I was at tonight's Vipers-Warriors game as West Kelowna defeated Vernon 5-2 in front of 971 fans at Royal Le Page Place.
Vernon: Brendan Barry
West Kelowna: Matthew Greenfield
1st Period: The Warriors needed just thirty two seconds to open the scoring. The Warriors caught the Vipers defence scrambling in their own end before Jonathan Desbiens setup Garrett Forster in front on a bang bang passing play spotted the open cage giving West Kelowna the 1-0 lead at 0:32 Desbienns and Connor Sodergren collected the assists. The Warriors jumped on Vernon early, with some good pressure in the opening minute and a half to two minutes, were getting pucks to the net, outshooting the Vipers 5-0 two minutes into the hockey game. Two minutes into the period Steven Jandric & Ben Butcher caught the West Kelowna defence napping, going in for the breakaway. Jandric setup Butcher who was stoned by Matthew Green field who come across the blue paint to rob Butcher down low making a huge pad-toe save keeping this a 1-0 game. Three minutes later Quin Foreman thought he put the Warriors up 2-0 at 5:10 after beating Brendan Barry high but the goal was waived off after a Warriors delayed penalty was called just before Foreman touched the puck. The goal was called off with the Vipers going to the man advantage, the games first powerplay. Vernon would get some looks at the net but unable to really generate any real good quality chances as the Warriors would kill off the minor. Just as the penalty expired Liam Finlay dropped back to Christian Cakebread who made his way through the slot before spotting Odeen Tufto who went low fivehole on Greenfield tying the game 1-1 at 7:34 Cakebread & Finlay with the helpers. Just less then two minutes later WK would would get their first look with the powerplay. A good penalty kill by the Vipers and Vernon would kill off the minor. Warriors captain Kyle Marino thought he gave WK a 2-1 lead after beating Brendan Barry in close, the puck rolled through the crease before a Viper defenceman was their to clear the loose puck on a close play. Both teams would exchange powerplays in the second half neither team capitalizing with the man advantage. Just as Vernon would kill off the penalty, Charley Michalowski would drive hard to the net, couldnt beat Greenfield down low made a big save in tight, kept this game tied on a good opportunity by the Vipers with less then two minutes left in the 1st. Veteran d-man Rylan Yaremko was busy exchanging words with Christian Cakebread on two stoppages. Yaremko looked to be trying to get under the skin of Cakebread who wanted no part, skated away. The Warriors looked to be trying to get under the skin of several Vipers during the whistle stoppage through out tonight's game. It was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. The Warriors with a great start, jumped on the Vipers early. WK opened the scoring just thirty two seconds into the game, took it too Vernon the first few minutes before the Vipers settled down. The Vipers responded well and played much better to finish the period. It was fairly evenly matched with both teams playing hard. Vernon outshot West Kelowna 13-11.
2nd Period: Just fifty nine seconds into the middle frame, Christian Cakebread would give Vernon their first lead of the night, after beating his defender cut wide to the net before going hard to the goal on a parcial breakaway deeked out Warriors starting goaltender Matthew Greenfield giving Vernon a 2-1 lead at 0:59 Liam Finlay and Callum Volpe picked up the assists. Three minutes later both teams played a little four on four Kylar Hope beat a Vernon d-man before going to the net couldn't bang home the rebound in front on a good chance in close. A few minutes later the Warriors would get their a shot with the man advantage, West Kelowna's lone opportunity come after Liam Blackburn tried beating Vipers starting goaltender Brendan Barry on a wrap around couldn't stuff it home as Vernon with a good PK would kill off the minor. The Warriors took over the edge in play and carried most of the play this period. West Kelowna with a lot of pressure were held to the outside, didn't get a lot of great looks at the net, did control the play though. The Vipers with just four shots in the first ten minutes were outplayed. Liam Finlay would cough up the puck, forcing a turnover inside the Viper zone. Liam Blackburn made the Vipers pay going high finding the back of the net, tying the game 2-2 at 12:00 Rylan Yaremko and Kylar Hope picked up the helpers. Just eight seconds later the Vipers would lose the draw in their own end, Jonathan Desbiens found the back of the net, giving West Kelowna a 3-2 lead at 12:08 Connor Sodergren and Garrett Forster picked up the assists. The Warriors were all over Vernon at this point. But two minutes later the Vipers responded with a great opportunity to tie the game. Steven Jandric setup Brett Stapley on a two on one, but Stapley couldn't convert on the pass, getting a weak shot off on a missed chance in close. The Vipers battled back and played hard in the last five minutes. Vernon with their best play of the period come on hard to finish the frame. The Viper coaching staff were less then impressed with the two referees this period, were letting both guys know they were missing calls. Both coaches looked to be frustrated with the officiating tonight. WK would get a late PP that would continue into the 3rd. West Kelowna was up 3-2 after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers took an early lead just fifty nine seconds into the 2nd period but it was shortlived as it was all Warriors with West Kelowna dominating the play. Other then the first shift and final five minutes the Warriors carried and controlled the edge in play. Vernon played most of the 2nd in their own end. WK with two quick back to back goals just eight seconds apart, capitalized on a Viper turnover grabbed the lead. Give the Vipers some credit, they were very good on the penalty kill and even though outplayed held the Warriors to the outside, limiting their chances most of the period. West Kelowna may have carried the play but didn't get a lot of grade a chances. West Kelowna outshot Vernon 17-7.
3rd Period: The Warriors started the final frame on the man advantage that was carried over from the end of the 2nd period. Another solid penalty kill by the Vipers would kill off the remainder of the penalty. Liam Finlay would get a great chance to tie the game rang his shot off the knob of goaltender Matthew Greenfield who made a big save five minutes into the 3rd. For a second straight period it was the Warriors who carried the edge in play. The Vipers down a goal heading into the third, couldn't get any sustained pressure had troubles generating some offensive chances. Anytime Vernon did get into the West Kelowna zone it was one shot and back out. The Warriors on the other hand, were carrying the better of the play, didn't get a lot of great opportunities either. The Vipers with just two shots on goal in the first half, were having troubles offensively. Jagger Williamson missed a hit along the end wall in the Vernon zone, looked to be in some discomfort heading off the ice, was looked at by the trainer but stayed in the game. Just past the midway mark Christian Cakebread would go in for the breakaway couldn't hit the net on a missed opportunity. On the following play WK put the game away after Kylar Hope's shot from the corner somehow found the back of the net past Brendan Barry on a soft goal Barry would like to have back. Hope put West Kelowna up 4-2 at 12:43 Jonathan Desbiens and Jared Marino with the helpers. This was a killer for the Vipers who were now down by two with time running out and only three shots on goal at this point. With four minutes to go Connor Sodergren with a quick shot from the slot couldn't beat Barry who responded with a huge pad save keeping this a two goal game. A few shifts later Latrell Charleson was able to walk in from the point and rip a wicked shot from in close couldn't beat Matthew Greenfield who made a big stop. A few plays later Reed Gunville on a parcial breakaway couldn't beat Brendan Barry in close. Vernon would call a timeout with 2:23 to go, would get Barry to the bench for the extra attacker. Tyler Anderson's long shot from the neutral zone would hit the empty net for his first career BCHL goal giving West Kelowna a 5-2 lead at 18:20 Liam Blackburn with the lone assist. Just over a minute later Vernon would get a late PP to finish the game. In the final seconds a scrum broke loose deep in the Warriors zone along the corner boards, some pushing and shoving occurred before several players got involved. Reed Gunville pulled Ben Butcher out of the pile and started feeding Butcher punches before the two both dropped the gloves in the lone fight of the game. Both players were ejected from the game. The Warriors bench was really giving it to Butcher as he made his way off the ice, while a group of fans were taunting Butcher as he went to the Viper dressing room. A long delay at the penalty box as both referees were discussing the penalties for a good two minutes. All of this going on with just one second remaining in the game. After a lengthy discussion there would be no final faceoff as the final buzzer sounded to the end the hockey game. West Kelowna come away with the 5-2 victory. Another solid period by the Warriors who carried most of the play, didn't get a lot of great chances in the first half carried and controlled the play. Vernon on the other hand didn't see much time in the offensive zone, getting very little if any real sustained pressure. The Vipers with just two shots in the first half had three shots with seven minutes to go couldn't get anything going with the offence. Christian Cakebread misses a great opportunity with a breakaway before Kylar Hope's soft goal from the corner seals the Warriors victory. West Kelowna outshot Vernon 13-9.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Brendan Barry (36 saves) Made his second straight start with Andrew Shortridge injured, played well but still had troubles with his rebounds. I thought on a lot of shots from in close the puck was coming out too quickly and into the slot. Would like to have back West Kelowna's 4th goal, a shot along the ice from the corner that somehow found its way past Barry and into the back of the net.
Charley Michalowski who hasn't really done much since coming to Vernon, I thought played very well in the loss. Michalowski was really skating, moving the puck, looking to create and generate chances.
Christian Cakebread (1 goal & 1 assist) Was the Vipers best player tonight. Cakebread another Viper who has been incosistant since coming to Vernon had one of his better games in some time. Really showed his speed and quickness, was skating hard, going hard to the net, also was making things happen through out the game. Missed a great opportunity to tie the game missing the net on a breakaway with just over eight minutes to go.
Steven Jandric another Viper who has been incosistant all season, played well and one of his better games in a while. I thought Jandric played hard, setup Ben Butcher on a first period breakaway who was stopped in close then setup rookie Brett Stapley on a Viper odd man rush late in the 2nd period who couldn't get much on the pass, made some nice passing plays in the loss.
Ben Butcher who has played his best hockey the past three or four games since coming to Vernon, played a strong game tonight. Was robbed in close after getting a nice pass on a two man breakaway early to start the 1st period, battled and competed through out the game. Got into a late scrap with a second remaining in the hockey game, played with some emotion.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
After giving up the games first goal just thirty two seconds into the game, off the opening puck drop I thought the Vipers responded well and played very well in the 1st period. Vernon managed to tie the game and hold their own against West Kelowna in the first twenty minutes. Where were the Vipers in the 2nd and 3rd periods? Vernon outplayed most of that 2nd period were able to grab their first lead of the night just fifty nine seconds into the frame gave up two quick back to back goals just eight seconds apart played most of the period in their own end. The Vipers did do a good job at keeping West Kelowna to the outside and limit their chances, did come back to battle and play a little better the final five minutes. In the 3rd the Vipers just couldn't get anything going. No sustained pressure, three maybe four real good chances all period struggled to get the offence going. Anytime the Vipers did get into the offensive zone, it was one shot and back out. The Vipers also struggled getting pucks to the net in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Just four shots in the first ten minutes of the 2nd and two shots in the first ten minutes of the 3rd. Your not going to win many games like that. Give Vernon's penalty kill a huge pat on the back, I thought the Viper PK was very solid all night. The Vipers had troubles defending against the Warriors who have a much bigger and stronger hockey club, some of West Kelowna's bigger forwards were pushing the Viper defence off the puck at will in that 2nd period. Vernon's road woes continue, have lost seven of their last nine games away from home. The Vipers have just four wins on the road in their last thirteen road games. Vernon plays five of their next seven on the road. The Vipers have troubles playing close to sixty minutes don't have the team that can compete against the Salmon Arm's, Penticton's and West Kelowna's. Vernon has played well against these three teams in some games just don't have the skill-talent level to win those close games. West Kelowna and Salmon Arm are also much bigger and stronger then the Vipers. Vernon just dosnt have the elite-skilled veteran players that can compete against teams like Penticton, Salmon Arm and West Kelowna. Yes the Vipers work hard and compete but don't have the skill level to compete vs the top teams in this league. The Vipers are now 0-2 at Royal Le Page Place this season. After a big win in Merritt Saturday the Vipers schedule dosnt get any easier and needing some big wins. The Vipers travel to Salmon Arm Friday, Host West Kelowna on the 22nd before a big trip to Trail on the 23rd. The Vipers play Salmon Arm three times this month who they have yet to beat this season. The Vipers are now 0-13 vs West Kelowna, Salmon Arm & Penticton this year. Just a very small handful of Viper fans made the trip to West Kelowna tonight. Fred Harbinson and the Penticton Vees coaching staff was in attendance.
Top Player's: (West Kelowna)
Rylan Yaremko (1 assist) Played very well on the blueline, was in the face of several Vipers tonight, but more seemed to have it out with Christian Cakebread. The two exchanged words on several occasions in the 1st and 2nd periods. One of the bigger d-men really likes to get involved in the after the whistle activities, always chirping with someone on and off the ice.
Quin Foreman Another big body for the Warriors I thought played very well up front. Really used his weight and size in front of the net, made his presence in and around the Viper goal. Was involved in the play and always seemed to be in and around the play at all times.
Connor Sodergren (2 assists) Played well through out the game, picking up two helpers.
Kylar Hope (1 goal & 1 assist) I thought was West Kelowna's best player this evening. The veteran forward was buzzing-skating hard all night. Played well with and without the puck, was generating and creating chances all three periods, plays hard, never quits skating.
Scott Allen Is another big defenceman that has some size played well on the Warriors backend.
Jonathan Desbiens (1 goal & 2 assists) Had a strong night picking up three points. Always seems to play well against the Vipers, played well in the victory.
Nicholas Rutigliano also played solid on the blueline.
Matthew Greenfield (27 saves) Didn't see a lot of action but made the saves when called apon. Made a huge save off Ben Butcher just two minutes into the 1st, coming across the crease to make the big pad save on the Viper breakaway. Made a big save off Liam Finlay early into the 3rd just getting a piece of Finlay's shot with the knob of his goal stick then stayed with Christian Cakebread on a 3rd period breakaway before Cakebread ran out of room couldn't hit the net.
Game Thought's: (West Kelowna)
The Warriors improve to 3-0 vs the Vipers this season will travel to Vernon on the 22nd. These two teams will play each other four more times in the next five weeks. Including three games in a row. After a very evenly matched opening period West Kelowna took over in the 2nd and 3rd periods and showed why they are battling Salmon Arm for 2nd place in the Division. With the win tonight the Warriors move to within three points of the Silverbacks who they play Saturday. The Warriors carried and controlled most of the edge in play in the 2nd and 3rd periods, are just that much better then the Vipers. West Kelowna has a big team that can move the puck well. Added two big additions to their lineup with the recent trades from Prince George, picking up Bryan Basilico & Jake LeBrun. The Warriors have a big solid defence that is hard to play against. West Kelowna has gone through eight different goaltenders this season but in seeing Matthew Greenfield for the first time tonight, he could be the guy there looking for between the pipes. WK was kept to the outside a lot through out the game, were limitied with their chances but managed to capitalize on their chances. The Warriors capitalize on a Viper turnover in the 2nd period to tie the game, then win the draw on the following shift and score to grab the lead heading into the 3rd. The Warriors defence was solid in the final frame, shutting down Vernon's speed really limiting their chances and shots on goal. If this team gets hot to finish the regular season, they could upset Penticton or Salmon Arm come playoffs.
Andrew Shortridge (Injured)
Colton McCarthy (Suspended)
Energy Player of the Game:
Connor Sodergren (2 assists)
1st Star: Jonathan Desbiens (1 goal & 2 assists)
2nd Star: Garrett Forster (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Quin Foreman
BCHL Game Summary,
BCHL Game Report,
Kyle Anderson's West Kelowna Warriors Blog,