I was at tonight's Game 4 of the Interior Division Semi-Finals as Penticton defeated Vernon 6-2 at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Andrew Shortridge
Penticton: Zach Driscoll
1st Period: The Vipers would get the games first powerplay, less then three minutes into the opening period. Mitchell Oliver couldn't control the bouncing puck, before Scott Conway broke free, would come in one on one before getting a parcial breakaway couldn't beat Andrew Shortridge shorthanded, who come up with a big save early. Vernon struggled with the man advantage and would register just one shot late on the PP. Ben Butcher's hard shot along the ice, forced Zach Driscoll into kicking out the right pad-leg made a big pad save as the Vees were able to kill off the minor. Penticton carried the early edge, were firing pucks on goal early and often were outshooting the Vipers 6-1 at one point less then five minutes into the game. Vernon was having all kinds of trouble breaking out of their own end, as well as going through the neutral zone, as the Vipers with several soft-poor passes, were turning over the puck often early in the opening frame. As the period continued both teams looked fairly even with not a lot of scoring chances at both ends of the rink. Penticton was getting their fare shots on goal, while Vernon struggled getting pucks to the net through out the period. The Vees would open the scoring just past the halfway mark. Dante Fabbro would be denied by Shortridge, the Vipers couldn't clear the front of the net, wich allowed Scott Conway to bury the loose puck in the crease, giving Penticton a 1-0 lead at 10:21 Fabbro and Tyson Jost collected the helpers. Shortly after Hunter Zandee with a hard working shift, stepped over the blueline, ripped a low shot that was stopped by Zach Driscoll who once again made another big pad save. On the following play Vernon would jump on their second powerplay. Odeen Tufto with a brutal pass, turned the puck over inside the neutral zone allowed Nick Jones to go in alone for the breakaway, beat Shortridge to give Penticton a 2-0 lead at 12:28 Jones goal was unassisted. Jones goal-shot wasn't registered on the shot clock, as the Vees still had nine shots on the shot clock. The Vipers struggled with PP were hemmed inside their own blueline, as the Vees with a strong forecheck had the Vipers back on their heels. In the dying seconds of the powerplay, Mac Ferner fell at the blueline wich allowed Owen Sillinger to walk in alone for the shorthanded breakaway, Sillinger beat Andrew Shortridge just as the penalty expired giving Penticton a 3-0 lead at 14:12 Sillinger's goal was unassisted. For a second straight goal, the Vees goal-shot was put up on the shot clock, as the Vees still sitting at nine shots, when it should have read eleven. Vernon didn't record a single shot were now 0-2 with the man advantage. Mark Ferner would call a timeout to try and rally the troops. Just a minute later Penticton would get their first look with the powerplay, but the Vees didn't generate much as the Vipers come up with a big penalty kill, would kill off the minor. The Vipers with just one shot the entire period, didn't get their second shot until very late in the frame. Penticton was up 3-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers didn't look very sharp, didn't have that intensity-emotion that played with in last night's win, showed no real signs of jump or energy looked flat, made several poor-soft passes, had all kinds of troubles coming out of their own end and breaking through the neutral zone, turned over the puck way too many times. Vernon struggled with the man advantage, went 0-2 with the PP had just one shot on two powerplays. Penticton was getting lots of pucks to the net, didn't get a lot of scoring opportunities, capitalized on their chances. Yes the Vees outshot Vernon but in no way was that the way the game was going, the game was even at times with the Vipers basically gift wrapping two goals. If the Vipers don't give up the two breakaway goals, this is a 1-0 hockey game after the 1st period. The Vees defence was very good, really took away the shooting lanes, limited Vernon's chances. Penticton outshot Vernon 13-2.
2nd Period: The Vees waisted very little time to jump on Vernon early. The Viper defence had troubles getting out of their own end, were hemmed inside their own zone before Scott Conway setup Easton Brodzinski who gave Penticton a 4-0 lead at 0:54 Conway & Nick Jones with the assists. Vernon would get one back, finally getting on the scoreboard. Nic Rasovic setup Steven Jandric for the breakaway who beat Vees starting goaltender Zach Driscoll cutting the Penticton lead to 4-1 at 4:12 Rasovic and Bo Pellah picked up the helpers. This was the Vipers first shot of the period and just their third shot of the evening. Just over two minutes later the Vipers would get their third powerplay of the night, but for a second time tonight, the Vees would score shorthanded. A long dump in play from centre had the puck ring around the boards, Vipers starting goaltender Andrew Shortridge come out to play the puck, that took a weird bounce off the end glass-boards, come right out front to a wide open Nick Jones who hit the open cage, giving Penticton a 5-1 lead at 6:57 Jones second of the game, was unassisted. This gave the Vees fans a good opportunity to start the chant "Go Vees Go" Go Vees Go" echoing through out Kal Tire Place. The Vees would get called for a second penalty, giving Vernon a short two man advantage. The Vipers passing the puck around, waisted more time off the clock, got just a few shots towards the net, as Penticton with a good defensive penalty kill, would kill off both minors. A penalty filled 2nd period with both teams switching turns in the penalty box. It seemed like every few minutes one team was either shorthanded or the other team on the powerplay. Vernon struggled with the man advantage, didn't generate or create many opportunities. The Vipers moved the puck around and around and around, had very limited shots. The Vees defence was once again solid, clogging up the middle, keeping the Vipers to the outside, took away the shooting lanes, didn't give the Vipers any space to shoot. The Vipers would go 0-4 with the powerplay this period. The Vees would get two powerplays of their own but struggle at times too, missing the net, didn't generate much for offensive chances. Penticton was 0-2 with the man advantage this period. Penticton with a 5-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. An early goal inside the first minute basically put this game away. Both teams switched powerplays on and off as most of the period was specialty teams with no team capitalizing. Both teams penalty kill were good. Penticton outshot Vernon 11-9.
3rd Period: Just inside the opening minute, Hunter Zandee with a rocket shot from the circle beat Zach Driscoll cutting the Penticton lead to 5-2 at 0:59 Riley Brandt with the lone assist. But just four minutes later Dante Fabbro's point shot was tipped on the way to the net, by captain Tyson Jost giving Penticton a 6-2 lead at 4:51 Fabbro and Easton Brodzinski with the assists. Former Vipers forward Demico Hannoun with a quick shot from inside the blueline forced Andrew Shortridge into making a quick glove save. Minutes later Shortridge come up with a second glove save this time off former Vipers forward Luke Voltin. Not a lot of action in the final frame, with the score out of reach it was more like a pond hockey game. The Vees looked to sit back a bit and the Vipers just didn't have much energy left in the tank to try and really get much of anything going. A lot of play going back and fourth with no real good chances in a pretty boring 3rd period. Around the halfway mark a handful of players crashed the crease, falling onto Zach Driscoll who was slow to get up, looked to be in some discomfort, stayed in the game. The Vees would come out of the play with a powerplay but unable to find the back of the net. Just after the penalty expired, Vernon would get their final powerplay of the night, but again struggled, as the Vees would kill off the minor. Just past the halfway mark Andrew Shortridge made a big save, on a wrap around was a little slow to get up, looked in some discomfort was seen bending over as the play went up ice, but would stay in the game. Shortridge saw a flurry of chances had to come up with some big saves to keep this game-score as close as possible. The Vipers looking to maybe set the tone for Game 5 come out hitting in the final minutes, laid out some big checks. In the dying seconds Viper captain Colton McCarthy looked to hold the puck along the side wall, tried bending over to pick up the game puck just seconds before the buzzer before several Vees players jumped in, causing a minor scrum before everyone was involved. Lots of pushing and shoving, with two players taking punches at each other, while the referee and linesmen tried breaking up the melay at the buzzer. Both teams would be separated, as both teams exchanged words with each other as the Vees bench poured onto the ice to congratulate the rest of their team mates, as Penticton would take Game 4 6-2 and take a commanding 3-1 series lead with Game 5 Friday in Penticton. Luke Voltin was able to grab the game puck from one of the linesmen after both teams were heading off the ice. Both teams exchanged goals early, in a very lack luster-boring 3rd period. Both teams looked to just want to end the game and go home, with not a lot of flow or play going on, looked more like a pond hockey game. Penticton had the better of the scoring chances, could have easily rung up the score if Andrew Shortridge wasn't forced into making a few big saves. Penticton outshot Vernon 18-8.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
The line of Brett Stapley, Steven Jandric & Nic Rasovic played very well through out the game. These three were the only three that showed much of anything in the loss. I thought Stapley had a few good shifts in the 2nd period, had atleast two or three good opportunities tonight. Jandric who played very well-looked good in the victory Tuesday didn't quit, played hard, was battling through out the game. Rasovic who has been one of the Vipers more consistant physical players this series, was another forward who worked-battled hard through out the game.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
Where was the same Vipers team that gutted out one of their best games-performances of the season in Game 3's 2-1 victory? This was not the same Vernon Vipers team I saw play last night. Vernon didn't come out with much jump-energy tonight, looked a little flat at times, didn't show any signs of emotion or intensity, just weren't clicking, especially with their passing. The Vipers had troubles breaking out of their own end, getting through the neutral zone, turned over the puck way too many times and it cost them two goals in that 1st period. The Vipers couldn't get anything going in that 1st period, had just two shots on goal, were holding onto the puck for too long, instead of shooting-getting pucks to the net. I don't think Vernon played all that bad in the 1st but two bad turnovers-giveaways and the Vipers are down 3-0. If Vipers don't turnover the puck, its only 1-0 after the 1st and a totally different game. Sure the Vipers made some mistakes-turnovers, didn't get many shots on goal, were still in this hockey game at one point in that 1st until giving up the two breakaway goals. After going down 3-0 the Vipers confidence-body language was shot, this game was finished-all over at this point. The Vipers struggled offensively to get pucks to the net-shots on goal. Vernon with just a very few quality scoring chances, were out chanced all night. As the game went on, things seemed to get bad to worse as the Vees score early to start the 2nd then get a lucky break-bounce, jump out to a 5-1 lead not even halfway through this game. Vernon couldn't respond and didn't know what to do. The Vipers went 0-4 with the powerplay, in the 2nd period alone went 0-7 overall, had all kinds of troubles with the man advantage, were again holding onto the puck way too long, instead of getting pucks to the net-looking for rebounds, giving up two almost three shorthanded goals in one game, is going to kill you! I thought Vernon's penalty kill was pretty good. Graham Turnbull mentioned in the post-game show on air, that Joe Sacco left the game and didn't return. I didn't notice Sacco was even missing. What was Odeen Tufto doing on the point while on the PP? The Vipers leading scorer on the blueline? Shouldn't he be down low, in and around the net, where he scores most of his goals? I didn't think this was a good move-right decision. Your taking away one of if not your most offensive player and limiting his game playing on the point. Overall the Vipers looked pretty bad-dismal, Ive said it all season, this team has been very inconsistant all year and it showed again tonight. Vernon has had troubles playing a full or close to sixty minutes as well as had troubles shooting the puck-getting pucks on net. All season the Vipers want to hold onto that puck, try and make that pretty play, instead of just shooting the puck, going to the net for a rebound. The Vipers passing has also struggled all season and hasn't improved much from start to finish. The Vipers have a huge road ahead of them, have their backs against the wall, must win the remainder of the series to take the series and it starts with Game 5 in Penticton Friday. The Vipers season is now on the line. Former Vipers assistant coach Eric Godard was at tonight's game as well as former Vipers Bryce Kakoske & Trevor Keenan. Former Vipers Head Coach-GM Troy Mick was also in attendance.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Nick Jones (2 goals & 1 assist) Scores twice shorthanded to lead the way with three points. Jones who has played very well against Vernon this season, had a strong night tonight.
Easton Brodzinski (1 goal & 1 assist) Didn't stand out as much as in Game 3 but played well in the win tonight.
Dante Fabbro (2 assists) Had a strong night on the Penticton backend. Took a few big checks, didn't back down, played very well at both ends of the rink. A very smooth skater, moves the puck well, really sees-reads the play well.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
After a tough 2-1 loss last night, the Vees responded with a huge statement game in Game 4 tonight. I don't think the Vees dominated the opening frame, were just strong on the forecheck-puck forced the Vipers into two turnovers, capitalized on two opportunities to grab a 3-0 lead. Once up by three Penticton knew this was their game, put the game away early in the 2nd and never looked back. Both teams didn't get a lot of great scoring chances, sure Penticton had more chances then the Vipers, but in the Vees case I think Penticton capitalized on their chances more then anything. What can you say about the Vees penalty kill, scoring twice shorthanded come very close to getting a third shorthanded goal were very dangerous on the PK. Penticton with a strong forecheck were looking for that dee to dee pass at the blueline all night, the Vees could see Vernon was having trouble clicking with their passing, & jumped on it. You cant play reckless with the puck or the Vees will make you pay everytime. Also give credit to Penticton's defence who once again had a solid night, has been very solid all series. The Vees defence really limited Vernon's opportunities, time and space, kept the Vipers to the outside, shut down the shooting lanes, didn't give the Vipers anything to shoot at. The Vees who normally don't take a lot of penalties, took lots tonight, something you don't normally see from a Fred Harbinson team. This was a big win, as Penticton grabs a 3-1 series lead, needs just one win to move on, has the Vipers on the ropes. The Vees are now 9-1 vs Vernon this year, including the regular season. A great turnout for Vees fans at the game, who made a lot of noise-cheered their team on strong through out the night.
Brendan Barry (Injured)
Latrell Charleson (Injured)
Charley Michalowski (Injured)
Gabe Bast (Injured)
Colton Poolman (Injured)
Anthony Brodeur (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
Nic Rasovic (1 assist)
1st Star: Nick Jones (1 goal & 2 assists)
2nd Star: Scott Conway (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Steven Jandric (1 goal)
BCHL Game Summary,
Fraser Rodger's Penticton Vees Blog,