I was at this afternoon's Vipers-Capitals game as Vernon defeated Cowichan 2-1 in front of 1,576 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Ty Taylor
Cowichan: Lane Michasiw
1st Period: The Vipers got off to a quick start, juming on the Capitals early and often. Inside the opening minute Cooper Watson's shot from the blueline forced Lane Michasiw into making a key save off the opening faceoff. The Vipers come out with a ton of pressure, had the Caps bottled up in their own end before getting the games first powerplay. Brett Stapley with a great chance from in tight couldn't beat Lane Micasiw. The Vipers with good pressure couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. Vernon was getting lots of pucks to the net early and often. Three and a half minutes in Hunter Zandee from the high slot ripped a high shot off the mask of Capitals starting goaltender Lane Michasiw. Shortly after Carter Stephenson with a nice pass out front spotted Steven Jandric who beat Michasiw in front giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 5:39 Stephenson & Michael Ufberg collected the helpers. Cowichan outplayed and held in their own end early needed six minutes to record their first shot of the afternoon. The Caps come back with a few hard working shifts wich seemed to change the momentum. Cowichan seemed to get their feet moving before Rhett Kingston used his wheels to blow by the Viper defenceman before going around the net, beating Ty Taylor on the wrap around tying the game 1-1 at 9:44 Former Vernon Viper Ayden MacDonald with the assist. The Vipers come right back, getting a ton of pressure in and around the Capitals goal. Ryan Brushett with a good look and opportunity in close couldn't beat Lane Michasiw who come up with the big save. Vernon sworming around the Caps net had several wacks at the puck in close. Shortly after Niko Karamanis's shot was stopped by Michasiw who couldn't see-cover the loose puck in front, before former Cowichan Capital forward Brett Stapley jumped on the loose puck buried his first of the afternoon, giving Vernon a 2-1 lead at 11:53 Karamanis and Christian Cakebread picked up the assists. This goal seemed to give the Vipers a little jolt as Vernon turned up on the heat and continued to attack. The Vipers stepped up their play a notch in the second half, had lots of good looks at the net. Lane Michasiw was solid between the pipes. With five minutes remaining Cowichan would get their first look with the powerplay. Jared Domin with a quick low shot was redirected on its way to the goal, forced Ty Taylor into making a big save on the PK. Vernon would kill off the minor. With just over thirty seconds remaining Michael Montambault in alone in deep couldn't beat Ty Taylor who made a big stop late in the opening frame. Back come the Vipers on the same play, Jimmy Lambert who returned to the lineup today had a quality chance at the other end of the rink, couldn't beat Lane Michasiw. Two good chances late inside the final minute. It was 2-1 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers jumped on the Caps early, were getting pucks to the net, skating hard, carried most of the play for the 1st period. Cowichan who was playing their third game in three days, looked like a team that played last night. The Capitals back on their heels early, played a lot of the first half in their own end. The Capitals needed six minutes to get their first shot on goal, had a few good shifts but didn't generate a lot of zone time. Lane Michasiw was solid between the pipes. Vernon outshot Cowichan 19-11.
2nd Period: The Capitals with a goal mouth scramble off the opening faceoff couldn't tie the game-get the puck up and over a down and out Ty Taylor, getting several wacks at the loose puck. The Vipers come right back and would get three or four shots from in close, before a bit of a scramble in and around the Caps net. On the play Vernon would jump on an early PP. The Vipers with good pressure, had some good looks couldn't capitalize as Cowichan would kill off the penalty. Shortly after the Capitals would get back to back powerplays as the Vipers would lose Christian Cakebread for ten minutes after picking up a check to the head penalty. The Caps struggled with the man advantage, couldn't muster much offence were unable to tie the game. The Vipers with a good penalty kill would kill off both minors. Shortly after Hunter Zandee tried setting up "AP" Brody Dale on a two on one rush, but Dale couldn't connect on the pass. A quality chance missed by the Vipers. With five minutes remaining Nicholas Wilson got tangled up with Ty Taylor in the crease, both took a shove at one another before both were given penalties. With two minutes left Brody Dale setup Niko Karamanis going to the net before being denied by Lane Michasiw. It was 2-1 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. Not a lot of scoring chances at either ends of the rink as both teams had troubles generating offence. A tight checking-defensive period really shutdown any offensive chances. A more evenly played period with the Vipers having a slight edge in play. The Capitals did a much better job at shutting down the Viper attack. Vernon outshot Cowichan 7-6.
3rd Period: Just a few minutes into the final frame Keith Anderson setup Nicholas Rasovic on the odd man rush, before being stopped by Lane Michasiw who come up with the big pad save. Cowichan would get an early powerplay, Trevor Ayre with a great look-chance from the slot couldn't beat Ty Taylor who made a big save. The Vipers were able to kill off the minor. Once again another period where both teams were having troubles generating opportunities. The Vipers went several minutes without a single shot on goal. Vernon would get a shot with the man advantage, unable to capitalize Connor Clouston's point shot got through traffic just as the penalty expired but Lane Michasiw closed the pads at the last second, had to look behind him making a tough save, keeping this a one goal game. The Vipers playing, looked to be playing to hold onto the one goal lead. The Caps slowly starting coming on and carrying some of the play in the second half. Rhett Kingston walked in all alone was denied by Taylor who come up with a huge save with five minutes remaining. Vernon just barely hanging on late in the game, turned over the puck a few times with the Capitals pressuring. Cowichan would get Lane Michasiw to the bench with 1:33 to go but with a faceoff in the Capitals zone, Michasiw had to come back between the pipes before making his way to the bench for a second time. The Caps with good pressure down low, had some good looks-chances in close. A long clearing attempt by Vernon inside the final minute just missed the open cage as the Vipers were called for icing. With just fourteen seconds remaining and the faceoff deep in the Viper zone, the Caps won the draw got the puck to the net forced Ty Taylor into making a huge pad save, kicking out the rebound to a Capital forward in front who fired the puck up and over the goal on two great chances in close, before a minor scrum broke loose at the whistle. Lots of pushing and shoving as Ty Taylor was getting involved. Connor Clouston was throwing punches as was Jared Domin. A huge pileup in the Viper crease was eventually broken up. With just three and a half seconds remaining the Capitals would get the late powerplay with the faceoff outside the blueline. A pretty lengthy delay after the scrimmage-scrum as Caps captain Chris Harpur was wanting more, talking things over with the two referee's. Harpur obviously upset was shaking his head about something. Vernon held the puck up killed off the final few seconds for the buzzer to pick up the 2-1 victory. At the end of the game, Harpur was at centre ice talking with the officials for several minutes. A pretty tight checking third period with not a lot of scoring chances. Both teams limited to time and space, had their troubles generating offence. The Vipers looked to sit back on the one goal lead, played more a defensive game but struggled in the final minute or two, while the Capitals seemed to get their game going a bit, carried some what more of the play, had some good looks. Both goaltenders played well in the final period making some key saves. Cowichan outshot Vernon 10-6.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Shane Kelly I thought played a physical-steady game on the Viper blueline this afternoon.
Brett Stapley (1 goal) Facing his former team, played very well. Played hard, battled and competed. Has really stepped up his play these last three games, been one of the better-more consistent forwards.
Steven Jandric (1 goal) I thought played hard, went to the grey areas, competed and played well at both ends of the rink.
Brody Dale (AP) I thought played very well today. This kid hasn't looked out of place since being called up to the Vipers from the Kelowna Chiefs. Played with a lot of jump & energy today, really hustled, plays hard at both ends of the rink, created/generated atleast two or three quality chances today.
Ty Taylor (23 saves) Making his fifth straight start played very well this afternoon. Didn't see much rubber in the opening frame, made some big-key saves in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Made a huge pad save in the dying seconds to preserve the victory. This kid has really improved from the start of the season and playing very well.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I liked Vernon's start, as the Vipers jumped on the Capitals early and often. Were getting pucks to the net, had lots of pressure, carried a lot of the flow-play only managed two goals wich they relied on for the remainder of the game. The Vipers seem to have troubles putting the puck in the net, don't have that pure goal score-sniper. They also lack that killer instinct and just like in West Kelowna Friday, cant seem to put teams-games away when they have the opportunity. The Vipers allowed Cowichan to hang around and be in this game until the final buzzer. I thought Vernon played well for most of the afternoon. The Vipers had troubles getting pucks to the net and generating a whole lot of zone time in the 2nd and 3rd periods. When needing that third goal, it looked like the Vipers were sitting back, sitting on the one goal lead. I don't think the Vipers that a team that can sit on a one goal lead. Give credit they played well and earned the win. A big two points after a tough-disappointing loss in West Kelowna Friday. After losing 5-2 in Cowichan two weeks ago, the Vipers respond with a good effort and win over one of the top teams in the Island Division. Nice to see Jimmy Lambert back in the lineup, I didnt think he looked or played like he has, didnt look game ready. I'm sure its going to take him a game or two to get back into the groove. Vernon now hits the road next weekend for a tough three game road trip in three days.
Top Player's: (Cowichan)
Rhett Kingston (1 goal) I thought was one of if not the Capitals better player this afternoon. Has some wheels, can really get moving the puck, played with a lot of jump & energy, hard to defend against, goes to the net, has some nice hands. A smooth skater-puck handler.
Trevor Ayre Was another forward that had some skill, had some chances, played well.
Michael Montambault Also played well for the Caps. A bigger body, finished his checks, carried the puck, was involved in the play.
Chris Harpur Played well on the backend. A bigger boddy, was hard to beat one on one. Was good defensively.
Lane Michasiw (30 saves) Played very well between the pipes. Made some big-key saves through out the day, keeping his team in the game, giving them a chance to win. Didn't give out many if any rebounds, played well positionally.
Game Thought's: (Cowichan)
The Capitals playing their third game in three days and the Vipers having last night off, it showed early in the opening frame. The Caps were outplayed for most of the period, played a lot of the 1st in their own end. Cowichan struggled early to get any kind of attack or offensive zone time, were back on their heels. The Capitals managed to get a few hard working shifts, got on the board but were outplayed and outskated most of the period. Give Cowichan credit they battled back and played much better in the 2nd and 3rd periods. I thought both teams played well defensively in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Cowichan did a much better job at limiting Vernon's attack, taking away their time and space, kept the Vipers to the outside a lot. Vernon with just twelve shots in the final two periods. Give credit to Cowichan they didn't give up-fold the tents, battled hard and kept battling for the remainder of the game. Had some real good looks-opportunities in the 3rd to tie the game. Come very close to tying the game in the dying seconds. The Capitals have some size and finish their checks, a solid goaltender and good defence. I think if these two teams met again with neither team playing the night before, this could be a different game-outcome. The Capitals and Vipers split the season series 1-1.
Jagger Williamson (Injured)
Riley Brandt (Suspended)
Chris Jandric (Injured)
Nii Noi Tetteh
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Steven Jandric (1 goal)
2nd Star: Brett Stapley (1 goal)
3rd Star: Lane Michasiw (30 saves)
BCHL Boxscore-Game summary,