I was at tonight's Vipers-Vees game as Penticton defeated Vernon 6-0 in front of 2,140 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Andrew Shortridge
Penticton: Zach Driscoll
Before tonight's game the Vipers made a special presentation, rewarding Tyson Jost, Liam Finlay & Dante Fabbro with plaques on winning the 2015 World Junior A Challenge with Canada West.
1st Period: The Vipers got into penalty trouble right off the opening faceoff. Captain Colton McCarthy took an unsportsman like penalty just eight seconds into the game giving the Vees an early powerplay. Penticton with just two shots moved the puck around, didn't get a lot of shots-quality looks at the net before getting a two man advantage as Vernon got into penalty trouble not even two minutes into the contest. Just seconds into the five on three, Scott Conway setup Dante Fabbro at the side of the net who beat Andrew Shortridge giving Penticton a 1-0 lead at 1:56 Conway & Tyson Jost picked up the assists. Still on the powerplay, Conway would get denied by Shortridge who just got a piece of Conways shot with his catcher keeping this a one goal game. In the dying seconds of the man advantage the Vees would get a goal mouth scramble, tried banging away the loose puck before Andrew Shortridge was able to cover up, as the Vipers would kill off the second penalty. The Vees were up 1-0 and outshooting the Vipers 7-0 at this point not even four minutes into the period. The Vipers had troubles getting into the offensive zone early. Charley Michalowski would get the Vipers first good opportunity just over five minutes into the frame, was stopped by Zach Driscoll who come up with a big save on Vernon's first shot of the period. On the following play Steven Jandric missed on a great chance on a Viper odd man rush, missed the net firing just wide of the far post. The Vipers with back to back chances. The play really started to open up as both teams really picked up the pace, as both teams were going hard, back and fourth. The Vees carried most of the play with the Vipers holding their own at times. Vernon having lots of troubles getting through the neutral zone, couldn't get any puck possession-pressure in the Penticton end. The Vipers with just two shots on goal in the first half. With just over seven minutes to go, Nicholas Jones with a parcial breakaway couldn't beat Andrew Shortridge down low, who made a big save in tight. A few plays later Odeen Tufto with a hard high shot from the point couldn't beat Zach Driscoll who made a quick glove save keeping this a one goal game. Vernon would get their first look with the PP with just over four minutes remaining, but the Vipers struggled getting any real pressure couldn't tie the game with the man advantage. With a late faceoff in the Vipers zone, Dante Fabbro's point shot would get re-directed on its way to the net, just missing the far corner-post on a missed opportunity with just ten seconds to go in the period. It was 1-0 Penticton after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers got into penalty trouble right off the opening faceoff and it cost them a goal. I thought the Vees were the better team, carried the better of the play. Penticton who was coming off a two week break, didn't show much signs of rust, were skating, moving the puck well, played well. The Vees defence did a great job at closing the gap through the neutral zone, shutting down Vernon's smaller-skilled players. The Vipers also having the past two weeks off for the holidays, held their own at times but had troubles generating any kind of offence. I thought the Vipers were missing that spark, didn't seem to have a lot of jump-energy in their game. Not a real physical period, both teams laid out a few big checks. Vernon with no real pressure or zone time had troubles getting through the neutral zone & getting pucks on net. Your not going to win many hockey games with having just three shots on goal with only a few minutes left in the period. Penticton outshot Vernon 14-6.
2nd Period: In the opening minutes Joe Sacco with a goal mouth scramble, couldn't beat Vees starting goaltender Zach Drsicoll who madea big save in front, with bodies going to the net on a real good scoring chance for Vernon inside the first minute. But back come the Vees on the following play, Nicholas Jones tried setting up Dixon Bowen at the side of the net, who couldn't convert on the tap in, somehow missed the open cage while falling to his knees on a missed opportunity to take a 2-0 lead early to start the 2nd period. Liam Finlay with one of the best chances of the night was robbed by Driscoll who somehow come across the crease to rob Finlay at the side of the net. Vernon would get an early powerplay into the middle frame, just their second of the night. But again struggled. The Vees got control of the puck at one point, and carried the play for a while looking like the team with the extra man as the Vipers were 0-2 with the PP. Vernon with just one shot on the powerplay, had just two shots in the period halfway through the frame. Just after the penalty expired Owen Sillinger on an odd man rush patiently outwaited the Viper defenceman to go down before setting up Tyson Jost going to the net on a beautiful pass-goal to give Penticton a 2-0 lead at 8:57 Sillinger and Easton Brodzinski collected the helpers. Less then three minutes later on the powerplay Scott Conway with a wicked shot from the slot gave Penticton a 3-0 lead at 11:41 Tyson Jost & Easton Brodzinski picked up the assists. For a second straight period the Vipers having troubles getting into the Vees zone, getting pucks to the net and generating offence. Penticton now up by three goals took over the play and were outplaying the Vipers. Jagger Williamson tried to get his team going, come out laying a few big hits inbehind the Penticton net, getting some cheers from the fans at Kal Tire Place. This seemed to send a bit of a message as Vernon picked up the physical play for the following few shifts. Ben Butcher missed the net on a two on one rush with a few minutes to go, missed on a good chance. In the final minute Scott Conway with his second of the night gave Penticton a 4-0 lead at 19:00 Griffin Mendel and Dixon Bowen picked up the helpers. Just sixteen seconds later the Vipers would take another undisciplined penalty, Captain Colton McCarthy with his second undisciplined penalty of the night, was given two and a ten minute misconduct. It wouldn't take long for the Vees to make the Vipers pay. Penticton would get two lucky bounces along the way, before the puck found its way to Dante Fabbro who wired a low shot past Andrew Shortridge giving Penticton a 5-0 lead at 19:36 Scott Conway & Easton Brodzinski with the assists. The Vees with back to back goals just thirty six seconds apart put this game away. Penticton was up 5-0 after 40 minutes of play. The Vees put this game away with four goals this period, carried most of the play. Penticton's top unit-top players took over this period. The Vees defence did another good job at limiting the Vipers chances, didn't give Vernon many second looks-opportunities in close. Zach Driscoll wasn't very busy but made his best and biggest saves of the night in the 2nd period. I thought the Vipers had some chances early but again had just three shots in ten minutes. The Vipers offence really struggled, had troubles generating any kind of threat. The Vipers need to stay out of the penalty box, especially against a strong powerplay like the Vees, gave up two PP goals. Penticton outshot Vernon 16-10.
3rd Period: Colton McCarthy sat out half of the period, for his ten minute misconduct at the end of the 2nd period. With the Vees up 5-0 and in full control not a lot of action to start the final frame. It looked more like a pond hockey game. Penticton would get an early powerplay but this time around unable to capitalize. The Vees buzzing in and around the goal, had several looks-chances from in close couldn't beat Vipers starting goaltender Andrew Shortridge. The Vees would get a bit of a scare after Easton Brodzinski went feet first into the end boards, was very slow to get up limped off the ice and went straight to the dressing room with the help of the trainer. I didn't see Brodzinski return to the game. Odeen Tufto with a great chance in close was stopped by Zach Driscoll who come up with a big save stopping Tufto in close before Tufto was levelled in front of the net after the play. Off the same play, the Penticton Vees would rub more salt into the open wound, after capitalizing on a Viper turnover behind the net. Owen Sillinger's shot-pass looked to hit someone in front of the Vernon goal before Scott Conway must have touched the puck last as it slowly trickled over the goal line to give Conway his third goal of the night and Penticton a commanding 6-0 lead at 11:05 Sillinger with the lone assist. Just two minutes later Vernon would get just their third powerplay of the night, but couldn't capitalize. The Vees with a strong penalty kill. Even up 6-0 the Vees looked to be toying with the Vipers at times, still having several shifts controlling the play. The Vipers looking to break Zach Driscoll's shutout bid couldn't get much of anything going all night and again this period. Not much of a final frame as it looked like both teams just wanted to wrap things up and move onto the next game. A few pushing and shoving matches in and after a stoppage in play but no real threat of any real altercations to boil over at this point. In the end Zach Driscoll would hold on for the shutout as Penticton would defeat the Vipers 6-0. In a period where its already 5-0 and the games basically over, this wasn't much of a period to watch or even get excited about. It was more like watching a pond hockey game. The Vipers struggled offensively all night and it showed again in the 3rd getting very few chances-opportunities. The Vees put this game away in the 2nd period added one more in the 3rd for good measure. Vernon outshot Penticton 10-6.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Odeen Tufto I thought was one of the Vipers lone bright spots tonight. Tufto seemed to be the only player who was skating and willing to compete-work. I really liked his energy, was skating hard all night, going to the net, played as best he could in a 6-0 loss.
Liam Finlay returned to the Vipers lineup after missing the past seven games playing at the World Junior A Challenge was by far one of the Vipers more dangerous forwards. I thought Finlay had some chances, tried creating and generating some offensive zone chances played well in a tough loss.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
This wasn't the way the Vipers wanted to start the new year! Vernon returned to action playing their first game in two weeks didn't look very good after the 1st period. I thought the Vipers played ok in the 1st period, held their own at times but looked a little flat. I thought the Vipers were lacking that spark, didn't show or have that jump-energy in a big game vs Penticton. I didn't think the Vipers were skating for most of the night, lost a lot of battles, made some very poor/sloppy passes, took some undisciplined penalties, cant afford to take penalties vs a top club like the Penticton Vees. Vernon gave up three powerplay goals. Down just a goal after the opening period, this was still anyones game. I thought Vernon had some good chances early in the 2nd but couldn't capitalize on their chances. If the Vipers score on one of these chances, its a different game-score. The Vipers then fell apart in the 2nd gave up four goals to fall behind 5-0. Vernon had troubles all night, getting pucks to the net, getting any zone time and getting any kind of real pressure on the Vees. The Vipers struggled offensively, had some chances but couldn't capitalize or burry those chances. The Vipers had just three shots on goal in the first fifteen minutes of the 1st period, then had just three shots in the first ten minutes of the 2nd period. Your not going to win many hockey games that way. I think vs a very good skilled, smooth skating, puck moving team like Penticton, you need to play physical, come out hitting, set the tone and I don't think Vernon did that tonight. I really liked the Vipers physical play-game vs the Vees back on December 4th. A hard fought 5-4 double overtime loss in a game they could have easily won. I thought one of if not the Vipers best game of the season. I didn't see that effort-performance tonight, in a very disappointing loss on home ice in front of one of the bigger crowds of the year. This team has struggled through out most of the season, playing with lots of inconsistency, they haven't really shown much improvement from the start of the season. Lets face it the Vipers just don't have the team or skill level to match up or play against a team like Penticton. The Vipers have been in atleast four of the five games with the Vees this season, but tonight Penticton really showed whos better. It dosnt get any easier as the Vipers with a tough schedule to finish the season, welcome back the Vees Friday in a re-match, the six and final meeting of the season. The Vipers are still a point ahead of Trail in the standings for the fourth and final playoff spot, with the Smoke Eaters hosting the Surrey Eagles tomorrow. Former Vipers captain Lennie Rampone was in attendance tonight.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Colton Poolman I thought played very well on the Vees backend. Played-showed a lot of confidence tonight, was good with and without the puck.
Domenic Masellis also had a strong game on the blueline. Played well through out the game.
Nicholas Jones has really impressed me in the five games I have seen him play vs the Vipers this season. Jones a good skater, has some good hands, creates and generates a lot of offence, gets involved in the play, goes to the net. Really sees and reads the ice well.
Scott Conway (3 goals & 2 assists) Is a Viper killer! Conway now has sixteen points vs Vernon this year in five games. This kid is fun to watch, even though he plays for the Vees. Has a wicked shot, goes to the net, seems to know where the puck is at all times. Very dangerous with the puck. Gave the Vipers trouble all night, hard to contain and to defend against.
Tyson Jost (1 goal & 2 assists) I think Graham Turnbull and Don Klepp said it best in the post game show over the radio after the game. Jost didn't stand out all night, but picked up three points, all on the Vees first three goals.
Easton Brodzinski (4 assists) Another kid who has played very well vs the Vipers this year. Collecting four assists tonight had a big game up front for Penticton. Played physical, was going hard to the net most of the night, is another player who sees-reads the ice well. Another weapon on the Vees roster, that's hard to contain and play against. Went hard into the end boards in the 3rd after getting tangled up with a Vipers stick, was slow to get up and slowly limped off the ice, went straight to the Vees dressing room. I didn't see him back on the bench.
Dixon Bowen (1 assist) I really liked this kids game this evening, I thought batted hard, competed and played very well in all three periods.
Owen Sillinger (2 assists) Played very well in the 6-0 victory.
Dante Fabbro (2 goals) It seems like Fabbro plays well against the Vipers each time they meet. Fabbro with two powerplay goals had a strong game on the blueline. The second year Vees defenceman has a great shot, is hard to beat one on one.
Zach Driscoll (26 saves-shutout) Picked up his third shutout of the season, and his second vs the Vipers this year improved to 13-2 I don't think faced a lot of real tough shots but did make a few big saves to record the shutout. Driscoll also got a lot of help from his defence tonight, who really shut down the Viper forwards, limiting their shots-chances. I thought made his biggest save off Liam Finlay in the 2nd period. At times through out the game went several long periods without facing a shot. Good on the kid to stay focused and in the game.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
The Vees improve to 5-0 vs the Vipers this season, are 2-0 in Vernon have won six straight over the Vipers going back to last season. The Vees are now 8-3 in their last eleven games at Kal Tire Place & are 11-4 in Vernon the past five years. The Vees have had the Vipers number the past four year's are 24-7-0-0 vs Vernon. The Vees get a big powerplay-two man advantage to start the game, getting an early goal on the road was huge. They take the crowd out of the game early, they put the Vipers back on their heels a bit and get rolling-some confidence going. Penticton has lost three of their last five games away from home, get a big win to start the new year and the first of two back to back meetings to finish the season. I think the Vees could have potted home one or two more goals in that 1st period, really took over the game in the 2nd with four goals to basically put the game away. The Vees with so much talent are hard to defend against, hard to contain and hard to play against. The Vees with a strong powerplay, scored three powerplay goals played very disciplined tonight. Penticton stayed away from the after the whistle activities and didn't get involved in the crap during and after the play. You have to give the Vees defence some credit tonight, I thought they did a heck of a job at shutting down Vernon's smaller forwards, really limited their time and space. The Vipers had all kinds of trouble on the rush, getting pucks to the net, creating-generating chances was due to a strong defensive effort by Penticton. This team is hard to beat, they can beat you with all four lines, move the puck well, and have a ton of offensive power up front. Just by looking at the out of town scoreboard, I think Salmon Arm is the team that can and will give the Vees a good run come playoffs.
Demico Hannoun (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
Easton Brodzinski (4 assists)
1st Star: Scott Conway (3 goals & 2 assists)
2nd Star: Dante Fabbro (2 goals)
3rd Star: Domenic Masellis
BCHL Game Summary,