Saturday, September 10, 2016

Season Opener: Vernon 6 Salmon Arm 3

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 Vipers-Silverbacks season opener as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 6-3 in front of 1000 fans at the Shaw Centre.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Ty Taylor
Salmon Arm: Trevin Kozlowski

1st Period: A bit of a delay to start the game as the Silverbacks introduced their 2016-17 Salmon Arm Silverbacks onto the ice in the teams home opener. The Backs got off to a quick start off the opening faceoff. Veteran winger Carson Bolduc with a hard shot from the high slot just missed the far corner on a quality chance from in front of the net just twenty seconds into the opening game of the season. Bolduc stayed with the play and on the same shift used his upper body to get around a Viper defender before getting another shot from in close, this time
couldn't beat Ty Taylor who come up with the big save less then a minutes into the opening period. Salmon Arm jumped on the Vipers early, with a strong forecheck carried the play off the opening faceoff. But it would be the Vipers who would open the scoring after former West Kelowna Warriors forward Hunter Zandee snapped a low shot that beat Trevin Kowlowski fivehole on the Vipers first shot gave Vernon a 1-0 lead at 2:29 Zandee's goal was unassisted. Just over a minute later the Backs would get the first powerplay of the night. SA didn't get a lot of zone time had troubles containing the play and puck. It would be the Vipers who would get the better opportunity shorthanded, after Jagger Williamson and Hunter Zandee broke in two on one, Williamson decided to shoot was stopped by Trevin Kozlowski. Vernon would kill off the minor. Just as the penalty expired, Levi Johnson stepped out of the penalty box, carried the play into the offensive zone, went hard to the net couldn't beat Kozlowski in close before the Vipers would get a second crack at the rebound couldn't capitalize on back to back chances in tight. Four minutes after their first powerplay, the Silverbacks would head back to the man advantage after Vernon was caught with too many men on the ice. Cameron Trott with a big blast from the point beat Ty Taylor but rang his shot off the post as SA come close to tying the game. The Backs with good pressure, moved the puck around, had some good zone time. Elijiah Barriga with a good quality chance at the side of the net in the dying seconds couldn't beat Ty Taylor low as the Vipers were able to kill off the penalty. With about seven and a half minutes to go, Connor Sundquist was denied at the side of the net after Taylor come across to make a big pad save keeping this a one goal game. A few minutes later back come the Vipers. Newly acquired Austin Adamson with a backhand from in close beat Trevin Kozlowski but rang his shot off the crossbar with just over five minutes remaining as Vernon come close to grabbing a two goal lead. With three and a half minutes left in the frame, Niko Karamanis and Viper captain Riley Brandt with some nice tic tac toe passing, setup Brandt in front who couldn't beat Kozlowski as the Vipers were coming on strong late to finish the period. A minor scrum inside the final minute didn't get out of hand before Salmon Arm would take a penalty at the buzzer in a second scrum to finish the 1st. The Vipers would get their first look with the PP to start the 2nd period. It was 1-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. The Backs with a quick start, had some good pressure, created two real good opportunities jumped on the Vipers off the opening faceoff before Vernon would open the scoring less then three minutes into the frame on their first shot on goal. I thought it was fairly even through out most of the period. Salmon Arm did get the better of the scoring chances, may have had a slight edge in zone time but also had two powerplays. The Vipers come on strong to finish the period and looked very good-were the better of the two teams in the final three-four minutes. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 10-9.

2nd Period: The Vipers started the middle frame on the powerplay that was carried over at the end of the 1st period. Vernon on their first man advantage of the night, struggled early. Moving the puck around, the Vipers were a little slow-hesitant on releasing the puck quickly. The Vipers defence just about coughed up the puck a few times at the blueline before Michael Ufberg couldn't handle the pass on the point was now in a foot race with Connor Sundquist. Sundquist turned on the wheels, blew by Ufberg before going in alone beat Vipers starting goaltender Ty Taylor fivehole sent the crowd at the Sunwave Centre into a frenzy tying the game 1-1 at 1:27 Riley Hayles with the helper. Vernon with just a single shot on the PP couldn't get much going as SA would kill off the remainder of the penalty. Shortly after Jagger Williamson on a three on one rush held and kept before ripping a quick shot from inside the circle beat Silverbacks starting goaltender Trevin Kozlowski but hit the post-or crossbar on a close call. The Vipers started coming on and took over the play. Jimmy Lambert really turned on the jets beat his two defenders before getting in behind the Salmon Arm defence, was stopped in close by Kozlowski who come up with the big save down low. Lambert stayed with the play, come around the net before ripping a quick shot from the circle gave Vernon a 2-1 lead at 4:32 Mitchell Oliver with the assist. Off the following faceoff the Backs rushed into the Viper zone before Carson Bolduc tried setting up Grayson Constable going to the net, couldn't connect on the pass on a great chance in front, come close to tying the game. After the following few shifts the Backs would get their first look on the powerplay in the middle frame. Hunter Zandee with a strong night was very aggressive on the penalty kill. Zandee blocked atleast two shots at the point, come very close to breaking free for a loose puck just outside the Viper blueline. If Zandee would have broke free, he would have been off for the shorthanded breakaway. The Vipers with a gutsy penalty kill would kill off the minor. Just seconds after the Vipers killed off the penalty, Vernon couldn't clear the zone. A huge goal mouth scramble in front of Ty Taylor, with bodies banging away at the loose puck before the puck must have snuck out front to a wide open Josh Latta who banged home the loose puck tied the game 2-2 at 9:03 Josh Blanchard & Jared Turcotte collected the assists. But just fourty five seconds later Steven Jandric at the side of the net, banged home the bouncing puck gave Vernon a 3-2 lead at 9:48 Niko Karamanis & Chris Jandric picked up the helpers. This was the end of the night for Trevin Kozlowski who was replaced by backup tender Michael Botiz. Kozlowski who picked up the shutout last Friday in a 1-0 pre-season victory over Vernon allowed three goals on 19 Viper shots tonight. Just past the halfway mark, with about nine minutes remaining Elijiah Barriga come very close to tying the game. Alone in the slot ripped a wicked shot that beat Ty Taylor but went off the crossbar. On the following play Salmon Arm would get another shot with the PP and would capitalize. Connor Sundquist from wich looked like an impossible angle somehow beat Ty Taylor shortside tying the game 3-3 at 11:36 Marcus Mitchell picked up the lone assist. On the following play, deep in the Backs zone Levi Johnson got tangled up with a Salmon Arm player in the corner, while just off to the opposite side of the Silverbacks goal Hunter Zandee and former Vipers defenceman Ryley Booth got tangled up in a wrestling match as the two exchanged punches rolling around on the ice. Tempers heated up in a hurry this period as it looked like both teams didn't like one another. The Silverbacks would lose Booth for the remainder of the 2nd after picking up a minor and ten minute misconduct. The Vipers would come out of the scrums with the powerplay. Carter Stephenson looked to give Vernon a 4-3 lead somehow missed a wide open cage after Michael Botiz robbed the Viper defenceman with a huge save in tight. This was the first save-shot Botiz faced since replacing Trevin Kozlowski. Vernon unable to capitalize with the man advantage. With about six minutes to go, the Vipers come on and come on strong. Vernon with a ton of pressure and chances couldn't solve Michael Botiz. First it was Derek Osik with a great look in close was stopped before Jimmy Lambert and Niko Karamanis broke in on the two on one but Lambert was stopped on the odd man rush. The Vipers with a handful of chances couldn't capitalize. Michael Botiz looked a little shaky between the pipes, was giving out some big rebounds, had troubles handling the puck also looked to get up a little slow after making one save, may have been in some discomfort. It was tied 3-3 after 40 minutes of play. What a wild but yet entertaining 2nd period. Five goals scored in the middle frame as Salmon Arm outscored Vernon 3-2 taking advantage of specialty teams (1 shorthanded & 1 powerplay goal) lead the attack. The play went back and fourth for most of the period until Vernon took over in the final six minutes and carried the better of the play to finish the period. Both teams made some mistakes, coughed up the puck, turned over the puck & left some guys uncovered. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 20-10.

3rd Period: Ryley Booth who should have started the final frame in the penalty box, still had atleast two or three more minutes to serve from his ten minute misconduct in the 2nd was on the ice to start the 3rd. Salmon Arm come out of the gates charging and took it to the Vipers early and often as it was all Silverbacks off the opening draw. Ty Taylor had to be alert was forced into some key saves early. The Backs were really buzzing with a strong attack as Vernon was having all kinds of troubles clearing the zone. SA would get an early powerplay less then five minutes into the contest. The Silverbacks with atleast three or four good quality chances couldn't beat Taylor who come on strong, making several big stops. Vernon was able to kill off the minor. Salmon Arm was outshooting the Vipers 6-0 just five minutes into the final frame. Just a few minutes later Ty Taylor looked to be interfered with behind the net, got back into position just in time after having to stick his stick out and make a huge save after a quick shot from the point was released somehow didn't hit the open cage but was stopped by Taylor. Just a few minutes later Salmon Arm went back to the PP. The Vipers would lose Shane Kelly after his minor and ten minute misconduct. Once again Ty Taylor come up with a few key saves. The Viper penalty kill was also very aggressive blocking several shots before Michael Ufberg sprung Niko Karamanis in for the shorthanded breakaway went fivehole beating Michael Botiz giving Vernon a 4-3 lead at 9:25 Michael Ufberg with the assist. Vernon was able to kill off the remainder of the minor. Two big penalty kills by the Vipers as it was all Backs to start the 3rd. Just as the penalty expired the Vipers would get a shot with the man advantage. Moving the puck around, Vernon had some good pressure before Jimmy Lambert went around his two defenders before sliding the puck around Michael Botiz giving Vernon a 5-3 lead at 12:06 Austin Adamson with the assist. This was a big goal giving the Vipers a two goal lead. The Vipers then played a little dump and chase, killing off some valuable time off the clock. Vernon started coming on with a two goal lead, carried the attack as the Backs were now the ones having trouble getting things going. Anytime the Silverbacks did manage to get into the offensive zone they either missed the net or couldn't solve Ty Taylor. Taylor was very sharp down the stretch. With three and a half minutes remaining Derek Osik went hard to the net couldn't tap home the pass into the open cage collided with Michael Botiz, sending Osik to the box for goaltender interference. This giving Salmon Arm a late powerplay. Vernon with a very aggressive and yet strong penalty kill, once again got some timely saves from Ty Taylor and come up with several big block shots would kill off the minor. Just as the penalty expired with Michael Botiz on the bench for the extra attacker, Hunter Zandee setup Derek Osik for the empty netter giving Vernon a 6-3 lead at 18:48 Zandee and Jagger Williamson picked up the helpers. The Vipers would open the 2016-17 regular season with a 6-3 victory in Salmon Arm. The Silverbacks with a strong start, jumped on Vernon off the opening faceoff. It was all Salmon Arm who couldn't solve Ty Taylor who come up with some key saves through out the 3rd. SA was outshooting the Vipers 6-0 just five minutes into the frame couldn't capitalize on two back to back powerplays before the Vipers scored shorthanded on their first shot of the period and then come close to putting the game away on the powerplay to take a two goal lead. The Backs either couldn't hit the net, missed on several chances would give up three third period goals. Vernon excapes some early pressure from Salmon Arm, gets lucky to score shorthanded before adding two more to come away with their first win of the season. Once the Vipers took the lead, they seemed to change the flow and momentum of the game and did a great job with the dump and chase late in the game. Give credit to the Vipers who only mustered six shots in the final frame, scored on their chances and did a good job at killing some valuable time off the clock with the aggressive forecheck. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 15-6.

Top Player's: (Vernon)

Michael Ufberg struggled in the first two periods I thought really stepped up his game come the 3rd and played very well. What a pass to spring Niko Karamanis for the shorthanded 4th goal. 

Jagger Williamson (1 assist) I thought played very well, had a strong night. Picked up one assist, played with a lot of energy, was good at both ends of the rink, was creating-generating chances, good on the penalty kill as well. 

The line of Steven Jandric (1 goal), Jimmy Lambert (2 goals) & Niko Karamanis (1 goal & 1 assist) was the Vipers best unit tonight. These three were clicking, showed-played with a lot of chemistry, looked very strong in the victory. All three were skating hard, setting one another up, were making some nice plays, seemed to know where everyone was at all times.

Hunter Zandee (1 goal & 1 assist) Was one of the better Vipers tonight. This kid already looks like a totally different hockey player compared to last season. Zandee returning for a second season really stood out in Training Camp and in the pre-season before getting injured. Played a full two way game tonight, was skating hard, working his tail off, battled and competed all night, never quit, created-generated chances.

Tyler Maser who attended the Vipers Training Camp along side his twin brother left Viper camp for the Western Hockey League, was back in town and in a Viper jersey tonight played very well. Was one of the more physical Vipers tonight, laying the body often, played a very physical game. Worked hard, adds that physical presence-grit the Vipers needed this year.

Levi Johnson was another Viper who stepped up the physical play, was hard on the body, using his upper body strength to win battles down low. Was hard to knock off the puck, was a horse in and around the net, worked-competed all night. I really liked the looks of this kid in Training Camp and the pre-season and was thrilled to see him in the lineup tonight.

Chris Jandric (1 assist) Had a strong game, really impressed me through out the game. Held his own through out the game, played very well on the blueline. 

Ty Taylor (31 saves) Picked up the win in his Vipers-BCHL debut stopping thirty one of thirty four Salmon Arm shots. The 17 yr old looked very solid between the pipes in his debut. Was calm, confident, looked like a veteran goaltender. Didn't give up many if any rebounds, made several key saves through out the game. Was one of the Vipers better penalty killers, coming up with some big saves shorthanded. 

Game Thought's: (Vernon)

After going 0-5 in the pre-season the Vipers pick up their first win in their first game of the new season. The Vipers wore their new red jerseys tonight, the same ones they wore as their third set jerseys during the 2013-14 season. Vernon was shutout 1-0 in the pre-season in Salmon Arm a week ago returned the favor tonight. For the first game of the new season, I thought this was well worth the trip to Salmon Arm. A very exciting hockey game. From what I saw tonight I really like the look of this years Vipers. I'm a little leary on going with two 17 yr old goaltenders but Ty Taylor has looked good in the pre-season and again tonight. I thought Vernon come to play and played very well for most of the night. Sure they may have been outplayed the first half of the 3rd but overall I really like what I saw. This is a complete turn around from last years Vipers. The Vipers can skate, have a ton of speed, can move the puck up ice and work-compete all night. Vernon added some size that showed tonight, as the Vipers didn't back down from the physical play. The Vipers either held the lead or were tied the entire night, were never down or had to battle back. I thought the veteran players returning from last season really stepped up tonight, looked hungry, played hard, never quit. And what can you say about some of the new-younger players. The Vipers coaching staff has to be pleased with the effort tonight. Sure the Vipers turned over the puck-coughed up the puck a few times, left the odd man uncovered, but overall played very well. I think the Viper defence needs to work on moving the puck out of their own end a little quicker and Vernon needs to play with a little more discilpline, took way too many penalties tonight. I liked the Vipers penalty kill, were aggressive, blocked lots of shots and got the goaltending when needed. The Vipers may have excaped the 3rd after being outplayed for most of the first ten minutes were got the break they needed, scoring shorthanded to change the flow-momentum of the game. This was a turning point in the 3rd period. After going 0-5 in the pre-season, this has to be a big boost-confidence builder for this team. Yes I know its only the first game of the season, but to come into Salmon Arm on opening night and spoil their home opener with a 6-3 victory, especially after losing here 1-0 last weekend, it has to feel good.

Top Player's: (Salmon Arm)

Cameron Trott played very well, had a solid night on the Backs blueline. Hit the post on the powerplay in the 1st period, saw a lot of ice time.

Ryley Booth I thought was another defenceman that played well on the backend. The former Vipers d-man isn't afraid to mix it up, had a strong night.

Connor Sundquist (2 goals) Was one of if not the more dangerous Silverbacks forwards tonight. This kid has some wheels, can really move, was generating-creating several good chances through out the night. Really uses his speed and skill to outwork his opponents.

Jared Turcotte (1 assist) I thought played very well, created-generated some offensive chances, played well for most of the night.

Carson Bolduc Looked very dangerous early but didn't stand out as much as the game went on. Played very well in the first two periods, didn't really notice him much in the 3rd. A bigger body, goes to the net, has a quick release, seems to play well against Vernon.

Elijiah Barriga Was another forward who looked strong up front, this kid can skate, move the puck and give his defenders trouble.

Carter Cochrane Played well on the point.

Game Thought's: (Salmon Arm)

The Silverbacks fall in the first game of a home and home series with the Vipers. These two teams will meet again tomorrow night in Vernon. This was a very entertaining-exciting game, in a game where either team could have come away with the win. I thought both teams were fairly evenly matched through out the first two periods, the Backs may have had a little more zone time in the 1st but in both 1st and 2nd periods it was the Vipers who come on strong to finish the periods. Salmon Arm scored three in the second had some good chances, hit the post-crossbar twice, struggled with the man advantage going 1-7. The Silverbacks need to take advantage on the powerplay, SA scores even three powerplay goals and this is a different hockey game. Both teams gave up one shorthanded goal. The Silverbacks needed to grab the lead early to start the 3rd after taking it to the Vipers. This is where the Backs needed a big goal to get their first lead of the night, get Vernon reeling and keep pouring the pressure on. I didn't think the Backs goaltenders looked very sharp. Trevin Kozlowski didn't see a lot of action, didn't have to make many big saves was pulled after giving up three goals on nineteen shots. Michael Botiz looked shaky early and through out the contest. Salmon Arm has some size and can also through their weight around, got into a few scrums with the Vipers tonight. The Silverbacks were having troubles hitting the net in the 3rd.



Brett Stapley
Julian Benner
Nicholas Rasovic
Callum Volpe

Salmon Arm:

Spencer Hora
Mitch Skapski

Energy Player of the Game:

Marcus Mitchell (1 assist)

Three Stars:

1st Star: Jimmy Lambert (2 goals)
2nd Star: Connor Sundquist (2 goals)
3rd Star: Ty Taylor (31 saves)

BCHL Boxscore,

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