Wednesday, February 17, 2016

West Kelowna 6 Vernon 4

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-Warriors Anti-Bullying game as West Kelowna defeated Vernon 6-4 in front of 2,672 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Andrew Shortridge
West Kelowna: Keelan Williams

1st Period: Just two minutes into the game, Odeen Tufto's shot from the high circle handcuffed Keelan Williams before a goal mouth scramble, as the Vipers couldn't burry the loose puck on a good early chance. On the following play, Liam Finaly alone in the slot somehow missed the net on a good chance from in close. The Warriors would get the games first powerplay, just three minutes into the opening frame. But it would be the high energy from Riley Brandt who lead the Viper penalty kill on an odd man rush, Brandt kept and fired couldn't beat Keelan Williams on a good opportunity shorthanded. Brandt would leave the ice with a bit of a limp, was slow skating off but stayed in the hockey game. West Kelowna with not a lot of great looks with the man advantage was unable to capitalize as Vernon killed off the minor. About a minute later Callum Volpe's quick shot from the point was stopped by Williams before Liam Finlay jumped on the rebound couldn't beat the Warriors netminder who come up with a big pad save keeping this game scoreless. The Vipers playing with a ton of energy and using their speed had lots of spark, carried the better of the play early. A fairly physical period with both teams laying the body, getting in each others faces. Just before the midway mark the Vipers would spring Liam Finlay for the breakaway, Finlay in alone was denied by Keelan Williams before Ben Butcher buried the rebound giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 9:19 Finlay with the lone assist. A Warriors defenceman chasing down Finlay over skated the puck, this allowing Butcher to capitalize on the rebound in front. On the following play the Vipers would get their first look with the man advantage. Odeen Tufto with a quick shot from the slot was stopped by Williams on a bang bang play in front couldn't give Vernon a two goal lead. The Vipers with some pressure, couldn't capitalize as WK killed off the minor. One minute later the Vipers would take an undisciplined penalty and it cost them. The Warriors with some nice passing would tie the game. Kristian Blumenschein setup Jonathan Desbiens down low who fed a wide open Kylar Hope at the side of the net, who hit the open cage tying the game 1-1 at 14:15 Desbiens and Blumenschein collected the helpers. This goal seemed to change the flow of the period/game. West Kelowna seemed to gain some life-momentum and took over the edge in play. The Vipers didn't seem to have that same jump/energy seemed to be a step behind the Warriors. WK come on strong to finish the frame, as the Warriors who didn't seem to generate much zone time in the first half, took it to the Vipers late in the period. Quin Foreman with a shot from in close beat Andrew Shortridge but hit the post before Jonathan Desbiens had a good look-opportunity shortly after couldn't beat the Vipers goaltender on back to back chances by West Kelowna. Inside the final minute a minor scrum took place, deep in the Vernon zone with some pushing and shoving. The Vipers would come out with their second powerplay of the morning, but it would be the Warriors who would get a shorthanded odd man rush opportunity late in the period. Brett Mennear racing for the loose puck was looking for the two on one, before Bo Pellah showed a lot of hustle to get back, made a huge defensive play to swat the puck away from Mennear, breaking up a Warriors scoring chance. Vernon couldn't capitalize before the buzzer. It was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. A lot like yesterday's game in West Kelowna the Vipers with another strong start. Vernon come out with lots of jump-spark, really skating, using their speed the Vipers with some good chances early were the better team and carried the better of the play in the first half. But a undisciplined penalty cost Vernon, allowing the Warriors to tie the game-gain momentum and take over the remainder of the period. The Vipers quit skating, were back on their heels didn't show-play with with that same jump they had in the first ten minutes. West Kelowna who was being outshot 11-6 at one point got life after their PP goal, didn't generate a lot for offence in that first half, picked up their game and play in the second half and were the better team. West Kelowna outshot Vernon 16-12.

2nd Period: Vernon started the middle frame on the man advantage, that was carried over from the 1st period. But the Vipers struggled before West Kelowna would kill off the remainder of the minor. Newly acquired Nic Rasovic showed some hustle ripped a quick low shot from just inside the blueline forced Warriors starting goaltender Keelan Williams into making a big save off the rush. A few minutes later the Vipers tried springing Liam Finlay for the breakaway who just couldn't catch up to the puck, Finlay would stay with the play-puck setup Ben Butcher who would walk in untouched was stopped by Williams from in tight. Williams with two big saves in the opening few minutes of the 2nd period. Two minutes later the Warriors would get their third powerplay of the morning. But for a second time time today, Riley Brandt led a shorthanded odd man rush. Brandt & Viper captain Colton McCarthy with a two on one shorthanded rush, Brandt walked right in before going up and over the net, missing on another missed opportunity. WK would eventually move the puck around before Kristian Blumenschein's point shot found it's way through traffic in front, beating wich looked like a screened Andrew Shortridge gave West Kelowna a 2-1 lead at 9:10 Bryan Basilico & Jonathan Desbiens with the assists. The Warriors weren't finished their, just 1:08 later Quin Foreman with a nice solo effort found his way through several Vernon Viper defenders dished off to Connor Sodergren who beat Vipers starting goaltender Andrew Shortridge in close put West Kelowna up 3-1 at 10:18 Foreman & Tyler Anderson picked up the helpers on a goal I think Shortridge may want back. On the following shift, Riley Brandt with a big hit up high along the end wall, forced another scrum as both teams got involved in more pushing and shoving, some punches thrown before Mitchell Oliver and Garrett Forster tangled in a wrestling match that ended up way over inside the Viper blueline. With only one referee today, it took the help from both linesmen to break things up in a hurry wich gave the Warriors a powerplay. Brandt would be lost for the remainder of the period after picking up the automatic ten minute misconduct for checking to the head. The Vipers with a fairly good penalty kill, would kill off the penalty. Vernon unable to generate much for offence, struggled creating-generating chances. The Warriors really used their size and strength to keep Vernon to the outside, boxing out the smaller Viper forwards. The Vipers had troubles getting sustained pressure. Garrett Forster would come close to putting the game away with a quick snap shot from the circle catching Shortridge back in his net gave West Kelowna a 4-1 lead late at 16:47 Jake LeBrun with the assist. The Vipers come very close to getting within two goals in the final seconds, after a shot from the side wall looked to catch Keelan Williams off guard. Williams was forced to make a diving play-save at the side of the goal after the puck was very close to the goal line. Williams with a big save to end the 2nd period. West Kelowna was up 4-1 after 40 minutes of play. The Warriors with a strong period scored three times to put the Vipers in a huge hole heading into the 3rd. WK with two quick back to back goals were very good defensively, shutting down the Viper attack. Like I said earlier the Warriors really used their size and strength to man handle the smaller Viper forwards, limiting their time and space. Vernon with not a lot of sustained pressure, had two real good quality chances early but couldn't muster much for offensive chances this period. West Kelowna was the better of the two teams and it showed on the scoreboard. West Kelowna outshot Vernon 15-9.

3rd Period: The Vipers would make things interesting, just over two minutes into the final frame Steven Jandric went hard to the net, was stopped in close before Brett Stapley buried the rebound at the side of the net, cutting the Warriors lead to 4-2 at 2:11 Jandric & Bo Pellah with the assists. Twenty three seconds later former Langley Rivermen Ben Butcher with a huge hit in behind the WK goal, fired up Reed Gunville who went right after Butcher as the two dropped their gloves in the lone fight of the day. In a fairly lengthy scrap both players would get tossed from the game. Just two minutes later Vernon would get an early powerplay. Not getting a single shot with the man advantage the Vipers struggled in a very dismal looking PP. West Kelowna getting a little careless would get into some 3rd period penalty trouble, taking yet again another minor less then a minute later. Vernon would move the puck around, fired a quick shot through the crease where no Viper forward was there to tap it into the open net, the Vipers with just two shots didn't get much sustained pressure were still down two goals. About a minute and a half later Brett Mennear went to the net hard, bumping into Andrew Shortridge wich put Vernon back on the powerplay for a third time this period. The Vipers with two decent chances in close once again couldn't muster much for offence before the Warriors capitalized on some sloppy defensive play-coverage by the Vipers. Nicholas Rutigliano was able to beat Shortridge in close, giving West Kelowna a 5-2 lead at 12:35 Kylar Hope and Connor Sodergren collected the assists as West Kelowna with a big shorthanded marker as well as three big penalty kills all in the same frame were up by three on the road. Just after the penalty expired Bo Pellah would take an unsportsmanlike diving penalty, giving WK a powerplay. The Warriors with a few good looks-chances were unable to capitalize as Vernon killed off the minor penalty. As fans were heading for the exits the Vipers pulled to within two goals. Odeen Tufto in front cut the Warriors lead to 5-3 at 18:22 Christian Cakebread and Nic Rasovic picked up the helpers. The Vipers would get Andrew Shortridge to the bench for the extra attacker with 55 seconds remaining before Callum Volpe's shot from the blueline found its way to the back of the net, cutting the West Kelowna lead to 5-4 at 19:20 Mitchell Oliver with the assist. Mark Ferner would call a timeout before once again getting Shortridge to the bench for the extra attacker with about thirty three seconds to go, but WK would seal the victory with a Jonathan Desbiens breakaway empty netter at 19:44 giving West Kelowna a 6-4 lead. Brett Mennear with the lone assist. The Warriors would hold onto the 6-4 win. Vernon blew their chances after getting three straight powerplays, needed to capitalize on one of if not two of these PP's. The Vipers with a very dismal powerplay, didn't get much sustained pressure, struggled finding ways to generate offence. Just like the 2nd period the Vipers with very limited opportunities. Giving up the shorthanded goal was big, wich proved to be the game winner.  The Vipers made things interesting in the end, but it was too little too late. Give full credit to the Warriors who had a very solid defensive period, killed off three straight penalties, scored once shorthanded for an insurance marker, were the better team in the final period. Up 4-1 heading into the 3rd West Kelowna was able to sit back a bit and focus on shutting down the Viper offence. Vernon outshot West Kelowna 15-13.

Top Player's: (Vernon)

Liam Finlay (1 assist) Was by far Vernon's best player today. Just like yesterday in West Kelowna, Finlay controlled and carried the Viper offence, didn't put up the points-numbers but was the go to go in creating-generating offensive chances for the Vipers. In both losses vs the Warriors, Finlay was really flying, used his wheels and skill to create/generate opportunities.

Hunter Zandee I thought played with a lot of speed/energy, the former West Kelowna Warrior really grinded hard-battled hard this morning in the loss.

Ben Butcher (1 goal) Losing Butcher to a fight early to start the 3rd was a big loss for the Vipers. Butcher who has been playing his best hockey as of late since being traded to Vernon has been that bigger body-older veteran forward the Vipers can lean on in games like these. I thought Butcher played very well before being tossed from the game after dropping the gloves. Was going to the net, on a team with not a lot of size Butcher was able to get to the front of the net-go to the greasy areas and not get knocked off the puck/pushed around.

Game Thought's:

The Vipers with back to back losses to the West Kelowna Warriors I thought played much better in yesterday's 4-1 loss in West Kelowna. Other then the 2nd period letdown, I thought Vernon played a much more complete game-effort yesterday. The Vipers with a strong-good start, got off to a good start played very well for the first half but couldn't keep pace playing with the same kind of energy-jump for the remainder of the morning. I thought the Vipers carried the better of the play-were the better team in the first ten minutes or so of that first period but taking that undisciplined penalty-giving up that powerplay goal, seemed to take the wind out of their sails. The Vipers didn't look like or play the same as prior to that goal. Vernon seemed to not have that same jump-energy for the remainder of the 1st and even in the 2nd and 3rd periods. I thought the Vipers struggled offensively getting chances-looks at the net in the 2nd and 3rd periods, didn't get a whole lot of opportunities, but also missed-didn't capitalize on their chances when they got them. The Vipers with a very dismal looking powerplay, struggled getting any kind of sustained pressure especially with three straight powerplays in the 3rd. The Vipers have now lost four straight at the worst time of year, Vernon with just five games remaining is two points up on 5th place Merritt for the final playoff spot. The Centennials with just four games left in the season. The Vipers schedule dosnt get any easier with a game in West Kelowna Friday before playing in Chilliwack Saturday. Are the Vipers going to sneak into the playoffs? or just miss the playoffs by two points? These last two weeks of the season are going to be interesting. The Vipers wore their special anti-bullying jerseys, wich were all bright pink with navy blue trim while the Warriors wore their special anti-bullying jerseys, wich were all white with pink and light blue stripes-patches. A great turnout of youngsters at today's game from several different Elementary schools around town filled a good portion of Kal Tire Place. A lot more adults-seniors then I expected to be at today's game.

Top Player's: (West Kelowna)

Quin Foreman (1 assist) For the second straight game, I thought played very well vs the Vipers. Foreman looked good in the victory over the Vipers Tuesday, was steady through out the game today. Really uses his size to get by his defenders, always goes to the net, is a gritty player that works hard-competes.

Kristian Blumenschein (1 goal & 1 assist) Was solid on the Warriors blueline picking up two points. Was steady all morning, getting shots off from the point, also hard to beat one on one.

Brett Mennear (1 assist) Played with an edge, played a gritty hard nosed game.

Connor Sodergren (1 goal & 1 assist) Played very well for West Kelowna, scored a real nice goal in the 2nd period to give the Warriors a 3-1 lead.

Garrett Forster (1 goal) I thought played very well this morning.

Scott Allen One of the bigger d-men in the league, gave the Vipers smaller forwards all kinds of troubles to play against. Really used his size and strength to push the Vipers around.

Kyle Marino Had another good game, also played well in yesterday's win over Vernon.

Keelan Williams (32 saves) Gave up two late goals in the final minutes of the hockey game, with the Vipers pressing I thought was very good between the pipes for the Warriors. Williams made a few big saves off Liam Finlay early in the 1st period had to make a few big-key saves early to start the 2nd with the game tied 1-1.

Game Thought's: (West Kelowna)

The Warriors a lot like yesterday didn't get off to the start they wanted, I didn't think the Warriors generated much for chances or had a lot of zone time, seemed to gain some life-momentum after tying the game on the powerplay. It was then that West Kelowna seemed to take over the edge in play and carry the better of the play for the remainder of the opening period. The Warriors with a very strong 2nd period, put the Vipers on the ropes scoring two quick back to back goals just over a minute apart, would get three in the 2nd period to take a 4- lead into the 3rd. The Warriors who have a big strong club, really showed-used their size and weight, pushed the Vipers around a lot, especially in that 2nd period. WK with a very solid defensive game, limited the Vipers chances, boxing Vernon to the outside. Since the 2010-11 regular season the Warriors have just three wins in their last nineteen games at Kal Tire Place, can now make that four wins in their last twenty games in Vernon. West Kelowna improves to 5-1 vs the Vipers this season have gone 9-1-1-0 since a 3-2 loss in Vernon on January 22nd. The Warriors move nine points up on Salmon Arm for 2nd place, are now one of the hottest teams in the league, having won ten of their last eleven & winning seven of their last eight road games. Watch out for the Warriors come playoffs. I know Penticton is the team to beat and by far heavily favorites but don't count out West Kelowna just yet. Speaking of the Vees, Head Coach-GM Fred Harbinson and his coaching staff were at today's game.



Jagger Williamson (Injured)
Jimmy Lambert (Injured)

West Kelowna:

Lane Gilliss

Energy Player of the Game:

Liam Finlay (1 assist)

Three Stars:

1st Star: Jonathan Desbiens (1 goal & 2 assists)
2nd Star: Connor Sodergren (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Kristian Blumenschein (1 goal & 1 assist)

Kyle Anderson's West Kelowna Warriors Blog,

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