Friday, August 26, 2016

Exhibition: Merritt 3 Vernon 0

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 pre-season game as Merritt defeated Vernon 3-0 in front of a small crowd at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Riley Mathieson
Merritt: Jacob Berger

1st Period: Just thirty four seconds into the game Ethan Skinner left alone in the slot ripped a quick hard shot that missed the net on a good opportunity for the Centennials just seconds into the opening period. Just less then a minute later Viper veteran Steven Jandric held off his defender before cutting to the net hard missed the net on a good opportunity in close. A few minutes later Luke Recchi broke down the left wing, was able to turn on the wheels couldn't hit the net on a breakaway. A few shifts later Nick Wicks couldn't connect on a pass out front on
missed chance in front of Riley Mathieson. Merritt looked like the better of the two teams early as Vernon needed four minutes to record their first shot on goal. The Cents were the better of the two teams early, carried the better of the play and created a few more chances. Just before the midway mark Levi Johnson with a big check in front of the Centennials bench drew a crowd as two Merritt players rushed over started throwing punches at Johnson as a small scrum broke loose before the linesmen broke up the dust up. Both teams were given penalties as the play stayed five on five. Around the halfway mark Centennials starting goaltender Jacob Berger come out of his crease to play the puck, just about coughed the puck up to Viper veteran Riley Brandt who come out of no where to intercept the pass. The puck hit something in front rolled back towards the crease before Berger-a Merritt defender were able to clear the puck from harms way on a close call. This is where the Vipers seemed to get their game going, as Vernon with several good chances in close couldn't beat Berger who come up with several big saves keeping this a scoreless game. From here on in the play picked up as both teams battled and competed for the remainder of the opening frame. Riley Brandt with a physical period laid out three or four big hits through out the 1st. Tyler Ward broke in on the two on one, tried setting up Ethan Skinner who couldn't hit the net on the Cents odd man rush. Steven Jandric who had a strong period had a real good chance with about a minute and a half to go before being stopped by Jacob Berger. The Centennials would get a late powerplay wich would capitalize. Tyrell Buckley setup Ethan Skinner at the side of the net, gave Merritt a 1-0 lead at 19:15 Buckley with the lone assist. It was 1-0 Merritt after 20 minutes of play. The Cents played very well in just their second pre-season game had some good chances early, I thought had the better of the scoring chances in that opening period. The Vipers got off to a bit of a slow start, kinda like last night seemed to pick it up as the game went on. Vernon looked better to finish the frame were only down a goal. Vernon outshot Merritt 14-11.

2nd Period: The Vipers come out with a good start, carried the play early. Vernon with a good forecheck, didn't generate much for offensive chances, did have the better of the play in the opening few minutes. The Centennials would get an early powerplay wich seemed to take away all the momentum the Vipers had. Just seconds into the man advantage, a quick pass setup Michael Van Unen coming in from the point just missed the far corner on a good chance. Merritt with a few goal mouth scrambles couldn't beat Vipers starting goaltender Riley Mathieson who come up with some big saves. Vernon was able to get some solid goaltending on the penalty kill, killed off the minor. Shortly after Ryan Van Unen got in behind the Viper defence couldn't beat Mathieson in close on a good look in tight. Vernon couldn't get much going offensively as the Cents were coming on. Both teams switched goaltenders at the midway mark. Merritt starting goaltender Jacob Berger didn't allow a goal on sixteen Vernon shots was replaced by backup netminder Dorian Labranche. Riley Mathieson allowed one goal on twelve Merritt shots was replaced by Billy Cawthorn. On the following shift Ethan Skinner spotted Tyler Ward in front who beat Billy Cawthorn on his first shot giving Merritt a 2-0 lead at 10:47 Skinner & Nick Wicks with the helpers. The Centennials would get three powerplays in the second half couldn't capitalize with the man advantage after the Vipers come up with some big penalty kills. With about five minutes to go in the middle frame, Levi Johnson ripped a hard shot from the high circle beat Dorian Labranche but hit the post. The Vipers with not a lot of offence had troubles getting any kind of zone time. It was 2-0 Merritt after 40 minutes of play. Vernon had some good pressure to start the 2nd couldn't keep it going, was outplayed most of the period. The Vipers with no real opportunities, didn't generate much for offence. Most of the play was in the Viper end. The Cents with a good period, played well, had some chances couldn't capitalize on three powerplay's that period. Shots were even 8-8.

3rd Period: The Centennials carried a lot of the play early as the Vipers looked lack luster. Merritt would get an early powerplay but again couldn't find the back of the net, after some good pressure. The Vipers looked to be standing around, weren't skating, showed no hustle or intensity come the 3rd period. Merritt with a flurry of chances-shots towards the goal looked to have scored but it was Vernon defenceman Jack Judson who was in the crease to somehow stop the puck from going in, made a big defensive play to keep the puck out of his own goal. The Cents would get a lucky bounce to take a 3-0 lead. Zach Metsa's point shot went in off Viper d-man Callum Volpe and into the back of the open cage, no chance for Vipers goaltender Billy Cawthorn as Merritt was up 3-0 at 7:06 Rylan Van Unen collected the assist. This seemed to take all the life out of the Vipers. Shortly after Vernon would get their first powerplay of the night, the Vipers would generate three real quality chances in close couldn't beat Dorian Labranche who come up with his best saves of the night. Labranche didn't see much action until now. Shorthanded the Cents had a parcial two on one couldn't hit the net, Vernon with a good powerplay, couldn't capitalize. Late in the game Centennials veteran Nick Fidanza lead the attack with a three on one rush but got tangled up with one of his own linemates as Merritt couldn't even get a shot off on a missed opportunity. Riley Brandt laid out two more big hits late in the frame, maybe was trying to send a message for the re-match in Merritt tomorrow night. In the end Merritt would pick up their first win of the pre-season with the 3-0 victory. The Vipers struggled in the 3rd didn't look very good for most of the final twenty minutes. A lot of standing around, showed no real emotion or intensity. The Centennials carried most of the play, were by far the better team tonight. Shots were even 11-11.

Top Player's: (Vernon)

Riley Brandt I thought was a sparkplug in the opening frame, laid out three or four big hits, was skating hard, showed some intensity wasn't nearly as noticeable in the 2nd and 3rd periods.

Levi Johnson hit the post late in the 2nd period played well through out the game. A bigger body is a good skater, plays the body, finishes his checks, worked hard all night.

Steven Jandric I thought was the Vipers best player in the 1st period, had two or three good quality chances, couldn't find the back of the net, was really skating that 1st period. Showed a lot of hustle, battled and was creating chances, like Brandt didn't stand out in the 2nd and 3rd periods.

Riley Mathieson (11 saves) Started tonight's exhibition game before being replaced halfway through the 2nd period played well. I thought the kid stood his own, was quick on his feet, played his position well, made some big saves on the penalty kill, looked calm for his first game with the Vipers.

Game Thought's: (Vernon)

Like last night the Vipers didn't get off to a great start, but also like last night I thought Vernon responded well and got going as the opening period went on along. The Vipers didn't get a lot of scoring chances in that first frame, did get fourteen shots on goal after getting just three all of last night's 1st period. Where did the Vipers go after the opening frame? I didn't think Vernon looked or played very well in the final two periods. Saw a lot of kids standing around, didn't generate or create much offensive chances, didn't get a lot of zone time, looked lack luster, showed very little intensity. Vernon has scored just one goal in two exhibition games, has had their troubles finding the back of the net. Last night the Vipers struggled getting shots-pucks to the goal, tonight they struggled generating chances on a consistant basis. I thought the Viper defence was much stronger, more physical and showed more of a veteran presence last night over tonight's defence. A few marginal calls on the Vipers, while nothing was being called on Merritt. There wasn't a lot of penalties missed but the Vipers had just one powerplay. I thought Vernon iced a better more veteran lineup last night. I thought last night's Vipers roster-team played/looked much better. Saw a lot of  young kids in the lineup tonight, that didn't show me much. The Vipers fall to 0-2-0-0 will travel to Merritt tomorrow night for the second game of the home and home series. These two teams will meet six more times come the regular season.

Top Player's: (Merritt)

Zach Metsa (1 goal) I thought played very well on the Cents backend.

Nick Wicks (1 assist) Was very effective-creative up front. Not very big, was quick on his feet, had some wheels, could really skate, was always involved in the play.

Ethan Skinner (1 goal & 1 assist) One of Merritt's new recruits this season, had a strong night. Picking up two points was one of the Centennials better players. Another kid that created/generated several opportunities.

Luke Recchi Played well in the win, showed signs of skill at times. Was another forward who was involved in the play from time to time.

Tyler Ward (1 goal) I thought played very well, was also involved in the play often. Created-generated some good chances, had a solid night up front for the Cents.

Jacob Berger (16 saves-Shutout) Started the game for Merritt, was replaced halfway through the middle frame didn't give up a single goal, made sixteen saves ended up sharing the shutout with backup goaltender Dorian Labranche. I thought played well, made the saves when called apon, was quick on his feet, got lucky on a few occasions but still managed to keep the puck out of the back of the net.

Game Thought's: (Merritt)

The Cents got off to a good start, played fairly well for most of the night. I thought were the better of the two teams, played with a lot more consistency and close to sixty minutes. The Centennials had the better scoring chances, saw a lot more zone time, were good with the puck, didn't give up a lot of zone time. Played most of the night in the Vernon zone. Went 1-4 with the man advantage could have really put this game away if they clicked with the powerplay. Merritt is quick, moves the puck well, has some skilled forwards that are quick on their feet, created/generated some good chances, played well defensively really limiting the Vipers scoring chances. This team also wasn't afraid to back down from the pushing and shoving after the whistles, stood up to the challenge. Merritt improves to 1-0-1-0 in the pre-season host the Vipers Saturday.

Three Stars:

No three stars were announced



No scratches were announces. There was about seventeen players-scratches sitting in the stands through out the game.


No scratches were announced. There was nine or ten players-scratches sitting in the stands.

Here is a look at both teams lineups-rosters:


Sol Seibel (99) D
Nolan Gallager (97) D
Chris Jandric (98) D
Jack Judson (99) D
Brett Stapley (99) F
Niko Karamanis (98) F
Riley Brandt (96) F
Derek Osik (98) F
Aiden Bar-Lev Wise (98) F
Kaden Black (98) F
Levi Johnson (97) F
Coleton Bilodeau (00) F
Jake Garmen (98) F
Ryan Cooper (99) F
Callum Volpe (98) D
Justin Lee (98) F
Darren Rizzolo (98) D
Steven Jandric (97) F
Billy Cawthorn (98) G
Riley Mathieson (98) G


Zach Metsa (98) D
Joel Scrimbit (98) D
Michael Faulkner (96) D
Andrew Troy (98) D
Michael Van Unen (99) D
Tyrell Buckley (97) D
Nick Wicks (98) F
Ethan Skinner (97) F
Rylan Van Unen (99) F
Tyler Pietrowski (96) F
Henry Cleghorn (97) F
Luke Recchi (00) F
Michael Regush (98) F
Brett Jewell (96) F
Tyler Ward (99) F
John Stein (99) F
Nick Fidanza (96) F
Juanre Naude (99) F
Jacob Berger (97) G
Dorian Labranche (98) G

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