For anyone who could not attend or watch today’s Vipers game here are my thoughts and views from today’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 today’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 today's Vipers-Kings game as Vernon defeated Powell River 5-3 in front of 1,676 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Andrew Shortridge
Powell River: Jeff Smith
A very evenly matched start by both teams, alot of back and fourth play with very little if any chances and very few shots in the opening minutes. The Vipers would get the games first powerplay just five minutes into the 1st period. With just one shot Vernon couldnt do much with the extra attacker as the Kings were able to kill off the minor. The Vipers would jump back on the man advantage just three minutes later, in the opening seconds of the PP the Vipers with a quick shot from a tough angle forced Jeff Smith into making a tough save before Viper captain Colton McCarthy in front of the net gave Vernon a 1-0 lead at 11:44 Steven Jamdric & Griffin James picked up the helpers. The Vipers outshooting Powell River at this point 6-2. Just two minutes later the Kings would get their first look with the PP didnt generate much for chances as the Vipers killed off the penalty. Alot of back and fourth play with either team not really taking control or getting alot of zone time. Very few scoring chances at both ends of the rink. With 1:51 remaining Callum Volpe with a great opportunity in close couldnt beat Jeff Smith who come up with a big save from in tight, keeping this a one goal game. But back come the Kings off the save, Andrew Shortridge somehow kept the loose puck out, after a goal mouth scramble as both teams with good chances inside two minutes remaining. It was 1-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. After a very disapointing loss to Merritt Friday, the Vipers responded with a great start to this afternoon's game. I thought Vernon held their own against a pretty good Powell River team. The Kings playing their third game in as many days didnt get alot of zone time, took two undisaplined penalties and made a few mistakes-turned over the puck, were only down a goal. Very little scoring chances at both ends of the rink. Vernon outshot Powell River 9-8.
2nd Period: Off the opening faceoff Vipers starting goaltender Andrew Shortridge made a good save off Mitchell Hawes on a Kings rush before Gavin Rauser left alone in the slot wired the puck past Shortridge tying the game 1-1 at 0:40 Hawes and Chris Protopoulos with the assists. You think this goal would give the Kings some life-momentum but it was Vernon who rallied after giving up the game tying goal, come back with a very strong push. The Vipers took over the play and carried the play for a good five minutes or so, getting lots of pressure in the Powell River zone, but just didnt get any real quality scoring plays. Vernon had the Kings hemmed in their own end for a while, before Powell River come right back with their second goal of the afternoon. Jeremy Leclerc with a shot from the point, had a Kings player skate in front of the Viper goal just as the puck somehow snuck through the body of Andrew Shortridge on a goal, Shortridge may want back. Powell River with back to back goals were up 2-1 at 7:50 Jeremy Leipsic & Nick Halagian collected the helpers. It looked like Shortridge may have been screened on the play, but a good seeing eye shot by Leclerc. A few minutes later the Vipers caught turning over the puck, Nick Halagian setup Liam Lawson in the high slot who just missed the far corner on a great play-missed opportunity. Tempers really heated up this period as lots of trash talking being exchanged between both teams before the gloves would drop. Andy Stevens & Callum Volpe would drop the gloves, as both players were tossed from the game. Just a minute later Darren Rizzolo and Curtis McCarrick would drop the mits before both getting ejected from the game. The Vipers come close to tying the game after Brett Stapley setup Ben Butcher in the slot who was stopped by Kings starting goaltender Jeff Smith. Lots of pushing and shoving going on in and after the whistles. Powell River would get their second powerplay of the day. Liam Lawson with the best chance at the end of the man advantage couldnt beat Shortridge as Vernon would kill off the minor. More pushing and shoving as both teams got involved in another scrum late in the period. Lots of after the whistle activities going on in a fiesty second period. The Kings would get a late powerplay, that would continue into the 3rd period. It was 2-1 Powell River after 40 minutes of play. Another fairly even matched period, I thought the Vipers may have had a slight edge in zone time but again not alot of scoring chances. The Kings with a huge goal in the opening minutes tied the game before taking a one goal lead into the final frame. A very chippy period with lots of tension as both teams were mixing it up. Vernon outshot Powell River 15-13.
3rd Period: Powell River started the 3rd with the man advantage that was carried over from the 2nd period. The Kings moving the puck around, got several shots off but either missed the net or were stopped by Andrew Shortridge as the Vipers with a big penalty kill to start the third. Just after killing off the penalty Brett Stapley setup Bo Pellah whos shot went high caught Jeff Smith near or up and around the mask making a difficult looking save. On the following stopage in play Smith had to re adjust his mask. Vernon would tie the game fairly early into the frame after Jagger Williamson setup Hunter Zandee with a nice feed tying the game 2-2 at 6:00 Williamson & Charley Michalowski picked up the assists. Just two minutes later Hunter Zandee sprung Jagger Williamson in all alone beat Jeff Smith fivehole gave Vernon their first lead of the day, 3-2 at 8:02 Zandee with the lone assist. But a minute and a half later the Viper defence got caught flat footed allowing Nick Halagian to spring Jonny Evans in for the parcial breakaway tying the game 3-3 at 9:48 Halagian & Tristan Mullin with the assists. In the second half Jeremy Leipsic would go in all alone for the breakaway but get denied by Andrew Shortridge who come up with a huge save keeping this game tied. A huge save at this point in the hockey game. Colton McCarthy would jump on a rebound in front gave Vernon a 4-3 lead at 14:02 in a while 3rd period. Joe Sacco and Steven Jamdric picked up the helpers. And just less then three minutes the Kings would take an undisaplined penalty giving the Vipers a late powerplay. On the man advantage Bo Pellah's shot spotted Christian Cakebread at the side of the net put Vernon up 5-3 at 16:55 Pellah and Latrell Charleson picked up the assists. Powell River then become unglued taking more penalties as three different scrums took place. Mac Ferner was involved with two different Kings players, while Ben Butcher was also tangling with two Powell River players. In the mean time another scrum was going on along the side wall. Lots of intensity and emotion boiled over in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Mac Ferner would get tossed from the game, while Nick Halagian and Jeremy Leipsic were also given an early shower. The Vipers would come out on top with a four minute powerplay after Leipsic's spearing penalty. Up by two goals and under two minutes remaining Vernon passed the puck around on the man advantage, didnt get many if any shots towards the goal, basically winded down the clock before coming away with the 5-3 victory. What a wild and fiesty period with the Vipers scoring four goals while the Kings lost their cool, taking some undisaplined penalties. I thought the Vipers carried most of the play, capitalized and scored on their opportunities while the Kings didnt mount a whole lot for offence, had troubles getting any real zone time. Vernon outshot Powell River 18-5.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
I thought the line of Brett Stapley, Christian Cakebread (1 goal) and Ben Butcher was the Vipers best unit all afternoon. Stapley who has come along ways from the start of the season, has been settling in-playing very well as of late. I thought managed the puck well, created and generated some offensive chances while Ben Butcher played one of if not his best game as a Viper. Played with lots of jump, was skating hard, made several smart plays today. Cakebread was also skating, moving the puck, was making plays all afternoon.
Colton McCarthy (2 goals) Was involved in the chirpin-after the whistle activities all day long. The Kings really had a hate on for the Viper captain. McCarthy who likes to get under the skin of the other team, did a great job of that today picking up two big goals. I thought took one undisaplined penalty but played hard, was going to the net, battled hard down low and took alot of stick work after the play.
Jagger Williamson (1 goal & 1 assist) Played well scored a real nice breakaway goal in the 3rd to give the Vipers their first lead of the afternoon.
Griffin James (1 assist) Played very well on the blueline, made a solid defensive play in the 2nd to breakup a Kings scoring opportunity.
Hunter Zandee (1 goal & 1 assist) Also played well today, I dont think he stood out all game but made things happen in the 3rd when the game was on the line.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
After back to back very disapointing losses to the Trail Smoke Eaters & Merritt Centennials the Vipers responded with a much better effort and performance today. Catching the Kings at the end of their three game road trip, the Vipers played with lots of energy, intensity and didnt back down from the altercations-scrums. I thought Vernon held their own vs Powell River who shutout the Vipers 3-0 in Powell River on October 2nd played hard-well for most of the game. The Vipers didnt get alot of opportunities but scored-capitalized on their chances-opportunities. What a 3rd period!! Down a goal heading into the 3rd the Vipers exploded with four goals, only gave up five shots in a wild 3rd period. Consistancy has been the Vipers problem all season, from game to game/period to period you never know what Vernon team is going to show up. This was a huge win for the Vipers, who snapped a three game losing streak. With the win Vernon moves back into 4th place in the Interior Division, one point up on Trail for the final playoff spot. The Vipers have a tough schedule coming up after Christmas, need to put together some wins and try and get on a roll.
Top Player's: (Powell River)
Liam Lawson I thought was the Kings most effective-dangerous player this afternoon. Lawson was all over the rink today, skating, moving the puck, creating-generating chances. Has some wheels, can skate and goes to the net. A real crafty player, seems to know where the puck is at all times.
Jonny Evans played well through out the game, had a few looks-chances.
Jeremy Leipsic I thought also played hard, was stopped on a 3rd period breakaway, has some speed, isnt the biggest kid but plays hard.
Nick Halagian (2 assists) Was one of the better Powell River Kings today, picking up two helpers sees and reads the ice well.
Jeff Smith (37 saves) Played well between the pipes. Couldnt fault him on any of the five Vernon goals.
Game Thought's: (Powell River)
The Kings lose all three of this three game road trip were outscored 14-8. The Kings have just two wins in Vernon since 2003-04. I thought Powell River played fairly well in the first two periods fell apart in the 3rd. The Kings playing their third game in as many days didnt get alot of scoring chances-opportunities battled back in the 2nd with two goals to take a lead into the 3rd. Powell River struggled defensively at times, coughing up the puck, made some mental errors in their own end, had troubles getting any kind of sustained pressure in the Viper zone come the 3rd period. Getting just five shots in the 3rd isnt going to win you many hockey games. You could tell this was the Kings third game in three days, Powell River couldnt get their legs going, looked slow at times coming in through the neutral zone, were outskated by the Vipers most of the afternoon. I thought the Kings lacked some disapline today, took some very undisaplined penalties wich cost them. For two teams that only see each other twice a season, both teams sure dont like one another in a very fiesty-chippy game. Both teams playing chippy, talking alot of trash talk between shifts, lots of pushing and shoving going on with several altercations in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Powell River who has had some pretty big teams over the past few seasons didnt look overly big today.
Riley Brandt (Suspended)
Jimmy Lambert (Suspended)
Energy Player of the Game:
Griffin James (1 assist)
1st Star: Colton McCarthy (2 goals)
2nd Star: Hunter Zandee (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Jagger Williamson (1 goal & 1 assist)
Alex Rawnsley's Powell River Kings Blog,