I was at tonight's Vipers-Vees game as Penticton defeated Vernon 4-1 in front of 2,576 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Andrew Shortridge
Penticton: Anthony Brodeur
1st Period: Just twenty nine seconds into the game The Vees would get an early powerplay after the Vipers would lose Riley Brandt for ten minutes. Brandt was given two minutes for checking to the head and a ten minute misconduct. The Vees with just two shots had troubles getting organized as the Vipers come up with a big penalty kill off the start of the game, killed off the penalty. Penticton would take over the edge in play, carried the play for the following few minutes before the Vipers would get the games first good opportunity of the night. Odeen Tufton setup Jimmy Lambert on an odd man rush, but Lambert couldn't convert on the pass missing the net in close. A few minutes later Andrew Shortridge made a big save in close before Owen Sillinger missed the net from a shot in close. Both teams with missed opportunities early in the hockey game. The Vees carried the majority of the play for the entire period. Penticton with lots of pressure had the Vipers hemmed inside their own end most of the 1st period. Shortridge kept this a scoreless game after robbing Owen Sillinger at the side of the net making a huge save halfway through the period. Vernon couldn't muster any kind of offence, were having all kinds of troubles getting through the neutral zone. In the second half Nicholas Jones was stopped by Shortridge who come up with another big save this period. Shortridge was very solid keeping the Vipers in the game. Vernon went atleast eight minutes without getting a shot on goal. It was 0-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers held their own at times but for most of the 1st it was all Penticton. The Vees carried and dominated the edge in play. Andrew Shortridge was busy, making several big-key saves keeping his team in the game. Penticton outshot Vernon 16-6.
2nd Period: The Vees come out strong, just 1:10 into the middle frame Tyson Jost went through atleast three different Viper defenders before being stopped in close on a nice rush forcing Andrew Shortridge into making a big save early, The Vees stay with the puck, get the rebound, through the puck out front where it almost hits a Vipers defenceman in front before going through the crease, where Shortridge was able to smother the puck and stop play. The Vees kept coming and come in waves. Shortridge made two big pad saves before making a quick glove save, keeping this game scoreless. For a second straight period it was all Penticton, as the Vees carried the better of the play and period. Vernon for a second straight period couldn't get anything going, having all kinds of trouble getting through the neutral zone. The Vees would get their second look with the man advantage just past the halfway mark, Jagger Williamson & Colton McCarthy come up with some big shot blocks, helped the Vipers kill off the penalty. McCarthy was slow to leave the ice after the penalty kill, looked in a lot of pain on the Viper bench. McCarthy looked like he couldn't hold his own weight, went down to his knees several times before hanging his head over the boards. McCarthy seemed to be ok and stayed in the game. A few minutes later Vernon would get their first powerplay of the evening and get their best chances of the night. Anthony Brodeur who hadn't seen much rubber this game made a big stop in close before somehow managing to keep the puck out on a goal mouth scramble, as the Vipers come close to opening the scoring. On the next play Brodeur makes a huge save at the side of the net stopping Liam Finlay before robbing Christian Cakebread on a second opportunity. Brodeur with some huge saves late in the period kept this game scoreless as Penticton would kill off the minor. It was 0-0 after 40 minutes of play. For a second straight period the Vees dominate and carry the majority of the play had some real good chances to start the period couldn't beat Vipers starting goaltender Andrew Shortridge. For a second straight period the Vipers struggled offensively to generate any kind of offence. Vernon finally tested Vees starting goaltender Anthony Brodeur late in the frame on the man advantage. The Vipers held their own at times and in spurts but were outplayed for two straight periods. Penticton outshot Vernon 15-11.
3rd Period: The Vipers looked to be slowly coming on to start the final frame before having to kill off a five minute major and lose their Captain Colton McCarthy for the remainder of the night. McCarthy was given five minutes and a game misconduct for a check to the head just 2:11 into the 3rd. Penticton struggled with the man advantage couldn't seem to settle things down, get anything going as the Vipers with a good penalty kill early before Hunter Zandee outraced a Penticton defender for the loose puck, went in alone before wiring a rocket of a shot post and in past Brodeur opening the scoring, giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 3:54 sending Kal Tire Place into a frenzy. Zandee's goal was unassisted as the Vipers bench erupted. But on the following shift, just twenty seconds later Nicholas Jones and Scott Conway with some shifty passing spotted a wide open Easton Brodzinski who tied the game 1-1 at 4:14 Jones and Conway collected the helpers. And then just fourty five seconds later Vees Captain Tyson Jost with a highlight reel goal undressed Andrew Shortridge giving Penticton a 2-1 lead at 4:59 Nicholas Jones & Easton Brodzinski picked up the assists. The Vees kept coming but once again Andrew Shortridge come up with some big stops as the Vipers would kill off the remainder of the five minute major. Just after the penalty expired the Vipers would get just their second man advantage. Vernon moving the puck around, didn't really generate much couldn't tie the game as Penticton would kill off the minor. Vernon didn't fold the tents, come right back with some hard working shifts and slowly started to come on. Odeen Tufto couldn't beat Anthony Brodeur in close who made a nice blocker save before stopping Joe Sacco off the left wing. Owen Sillinger would pounce on a loose puck in front off a lucky bounce off the end wall before finding the back of the net giving Penticton a 3-1 lead at 10:35 former Viper Luke Voltin with the helper. This game was far from over as the Vipers bounced back and kept coming, playing their best hockey of the night. Vernon really using their speed were finally finding ways to break through the Penticton defence. Jagger Williamson, Christian Cakebread and Liam Finlay all with good opportunities couldn't beat Brodeur who made some solid saves in the third. The Vipers now carrying the play, had the better edge in play were taking it too the Vees. Late in the game Jimmy Lambert was stoned in front after a sprawling Anthony Brodeur robbed Lambert in close. The Vipers would call a timeout with 2:08 remaining and get Andrew Shortridge to the bench for the extra attacker. But Scott Conway who has been a Viper killer this season put the game away with the empty netter giving Penticton a 4-1 lead at 18:18 Just before the final minute Ben Butcher got Taylor Ward to drop the gloves in the lone fight of the game. Both players were tossed from the game. In the end the Vees would come away with the 4-1 victory. The turning point of the period and the game would have to be the five minute major penalty early to start the 3rd. The Vipers open the scoring shorthanded but two quick back to back goals by the Vees give them the lead and the win. I thought the Vipers played their best period of the night, come the 3rd. This was by far Vernon's best period. The Vipers for the first time all night, created and generated lots of great opportunities. The Vees on the other hand up by two goals, seemed to take their foot off the gas and play more a defensive game in the 3rd. The Vipers carried the better of the play and were the better team this period. Penticton outshot Vernon 17-10.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Andrew Shortridge (41 saves) Sporting his new set of Viper pads-goal equipment, Was by far the Vipers best player tonight. Shortridge kept his team in the game, especially in the first two periods. If it wasn't for the veteran 20 year old this could have easily been a 11 or 12-1 final. The Vees could have easily had two or three goals in each of the first two periods.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
The Vipers didn't get the result they wanted but held their own at times before playing their best hockey in the 3rd couldn't hold off the Vees giving up four goals in the final period. I thought Vernon was outplayed pretty good and most of the 1st and 2nd periods, held their own at times but also relied on Andrew Shortridge to bail them out on several occasions. The Vipers may have still been in the hockey game heading into the 3rd didn't generate or show much for offence the first two periods. Vernon had all kinds of trouble getting through the neutral zone in the first two periods, couldn't find a hole in the Penticton defence. I counted maybe four scoring chances in the 1st and 2nd periods in periods where most of the play was in the Vipers end. Give the Vipers credit, they held the 3rd best team in Canada scoreless heading into the 3rd but were outplayed in those two periods. I thought the 3rd was Vernon's best period of the three. Yes they took a five minute major that cost them two goals but overall I really liked the Vipers game, Even though they gave up two powerplay goals, I thought the Vipers penalty kill was good, did a good job at keeping the Vees to the outside and didn't allow Penticton to setup-create a lot of chances. I also thought the Vipers did a much better job at shutting down Scott Conway. Conway scored the empty net goal in the 3rd but didn't stand out nearly as much as in the previous five games. I thought the Vipers had lots of great opportunities, were generating and creating chances, really using their speed and skill to make those chances happen couldn't beat Anthony Brodeur who was solid come the final frame. Now why couldn't this team play like this for all three periods? I don't know. I thought the Vipers battled, competed and played hard lost to a very good but strong Penticton team. Yes the Vipers played better then last weeks 6-0 loss to the Vees, but lets face it, they still lost and still were outplayed for most of the night, well atleast two periods. Vernon just cant compete and play to the Vees level for sixty minutes, they just don't have the players, the skill or talent like Penticton or for that fact teams much better then them in the standings. The Vees have outscored the Vipers 25-10 in six games this season. The Vipers catch a break tonight after Trail falls 4-1 in Coquitlam. Vernon is still one point back of the Smoke Eaters for the final playoff spot. Merritt upsets West Kelowna tonight, moving to within four points of the Vipers. The Vipers are now 4-12 vs Penticton at home since 2010. The biggest crowd of the season tonight, great to see! The Vipers have now lost eleven of their last fifteen home games. Other then Trail the Vipers have yet to beat a team ahead of them in the Interior Division. The Vipers are 0-12 vs Salmon Arm, Penticton & West Kelowna. Former Vipers defenceman Max Mowat was at tonight's game.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Colton Poolman played very well on the Vees backend. The Penticton defence was very solid for most of the night, especially in the first two periods.
Nicholas Jones (2 assists) Had another strong game vs the Vipers. It seems like Jones always comes ready to play the Vipers, picked up two assists in the win. This kid can really skate, move the puck, and has some wheels, very hard to contain at times.
Tyson Jost (1 goal) Looked very good through out the game tonight. I thought Jost was dangerous with the puck all night, was really skating, shifty with the puck, hard to contain. Jost seemed to get some extra attention tonight, had Christian Cakebread and another Viper under his skin but battled through it, stayed in the game and played his game.
Easton Brodzinski (1 goal & 1 assist) Had a strong game up front for Penticton. Another player that has played very well against Vernon this season. Really sees and reads the ice well, goes to the net a lot
Anthony Brodeur (34 saves) Only saw six Vernon shots in the opening period, made some of his biggest saves late in the 2nd on a Viper powerplay before making some huge game savers through out the 3rd period. Brodeur come up with some key saves in the third.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
The Vees were by far the better team in the 1st and 2nd periods couldn't solve Andrew Shortridge-burry their chances. Penticton carried the play and dominated the first two periods, the only problem was the game was still scoreless. The Vees give up the games first goal, shorthanded but don't panic. Two quick back to back powerplay goals just twenty seconds later give Penticton their first lead of the night, help pick up their sixth win over the Vipers this year. I thought the Vees had some great looks at the net-lots of chances in the 1st and 2nd periods couldn't beat Shortridge. In the 3rd the Vees capitalized on their chances and then let Anthony Brodeur do his job to come away with the 4-1 win. Penticton wins the season series 6-0 is now 25-7 vs the Vipers the past four seasons. The Vees are now 9-3 in Vernon in their last twelve games. The Vees can really move the puck, make that great first pass coming out of their own end, really move the pace in a hurry. Very hard to contain on the rush, played very well defensively especially in the first two periods, didn't give Vernon much of anything. Really shut down the Viper offence until the 3rd. The Vees also don't take a lot of penalties, are pretty disciplined. This team is going to be hard to stop come playoffs. With the win, the Vees clinch a playoff spot.
Demico Hannoun (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
Hunter Zandee (1 goal)
1st Star: Easton Brodzinski (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Nicholas Jones (2 assists)
3rd Star: Andrew Shortridge (41 saves)
BCHL Game Summary,
BCHL Game Report,
Fraser Rodger's Penticton Vees Blog,