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-Silverbacks game as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 3-2 in front of 2,402 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Andrew Shortridge
Salmon Arm: Angus Redmond
Before tonight's game the Vipers held a very special pre-game ceremony to retire former Vernon Vipers forward-captain Chris Crowell's jersey #18. Crowell played four years in Vernon from 2005-2009 is just the second Viper in franchise history to have his jersey retired. A special tribute video was shown on the video screen while the Vipers also presented Crowell with a framed Vipers jersey and plaque.
1st Period: The Silverbacks got off to a quick start, showing lots of jump off the opening faceoff. Just twenty five seconds into the 1st period, Kodi Schwarz's point shot was redirected on it's way to the net by Mitch Skapski who just missed low on the far corner on a good quality chance early. About a minute and a half later Josh Laframboise with a quick shot from the slot missed the net on a missed opportunity. The Backs with two real good chances in close. Salmon Arm would open the scoring shortly after. Callum Volpe took a big hit behind the goal opened up some ice before Marcus Mitchell setup "AP" Josh Latta in front with a mad scramble in and around the Viper crease, Latta would get his first career BCHL goal giving Salmon Arm a 1-0 lead at 2:17 Mitchell & Jared Turcotte collected the assists. Just over a minute later the Silverbacks would respond again, Jared Turcotte fed Kodi Schwarz who beat Andrew Shortridge high giving Salmon Arm a 2-0 lead at 3:39 Turcotte with the lone helper. About a minute and a half later Vernon would get the games first powerplay. The Vipers moving the puck around, had good pressure got a little too fancy, passing in tight instead of shooting, getting pucks on goal. Ben Butcher with a great opportunity in close couldn't beat Andrew Redmond. The Vipers would eventually respond with the man advantage, Mitchell Oliver's floater wrist shot from the point somehow got through the traffic in front, found the back of the net getting the Vipers on the board at 6:40 Darren Rizzolo with the assist on a goal I don't think Redmond saw. This goal gave Vernon some life and really a big boost of energy as the Vipers picked up there play, were coming on strong. Both teams really opened up the play, as the pace picked up. Both teams going back and fourth, with lots of action. Jimmy Lambert using his wheels got into the Backs zone before going wide around his defender tried throwing the puck out front to where a Viper player couldn't connect on the pass. Just past the midway mark the Vipers would get their second powerplay of the night. This time Josh Blanchard would go in alone shorthanded for the breakaway couldn't beat Andrew Shortridge low. Jimmy Lambert with a quick release from the slot beat Angus Redmond but couldn't beat the post as SA would kill off the minor. With six minutes left Darren Rizzolo's quick shot from the point was stopped by the pad of Redmond who I don't think saw the shot-puck, was just in the right place at the right time to make the save. Salmon Arm who was outshooting Vernon 4-2 just minutes into the contest were now being outshot 10-5. A few minutes later the Silverbacks would get their first look with the PP. Salmon Arm with a few good looks from in close and down low, just missed the net on some good chances in close. Vernon with a big kill would kill off the minor. With two and a half minutes to go, Ross Heidt with a parcial breakaway missed the net, on a missed opportunity late in the frame. Salmon Arm was up 2-1 after 20 minutes of play. The Backs with a quick-good start, jumped on the Vipers early. Two good opportunities within the first minutes before jumping out to a quick two goal lead. The Vipers responded with a powerplay goal, got the crowd back into the game and come on strong. I thought shortly after the goal Vernon responded, picked up their game & energy really played well to finish the period. Salmon Arm didn't get a lot of chances after the Viper goal. The Silverbacks had a good start but after the first five or six minutes, I thought the Vipers were the better team. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 10-8.
2nd Period: The Vipers would get an early powerplay, their third of the night. Vernon struggled with the man advantage couldn't get much going as SA would kill off the penalty. The Backs then slowly got going and took over the period. The Silverbacks with lots of pressure, had the Vipers back on their heels for most of the period. Early into the 2nd period Nick Hutchison with atleast two good chances couldn't give Salmon Arm a two goal lead. Jared Turcotte with some nice hands, was flying all period buzzing in and out of defenders had two or three quality chances. Marcus Mitchell was hit in front of the Backs bench, before slow getting up. Mitchell took a shot from the puck, while he was down tried crawling to the Silverbacks bench before the play was blown dead. Mitchell was able to get up but looked to hobble off on one foot-skate not putting a lot of pressure on his right leg. Mitchell went straight to the SA dressing room but did return and stay in the hockey game. The Vipers who played so well in the opening period were just a step behind Salmon Arm in the 2nd. Vernon having all kinds of trouble getting through the neutral zone. The Vipers with very little pressure-zone time. Sam DeMelo made a huge defensive play after diving across to breakup a Viper odd man rush. The Silverbacks carried the play for most of the period. In the second half, Liam Finlay with all the work fed Ben Butcher who beat Silverbacks starting goaltender Angus Redmond on the wrap around tying the game 2-2 at 14:24 Finlay & Brett Stapley picked up the assists. On the following faceoff Jared Turcotte was able to skate into the Vernon zone before walking in alone couldn't beat Vipers starting goaltender Andrew Shortridge. The Vipers seemed to gain some life and momentum after tying the game would get some of their better shifts of the period, late in the period. But Salmon Arm poured on the pressure late, The Backs had the Vipers running around in circles in the final two minutes, couldn't really generate or create any real good chances. Bo Pellah would take a very undisciplined penalty at the buzzer after crosschecking a Salmon Arm player In the corner. It was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes of play. The Silverbacks carried most of the play, were by far the better team. The Backs had some real good chances but couldn't capitalize. Salmon Arm also missed the net on some good chances from in close. Vernon quit skating and were caught standing around for most of the period. The Vipers having all kinds of troubles generating any offence, had troubles getting through the neutral zone. It seemed when the Vipers did get into the Backs zone, the puck-play would come right back out. Vernon with a few hard working shifts late in the period were able to tied the game. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 14-11.
3rd Period: The Backs started the final frame on the man advantage, just their second of the evening. Ross Heidt beat Andrew Shortridge but rang his shot off the post as SA come inches away from taking a 3-2 lead. Salmon Arm with some good pressure, had some good looks from in close but just missed the net on several shots as Vernon was able to kill off the penalty. On the following shift Mac Ferner coughed up the puck to Marcus Mitchell who ripped a high hard shot from in close up and over the net, on another Silverbacks missed opportunity. Shortly after Viper captain Colton McCarthy & Joe Sacco would give the Vipers their first lead of the night. McCarthy fed Sacco going to the net who outwaited Angus Redmond who looked to get a piece of the puck-shot as it went in giving Vernon a 3-2 lead at 3:31 sending Kal Tire Place into a frenzy. McCarthy with the lone helper. The play would then go back and fourth as both teams were really skating. Ben Butcher would get back to back opportunities in close, couldn't capitalize. Andrew Shortridge then got caught out of his crease, Shortridge and Callum Volpe looked to get mixed up. Shortridge fired the puck into the corner where a Salmon Arm player was waiting, a quick shot from the corner out front but Vernon was lucky as no Salmon Arm player was in front to tap home the loose puck. Volpe was able to recover and clear the zone. The Vipers with a good chance to take a two goal lead couldn't corall the loose puck on a goal mouth scramble. SA would get their fare chances but had troubles hitting the net, come very close on a few plays but missed the net from in close. Elijiah Barriga took a puck or stick to the face and went down in a hurry. Barriga was bleeding, went straight to the Silverbacks dressingroom where he was attended by the trainer. Barriga would return to the bench late in the period and finish the game. Callum Volpe was high sticked, with no call on the play also went to the Vipers dressing room. With time winding down Brandon West and the Silverbacks would call a timeout before getting Angus Redmond to the bench with 1:38 remaining for the extra attacker. The Backs with good pressure, couldn't get any real good looks at the net as the Vipers were forced into icing the puck atleast three times. A long shot from deep in the Vernon zone just missed the open cage by inches. With time winding down Jagger Williamson and Mac Ferner with two huge shot blocks to help the Vipers hold onto the 3-2 victory. The Silverbacks would protest at the end of the game, the final play should have been called for icing. A heck of a third period as both teams put up a good fight. Joe Sacco's game winner just 3:31 into the 3rd held up for the game winner as both teams had some good chances. Both teams looked fairly even, The Backs had some missed opportunities missing the net from in close. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 11-8.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Chris Jandric (AP) I thought held his own in just his second game as a Viper, played well for a youngster. Was thrown into the fire vs a strong Salmon Arm team and did well.
Mitchell Oliver (1 goal) I thought played fairly well through out the night.
The line of Ben Butcher (1 goal), Liam Finlay (1 assist) & Brett Stapley (1 assist) Was the Vipers best line tonight. These three played with a ton of energy, were flying all night, making some very good plays. Showed lots of chemistry through out the evening. Butcher who has really picked up his skating, is going to the net, using his big body in front and down low to power his way through traffic. Finlay was buzzing all over the rink, really flying, going in and out of defenders was hard to contain. Stapley also played well made some nice plays along the wall to get the puck to Finlay or Butcher.
Colton McCarthy (1 assist) Was big on the faceoffs, won a lot of draws tonight.
Callum Volpe played up front with the Vipers having three forwards out of the lineup, played well. I thought Volpe was one of the better Viper forwards tonight.
Darren Rizzolo (1 assist) I thought had a strong game on the Vernon blueline. Not the biggest defenceman, but was steady all night.
Steven Jandric The older brother of Chris played well-come to play. Didn't get a lot of offensive chances but really worked hard, was chipping pucks in, battled and competed all night.\
Andrew Shortridge (31 saves) Gave up two early goals to start the game, settled down and played very well between the pipes. The veteran 20 yr old was seeing everything, flashed the leather on atleast three or four SA shots. Looked confident, played his position well, was battling through the traffic and bodies in front to try and see the puck-shots. Covers a lot of the net, wich is one reason why the Silverbacks missed the net a lot tonight.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I thought the Vipers played a very good game other then maybe the 2nd period. Give this team credit, they fall behind 2-0 less then four minutes into the game, don't quit. This is a young team with not a lot of experience-veteran players, they could have easily folded the tents and called it a night. For the first time all season, I am now starting to see improvement with this hockey team. Up until Christmas I was seeing the same team, game after game, with very little to any improvement. These kids have really turned this team-season around in a hurry and are making things very interesting to finish the season. Where was this Vipers team before Christmas? Give credit to the Vipers who were also without four regulars (Brandt, Cakebread, Tufto and Zandee). Some of the Vipers younger players really stepped up tonight. Other then the 2nd period I thought Vernon was really skating, working hard, creating and generating chances, got some big defensive plays from their backend, also got the big saves when needed from Andrew Shortridge. I thought the Viper defence did a good job at limiting the Backs chances through out the game. Vernon held their own against a very strong-tough Silverbacks team that until the last two games have had the Vipers number this year. The Vipers have won four in a row for just the second time this season. A huge win combined with a Trail loss to Penticton moves the Vipers five points up on the Smoke Eaters for the fourth and final playoff spot. Another big crowd on hand tonight, the fans have really shown their support towards the Vipers since the Christmas break. Would be great to see crowds like this every Vipers home game, makes for a great atmosphere! It's parents weekend, meaning all of the Vipers parents are in town for the weekend to watch their kids play. Great to see all the parents make the trip to Vernon, welcome! Former Viper Bryce Kakoske was at tonight's game.
I would like to take this time to congratulate former Vernon Vipers captain Chris Crowell on having his jersey/#18 retired tonight before the game. What a great pre-game ceremony for Chris, his wife and his family to see-attend. A very touching-emotional tribute video, brought back some great memories! Some of the best hits/fights from one of the greatest Viper captains-leaders. It was Chris Crowell who year after year would carry this team on his back, playing for the City of Vernon, the Viper fans and the logo on the front of the jersey! Game in and game out Crowell was a true warrior, leader and one of the hardest working Vipers who come to play each and everynight. Leading by example Crowell lead the 2008-09 Vipers to win the Royal Bank Cup in Victoria. I was at the RBC Cup and will never forget that night-game! Congrats to one of the greatest Vipers-captains! Best of luck in your future Crow! #18 will rest up in the rafters of Kal Tire Place for all of us to remember!
Top Player's: (Salmon Arm)
Kodi Schwarz (1 goal) Had a strong night on the backend. Played very well on the Silverbacks blueline. Was getting pucks to the net, has a quick release.
Nick Hutchison who has missed a lot of the Silverbacks season with an injury has recently returned to the Backs lineup. A huge addition to the SA lineup was one of the better Silverbacks. Hutchison was very hard to contain, a force in and around the net, had lots of great chances.
Jared Turcotte (2 assists) Had a strong night for the Backs. Picking up two helpers, Turcotte was flying tonight, really used his wheels, was in and around the net generating opportunities.
Ross Heidt come within inches on a 3rd period powerplay to give SA a 3-2 lead but hit the post. Heidt had a strong night in the loss, was creating and generating chances. Missed the net on a breakaway late in the 1st played well.
Sam DeMelo Also played very well on the Backs blueline. Made a big defensive play to break up a Vernon odd man rush in the 2nd period was strong all night.
Josh Latta (AP) (1 goal) Scored his first career BCHL goal to give Salmon Arm a 1-0 lead. Latta played with a lot of jump/energy was very effective through out the game, was involved in the play, sure didn't look like an "AP" out there.
Angus Redmond (26 saves) Played well in the loss. Didn't have to make any outstanding saves but made the saves when called apon.
Game Thought's: (Salmon Arm)
After winning five straight over the Vipers the Silverbacks have lost back to back games to Vernon. These two teams will meet for the final time this regular season tomorrow night in Salmon Arm. With the loss and a Warriors win over Cowichan, West Kelowna moves four points up Salmon Arm for 2nd place. SA with a strong start, jumped out to a early 2-0 lead looked to walk away with the victory. But just like two weeks ago in Salmon Arm the Silverbacks couldn't hold the lead and would drop their second straight to the Vipers. This was a very good-entertaining hockey game, I thought Salmon Arm played good but had troubles hitting the net. A lot of missed opportunities from great chances in close, but missed the net. The Silverbacks who have the edge in size didn't really use their weight to their advantage. Some good back and fourth play. This could have easily gone anyway and Salmon Arm could have easily won instead of Vernon. SA has now gone winless in their last seven games and struggling. Great to see a good turn out of Silverbacks fans tonight. I heard tomorrow's game in Salmon Arm is very close to a sellout. I would like to send my condolences to the Silverbacks after hearing former Silverback Blaine Jarvis (2002-2004) passed away Tuesday in a snowmobile accident.
Energy Player of the Game:
Liam Finlay (1 assist)
1st Star: Joe Sacco (1 goal)
2nd Star: Ben Butcher (1 goal)
3rd Star: Jared Turcotte (2 assists)
BCHL Game Summary,
BCHL Game Report,
BCHL Text-Game Report,