Sunday, March 6, 2016

Interior Division Semi-Finals: Game 2 Penticton 3 Vernon 2

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 Interior Division Semi-Finals Game 2 as Penticton defeated Vernon 3-2 in front of 1,883 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Andrew Shortridge
Penticton: Zach Driscoll

1st Period: Just nineteen seconds into Game 2 Riley Brandt gets called for charging after laying out a big hit behind the Vees net giving Penticton an early powerplay to start the game. Andrew Shortridge had to be alert early after a quick low shot from the point was deflected on it's way to the net, forced Shortridge into making a big save. The Vees kept pressing before Nick Jones shot was tipped in front by Scott Conway giving Penticton an early 1-0 lead at 1:29 Jones and Easton Brodzinski collected the helpers. The Vipers needed close to three minutes to record their first shot of the period, before getting an early PP of their own less then four minutes into the opening frame. Vernon struggled with the man advantage couldn't get any kind of zone time. The Vees with a good PK used a good strong forecheck to keep the Vipers hemmed in the neutral zone. Vernon without a shot on the powerplay would get three in the dying seconds, one off the stick of Viper captain Colton McCarthy who had a good quality chance in tight, couldn't beat Zach Driscoll as Penticton was able to kill off the minor. The Vipers would jump right back on the powerplay thirty five seconds later. Vernon again struggled with the PP this time around was hemmed deep in their own end, Scott Conway and Nick Jones with a solid forecheck, kept the puck along the boards battling off three Vipers. Conway with a strong penalty kill, ended up loose out front was denied by Andrew Shortridge who was forced into making a big save shorthanded. The Vipers without a single shot on the man advantage, after Penticton with a strong forecheck-penalty kill would kill off the penalty. A few minutes later Odeen Tufto looked to have a great opportunity at an open cage, couldn't get the puck into the back of the net on the wrap around at the ten minute mark. On the same play-shift, back come the Vees, Griffin Mendel carried the play up ice, before breaking free wired a quick shot from the circle was stopped by Shortridge who come up with a big pad save. Two good opportunities at both ends of the rink. The Vees would get their second man advantage just past the midway mark after Vernon would get caught with too many men on the ice. Scott Conway with his second of the night and second on the PP gave Penticton a 2-0 lead at 12:24 Nick Jones with the lone assist. The Vipers would respond and get on the board five minutes later. The Vipers with a strong forecheck down low, allowed Brett Stapley to setup former West Kelowna Warriors forward Hunter Zandee in the slot who beat Driscoll cutting the Penticton lead to 2-1 at 17:22 Stapley with the lone helper. Off the following faceoff the Vees come very close to re-taking their two goal lead after Nick Jones walked in down the left wing, ripped a lazer of a shot, that beat Andrew Shortridge but not the crossbar on a close call. Penticton with a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play. The Vees jump out to an early lead on the powerplay as the first half was basically all specialty teams. The Vipers and Vees exchanged powerplays that lasted for most of the first half. Penticton would grab a 2-0 lead on another powerplay goal, before the Vipers responded late to get within a goal. The Vees had a slight edge in play, but overall Vernon held their own, were only down a goal heading to the 2nd period. The Vipers had troubles getting pucks to the net, didn't get a lot of scoring chances. Penticton's defence was very good, blocked a lot of Viper shots, kept Vernon to the outside. Specialty teams were the difference, as the Vees go 2-2 with the man advantage while the Vipers go 0-2. The Vees penalty kill was very strong. A very vocal crowd at the SOEC, were really giving it to the referee's through out the 1st. Viper captain Colton McCarthy was heckled anytime he was on the ice, as Vees fans were jumping on the second year Viper any opportunity they could. Penticton outshot Vernon 17-6.

2nd Period: The Vees got off to a good start, had the early edge in play. Penticton would get an early powerplay, getting some real good looks at the net from in close. A few deflections in front didn't miss the net by much as the Vees were pressing couldn't capitalize as Vernon was able to kill off the penalty. Owen Sillinger going to the net, couldn't get a good enough of a shot off from in close with two Vipers wrapped around him on a good chance from in tight was kicked out by Andrew Shortridge. Vernon didn't get off to a great start, needed seven and a half minutes to record their first shot of the second period. The Vees seemed to be firing from everywhere, were missing the net often, had troubles hitting the net. Penticton with a strong forecheck early, were winning the battles along the boards. At the midway mark the Vipers couldn't clear the zone, wich allowed Mitch Brooks to spot Nick Jones in the high slot, where his backhand beat Vipers starting goaltender Andrew Shortridge giving Penticton a 3-1 lead at 10:08 Brooks and Luke Voltin picked up the assists. The Vipers seemed to slowly get their game going in the second half and played-looked much better. Vernon with a few scrambles in front of the net, forced Vees starting goaltender Zach Driscoll to make a few tough saves with traffic in and around the blue paint. Just past the halfway mark a Viper player fell into Driscoll, forcing a scrum in front of the Penticton crease, with lots of pushing and shoving going on, before the minor scrum was broken up. With seven and a half minutes remaining, Ben Butcher ripped a quick shot off the right wing, was denied by Driscoll before making a huge pad save off Liam Finlay going to the net in front, two great opportunities by the Vipers couldn't beat the Vees netminder who made his two biggest saves of the night. Former Viper forward Luke Voltin one on one couldn't beat Andrew Shortridge from the slot, after a quick glove save kept this game 3-1. It stayed 3-1 Penticton after 40 minutes of play. The Vees were the better team early and through out most of the first eight to ten minutes but the Vipers responded and turned things around in the second half with a much better performance. Both teams were fairly evenly matched in the second half. For a second straight period, the fans were all over the referees for missing calls and again jumping on Colton McCarthy. Vernon outshot Penticton 11-9.

3rd Period: Early into the final frame Andrew Shortridge and Mitch Brooks got tangled up in the Vernon crease. Brooks bumped into Shortridge who then took a swing at Brooks as the two picked up minors. Both teams were fairly even as the play was back and fourth with not a lot of chances. Callum Volpe with a quick shot from just inside the blueline forced Zach Driscoll to make a quick reaction save, making the pad save off the Viper defenceman. Shortly after while four on four Mitchell Oliver's shot was mishandled by Driscoll before Odeen Tufto buried the rebound cutting the Penticton lead to 3-2 at 8:17 Oliver & Bo Pellah with the assists. This goal gave the Vipers some momentum wich carried on through for most of the period. Vernon slowly started to get rolling and looked to have the Vees back on their heels a bit. Penticton got away from the forecheck, were stepping back, playing more of a defensive game while the Vipers were coming on late, carried most of the play. Vernon with not a lot of pressure, were kept to the outside, limited on their scoring chances. The Vipers were moving the puck well, got some good looks at the net, couldn't get one past Zach Driscoll who had to come up with a few saves in the 3rd. With seven minutes remaining Mac Ferner turned over the puck, wich allowed Luke Voltin to go in for the parcial breakaway was stoned by Andrew Shortridge who had to make his biggest save of the period, keeping this a one goal game. Penticton tightened up defensively and with five minutes to go, really shut down the Viper attack. Vernon now carrying the better of the play, couldn't seem to get pucks to the net, were boxed to the outside, as the Vees come up with some big shot blocks late in the period. late in the period David Eccles was seen making his way down the tunnel to the Penticton dressing room. (I didn't see if he returned) Mark Ferner would call a late timeout before getting Andrew Shortridge to the bench for the extra attacker with 2:09 remaining. The Vees had atleast three or four cracks at the open cage, couldn't put the game away, missing on several shots from the neutral zone. Vernon would get the play deep inside the Vees zone and with a minute remaining get all kinds of pressure down low, moving the puck around the Vipers were unable to get pucks through the maze of defenders in front. With time winding down and inside twenty five seconds Jimmy Lambert looked to have a shot at the wide open net, somehow couldn't tie the game late, the Vipers would get one last crack for a final shot would end up running out of time as the buzzer sounded. Dante Fabbro was down on the ice at the final buzzer (I didn't see what happened) but needed some help off the ice, as Penticton held on for the 3-2 victory and now hold a 2-0 series lead, heading to Vernon for Games 3 & 4 Tuesday-Wednesday. The Vipers with one of their strongest periods of this series, emptied the tank come very close to forcing overtime. Odeen Tufto's goal would get the Vipers to within a goal but that's as close as Vernon would come. I thought Vernon was the better team, carried most of the play, had the Vees back on their heels, especially in the second half. The Vipers didn't get a lot of opportunities, were held to the outside, didn't have a lot of shooting lanes-had troubles getting pucks to the net. Penticton looked to play a more defensive game in the 3rd, laid back got away from the attack-forecheck. Give credit to the Vees defence who did a heck of a job at shutting down the Vipers offence, closed the shooting lanes, blocked shots, limited the Vipers time and space, got some big saves from Zach Driscoll. Penticton outshot Vernon 13-7.

Top Player's: (Vernon)

Colton McCarthy played the villain role tonight. The Viper captain had the crowd all over him through out the contest. Anytime the Viper forward was on the ice, fans at the SOEC were really giving it to him. McCarthy played with an edge, was going to the net, battling, getting under the skin of several Vees players, with little jabs-shots after the whistle. Really mucked it up, worked and played hard. Played with an edge but didn't cross it, by taking undisciplined penalties.

Odeen Tufto (1 goal) I didn't think Tufto had a very good game Friday in the loss after Game 1. The Vipers regular season leading scorer has to be better then Game 1 and I thought really stepped up his play in the 2nd and 3rd periods tonight. Was skating hard, really battled-competed, played with lots of jump & energy in his game, tried creating-generating chances.

Hunter Zandee (1 goal) I thought had a very strong game up front, played hard, worked, battled and competed all night, had lots of jump and energy, played well at both ends of the rink.

Liam Finlay was another forward who had lots of jump, was skating hard, really moved-carried the puck up ice in a hurry tonight. Didn't get in on the score sheet but played very well.

Andrew Shortridge (36 saves) After allowing three soft goals in Game 1, Shortridge responded tonight with a back bounce game-performance. Couldn't be faulted on any of the Vees three goals this evening, made some big saves through out tonight's loss to give his team a chance to win.

Game Thought's: (Vernon)

After a 6-3 loss in Game 1 the Vipers responded with one of their better games in a while, atleast a game that I saw them play in. Vernon come ready to play tonight, played as close to sixty minutes as they have vs Penticton all season, come up just short in Game 2. Overall I thought the Vipers held their own against the Vees for most of the game and really stepped up their play in the 3rd with a solid period. The Vipers played physical, didn't give up as many chances tonight, compared to Game 1 and played with a more balanced attack tonight. I thought Vernon struggled with the man advantage, going 0-3 unlike Game 1 where they went 2-2. The Vipers just couldn't get much going on the powerplay. I thought Vernon's breakout was much better tonight, played better defensively and got the goaltending they needed if they wanted a chance to win tonight. I thought the Vipers did a better job of containing a few of Penticton's super stars. The Vipers emtied the tanks in the 3rd, had some close chances down low-in front just couldn't get the game tying goal. None closer then Jimmy Lambert in the dying twenty-twenty five seconds, somehow missed the open cage at the side of the net. Specialty teams were the difference, and especially in the 1st period. The Vees go 2-2 while Vernon goes 0-2. The Vipers still have to try and find a way to get more pucks to the net, had troubles getting shots-pucks by the Penticton defence. Like Game 1 a very few amount of Viper fans at the game. Very disappointing turnout. The Vipers are sporting their new haircuts-bleached hair for the playoffs. Vipers down 0-2 in the series are in a must win situation come Game 3 if they want to stay in this series. The Vipers have now lost eight straight to the Vees this season and haven't won in Penticton since Game 6 of last year's playoffs.

Top Player's: (Penticton)

Nick Jones (1 goal & 2 assists) Played very well in Game 1 had another solid performance tonight in Game 2. Jones with three points in the win, was one of the better Vees forwards. Was strong on the forecheck-penalty kill, had a chance to give Penticton a 3-1 lead in the 1st period, rang his shot off the crossbar.

Scott Conway (2 goals) For a second straight game Conway picks up two goals in the victory, now has twenty one points in eight games vs Vernon this year. Conway didn't have the same amount of time and space to free wheel like he did in Game 1, was limited to his open ice, scored two powerplay goals in the opening frame, was also good on the PK.

Luke Voltin (1 assist) The Former Langley Rivermen-Vernon Viper showed lots of energy-jump, going to the net, had two grade A chances couldn't solve Andrew Shortridge. I thought looked very good for the Vees tonight.

David Eccles had a solid night on the blueline, was blocking shots, played well defensively went to the Vees dressing room late in the 3rd (I didn't see if he returned) had a strong night in the win.

Dante Fabbro Had another strong night on the Penticton backend. Didn't record any points but was shutdown defensively, really moves the puck well out of his own end, smooth skater, really sees and reads the ice well. Always gets pucks to the net, calm with and without the puck. Went down at the final buzzer (I didn't see what happened) but was slow to get up after the game ended.

Griffin Mendel Was another Vees defender that played very well on the blueline. Jumped up into the play on occasions, moves the puck well, good skater.

Zach Driscoll (22 saves) Improves to 3-0 vs the Vipers this season, shutout Vernon in his previous two regular season games vs the Vipers. Didn't see much rubber-action in the opening frame, made some key saves in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Very quick on his feet, likes to move around a lot.

Game Thought's: (Penticton)

The Vees with a big powerplay goal early, jumped out to a 2-0 lead before getting that all important third goal midway through the 2nd period, wich proved to be the game winner. I didn't think Penticton was as strong compared to Game 1. Tonight both teams were a lot more evenly matched, both teams worked hard, battled and competed but at the end of the day, the Vees come away with a big win to grab a 2-0 series lead heading to Vernon for Games 3 & 4. Penticton's powerplay went 2-4 was clicking in that 1st period, that went 2-2. The Vees with a strong penalty kill, also looked good on the forecheck especially in the first two periods. I didn't think the Vees super stars were given as much time and space-open ice like in Game 1 had to battled-work a little extra for that time and space tonight. For a second straight game the Vees defence was solid, block a lot of shots, close the shooting lanes, really limit the Vipers opportunities and keep Vernon's offensive players to the outside. Especially in the last five minutes of the game. Both teams got away with the usual chippy play now and again. A hard fought playoff game by both teams with good goaltending at both ends of the rink. The Vees improve to 8-0 vs the Vipers this season are 5-0 at home vs Vernon this year. A smaller crowd after Fridays crowd was close to 2,400. The Vees took the first two games in last year's playoff matchup before losing the next three games but ended up winning Games 6 & 7 to win the series.



Brendan Barry (Injured)
Latrell Charleson (Injured)
Charley Michalowski (Injured)


Gabe Bast (Injured)
Colton Poolman (Injured)

Energy Player of the Game:

Luke Voltin (1 assist)

Three Star's:

1st Star: Nick Jones (1 goal & 2 assists)
2nd Star: Scott Conway (2 goals)
3rd Star: Andrew Shortridge (36 saves)

BCHL Game Summary,

Fraser Rodger's Penticton Vees Blog,

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