, good puck handler, moves the puck well, creates and generates chances almost every shift, had a strong game.
Nick Fiorentino had a solid night on the blueline.
Cole Kehler (40 saves) Was on his game, played very well giving his team a chance to win. Didnt make any real big game savers but made some big stops through out the game.
Game Thought's: (Merritt)
I thought the Cents come ready to play, played very well in the opening frame took it to the Vipers and were by far the better of the two teams. Merritt would open the scoring late in the 1st before going to sleep in the 2nd period. The Centennials were a totally different team come the second frame, were outplayed most of the period were luck to be tied heading into the 3rd. In the 3rd the Centennials responded with an early goal to re-take the lead couldnt hold onto the lead as both teams battled hard, in a wild 3rd. Other then the 2nd period Merritt battled and played hard for most of the game, the Cents who looked to have the lead-maybe even come away with the win couldnt tie the game late on a powerplay. Merritt gave up alot of shots but Cole Kehler played well, giving his team a chance to win. This team works hard, plays hard and has given Vernon a good run in the four games this season, is now 1-3 against the Vipers. Merritt has lost four straight after a 4-1 win in Vernon on November 10th.
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Jagger Williamson (3 assists)
2nd Star: Liam Finlay (2 goals & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Christian Cakebread (1 goal & 1 assist)
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