I was at tonight's Vipers-Vees game as Vernon defeated Penticton 3-2 in front of 3,279 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Vernon: Ty Taylor
Penticton: Matthew Robson
1st Period: The Vees jumped on the Vipers off the opening faceoff as Penticton come out of the gates with a ton of speed. Penticton carried the play early and often attacking the offensive zone with speed. Just 1:13 into the game Chris Klack alone in the slot whistled a high shot just wide of the goal on a good opportunity just over a minute into the period. The Vees needed three minutes to record their first shot of the night but had lots of pressure in and around the Viper zone. Penticton would get the games first powerplay early. Shorthanded the Vipers needed four minutes to get their first shot of the period. Jagger Willamson with a nice chip pass setup Niko Karamanis in for the shorthanded breakaway put a nice move around Matthew Robson before sliding the puck into the open cage giving Vernon an early 1-0 lead at 4:28 Williamson with the lone helper. The Vees responded with a good push back shift, would get some good looks at the net but couldn't convert with the man advantage as the Vipers would kill off the minor. Just over a minute later the Vipers would get their first powerplay. With good pressure Vernon moved the puck around but had troubles getting pucks to the net. Penticton with a very solid penalty kill, were closing the shooting lanes, limiting Vernon's time and space. The Vipers didn't record a shot with the PP couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. The play would go back and fourth with not a lot of chances at either ends of the rink. Both teams with limited opportunities and shots. Nicholas Rasovic with a huge hit in the corner took out a plain of glass that fell out before landing on the head of a Penticton player that was getting up after the hit. The Vees player would be ok as the glass was put back in. In the second half the Vipers would get their second powerplay of the night. Former Viper defenceman Mitch Meek would clip Steven Jandric with a high stick would get four minutes for high sticking. Once again another strong penalty kill from the Vees. Vernon moving the puck around was very limited to time and space, had troubles getting shots through the Vees defenders. Late in the penalty Michael Ufberg's shot from the point was snagged from Matthew Robson who flashed the leather making the quick glove save on a shot that looked to be going wide. In the final moments of the PP Christian Cakebread with a nice pass out front spotted Niko Karamanis who buried the open cage giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 17:34 Cakebread & Jagger Williamson with the assists. The hometown crowd at the SOEC was in shock as the Vees were down 2-0 late in the opening frame. Penticton with a late push in the dying seconds tried feeding Ty Barnstable going to the net with just seconds remaining couldn't connect on the pass just before the buzzer sounded. Vernon was up 2-0 after 20 minutes. The Vees with a strong start, jumped on the Vipers early. Penticton with a strong attack early carried the play the opening few minutes, had some good pressure. But it would be the Vipers who would open the scoring shorthanded held their own as both teams looked-played fairly even through out the period. The Vipers with a big goal on the powerplay, late to finish the period had a surprising two goal lead on the Vees. Vernon outshot Penticton 10-9.
2nd Period: Just 1:14 into the middle frame the Vipers on an odd man rush would grab a three goal lead. Brett Stapley was stopped by Vees starting goaltender Matthew Robson who kicked out a big rebound to Steven Jandric who buried the rebound giving Vernon a 3-0 lead at 1:14 Stapley and Hunter Zandee with the assists. A minute later with the Vipers on the attack again, Ryan Brushett tried setting up "AP" Kaden Black who was all alone in front couldn't connect on the pass on a missed opportunity. Both teams once again looked fairly even as the play was back and fourth before the Vees would get a powerplay just before the midway mark. Taylor Ward alone at the side of the net looked to have a wide open cage would be denied by Vipers starting goaltender Ty Taylor who come across the blue paint to get a piece of Ward's shot, making a huge save late in the PP. Back come the Vipers shorthanded, Hunter Zandee with a quick shot from the slot would beat Matthew Robson but rang his shot off the post as the Vipers come very close to jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Vernon would kill off the remainder of the penalty. The Vees would jump back on the man advantage a minute later and this time capitalize. James Miller's point shot had eyes found it's way through traffic, beat a screened Ty Taylor getting Penticton on the board at 11:00 cutting the Vernon lead to 3-1. Chris Klack & Taylor Ward picked up the helpers. Vernon responded with a good push back shift. The Vipers turned up the pressure and come right back with a strong forecheck. Vernon had the Vees hemmed in their own end for a good few minutes. With about six and a half minutes remaining, Matthew Robson was forced to make a huge pad save, kicking out the Vernon point shot that looked to be redirected on it's way to the net. A shift later Steven Jandric with a quick shot from down low couldn't beat Robson who made two big saves in the second half. Penticton would get a late powerplay with two and a half minutes to go. Taylor Ward's shot looked to go in and off Connor Clouston in front before finding its way to the back of the goal with Chris Klack going hard to the net. Ty Taylor went straight to the referee to argue about the play-goal. The referees gathered in front of the penalty box while the replay was being shown on the jumbo tron. After a short discussion the goal counted-was given to Chris Klack at 18:22 cutting the Vernon lead to 3-2. Ward and James Miller collected the assists. Mark Ferner gave his two cents worth, really gave it to the one referee after the goal stood. The Vees come right back, inside the final minute James Miller with a nice rush, got around one Viper defender before going hard to the goal beat Ty Taylor high but couldn't beat the crossbar as Penticton come very close to tying the game late in the frame. On the play Miller would take a penalty giving Vernon a late powerplay. The Vipers with late pressure, couldn't get anything to the net before the buzzer sounded. It was 3-2 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers got off to a quick start, jumped out to a 3-0 lead just over a minute into the middle frame. Another fairly evenly matched period with a lot of play going back and fourth. For a second straight period both teams were limited with their shots and chances. The Vees would get back in the game with two powerplay goals in the second half of that period. Penticton outshot Vernon 10-8.
3rd Period: The Vipers started the final frame with the man advantage that was carried over from the 2nd period. Vernon unable to capitalize. Shortly after the penalty expired, with the Vees getting a penalty the Vipers tried setting up Jagger Williamson who was alone in the high slot, couldn't connect on the pass on a missed opportunity. Vernon would get right back on the powerplay less then three minutes into the 3rd. Shorthanded Grant Cruikshank with a burst of speed cut hard to the net tried feeding Owen Sillinger going to the net couldn't connect on the pass on a missed opportunity. Cruikshank had the open lane, should have opted to shoot instead of pass on this play as the Vees with a good chance on the PK. Vernon once again had troubles getting shots-pucks through as the Vees with a few shot blocks killed off another penalty. Penticton needed almost five minutes to get their first shot of the period slowly started to come on. Down a goal the Vees come at the Vipers in waves with a strong forecheck. With a ton of pressure and the Vees sworming the zone the Viper defence was solid limited Penticton's time and space on several plays. Ty Taylor had to be sharp come up with some big saves keeping his team in the game. Taylor made a huge save off Grant Cruikshank before stopping Jared Nash three times in close. Nash looked to have the game tied but somehow missed the open cage as Penticton was on the attack. The Vipers seemed to settle down started taking key time off the clock playing dump and chase. Vernon would call a timeout with about five-six minutes to go. Late in the frame the Vipers strong forecheck, had the Vees hemmed in their own end not allowing Matthew Robson to get to the bench for the extra attacker. The Vees would call a late timeout after icing the puck. Vernon's forecheck was solid inside the final three minutes killed off a lot of valuable time. Ty Taylor made a huge game saver off Owen Sillinger in front with two and a half minutes left keeping this a one goal game. Taylor come up large down the stretch making several big saves for Vernon. The Vees with one last push would eventually get Matthew Robson to the bench for the extra attacker with just nineteen seconds remaining but couldn't force overtime before the final buzzer as the Vipers would hang on for the 3-2 victory as the team piled off the bench to celebrate the win with Ty Taylor. Vernon couldn't capitalize with two early powerplays allowed the Vees to hang around. Penticton with a strong push in the final twenty minutes had some grade a chances couldn't force overtime. The Vees with a ton of pressure looked to have Vernon on the ropes at times couldn't solve Ty Taylor who was solid between the pipes. The Vees carried the better of the play but give credit to the Vipers who limited the Vees chances-shots at times, Vernon only giving up nine shots in the 3rd did a good job at keeping the Vees to the outside and along the wall. The Vipers got some big saves from Ty Taylor when needed, played well to hang on for the win. Penticton outshot Vernon 9-6.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Michael Ufberg I thought was one of if not Vernon's best defenceman this evening. Played a solid game on the backend, was relied on to carry the play up ice, really skated well, moving the puck a lot, was also getting pucks to the net. Had a strong night on the blueline.
The line of Jagger Williamson (2 assists), Christian Cakebread (1 assist) & Niko Karamanis (2 goals) played very well for the Vipers. Karamanis with the big shorthanded goal to open the scoring, scored twice was big in the win. Williamson setup both the shorthanded and powerplay goals had a strong night while Cakebread battled and competed hard down low and along the wall. Made a nice pass out front to setup Karamanis's second goal on the PP.
Nicholas Rasovic played a physical-in your face kind of game. Wasn't backing down from anyone, played hard through out the game.
Steven Jandric (1 goal) Played well, had some chances.
Ty Taylor (26 saves) Was solid between the pipes, made the big saves when called apon. Taylor was solid in the 3rd made some huge game savers in a one goal game. Was very good in the final five minutes. Was seeing the puck, was good positionally through out the game.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
After losing all three games on the road last weekend the Vipers finish the four game road trip with a huge 3-2 victory snapping their three game losing streak. Vernon played very well on the road and in a rink they haven't had much success in the past few seasons. I thought the Vipers held their own for most of the night and played one of their better games in some time. Niko Karamanis's shorthanded goal to open the scoring less then five minutes into the game was huge, seemed to get the Vipers into the game early and keep the ball rolling. I thought Vernon held their own and kept up with the Vees for the first two periods atleast did a good job at shutting down Penticton's top scorers. Both teams were limited at times to opportunities and shots on goal. I really liked Vernon's attack-forecheck they used through out the game. Seemed to give the Vees defence troubles. I thought the Vipers were hard on the puck tonight, won a lot of the races, seemed to have just a bit more jump-energy then the Vees at times. Give the Vipers full credit for jumping out to a 3-0 lead on the league's best team before holding onto the lead for the victory to improve to 500 on the season. I thought the Vipers battled and played hard, but had troubles getting pucks to the net on the powerplay. Give credit to Vernon for playing without their captain Riley Brandt (suspended) out of the lineup as well as injured forward Jimmy Lambert and injured defenceman Chris Jandric. This win will hopefully build character and give the Vipers some confidence heading into the rematch tomorrow night in Vernon. The Vipers snapped a eight game losing streak to the Vees going back to the 2014-15 regular season. Vernon's last win in Penticton was actually the Vipers last win over the Vees, a 2-1 victory on February 11th 2015. Penticton had won eight straight over Vernon heading into tonight's contest and had previously won thirteen of the past fourteen games with the Vipers. Since the 2011-12 regular season Vernon has just four wins at the South Okanagan Events Centre in their last 19 games going 4-12-3-0. Only saw just a few Viper fans at the game tonight.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Jared Nash I thought played a heck of a game up front for the Vees. Nash didn't do any damage on the scoreboard was dangerous with and without the puck. Showed a lot of patience with and without the puck, goes to the net-the grey area, looking for a opportunity-chance in front.
Chris Klack (1 goal & 1 assist) I thought was Penticton's best player tonight. Klack really impressed me during the two pre-season games vs the Vipers had another strong night tonight. A good, quick skater can move the puck, is also dangerous with the puck. Has a nose for the net, is hard to defend against.
James Miller (1 goal & 1 assist) Had a strong night on the blueline. Reads and sees the ice well, come very close to tying the game inside the final minute of the 2nd period rang his shot off the crossbar. Has a quick release.
Duncan Campbell didn't hit the scoresheet but played well. A good skater recently released from the Brandon Wheat Kings signed with the Vees less then two weeks ago. Looked good in a Vees jersey.
Taylor Ward (2 assists) Had a great chance on the powerplay in the 2nd period to get the Vees on the scoreboard was stoned by Ty Taylor who made a huge save. Ward played well in the loss.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
It's not often you see the Vees down 3-0 and especially on home ice. Penticton fell behind early and it cost them. The Vees didn't look as sharp as they normally play and again especially at home. Penticton wasn't winning those battles-races as much as in previous games. The Vees looked a little sloppy at times, played well but were forced to battle back almost from the drop of the puck. The Vees gave up several opportunities shorthanded, gave up one shorthanded goal were very strong on the penalty kill. The Vees really limited the Vipers time and space on the powerplay, blocked several shots-closed the shooting lanes. The Vipers may have controlled the puck on the man advantage, were forced to move the puck around, were very limited to getting pucks-shots on goal. Penticton's top guns weren't very effective tonight, didn't get a lot of time with the puck, didn't generate much for offence were almost invincible through out the game. Didn't really notice-or see any of the Vees top weapons tonight. The season series is now tied 1-1. This was the Vees first loss to a team from the Interior Division. Penticton is 8-1 vs teams from the Interior Division this season. A great crowd on hand for tonight's game, was close to a sellout, was held pretty quiet for most of the night. Over 3,200 fans at tonight's game, pretty impressive to see! This was just the Vees second loss at home this season, are an impressive 231-42-13-7 at home since the 2006-07 regular season. Going into tonight's game Penticton had won twenty eight of the last thirty five meetings vs Vernon going 28-7-0-0. Tonight's 50/50 was $7000
Riley Brandt (Suspended)
Jimmy Lambert (Injured)
Chris Jandric (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
Taylor Ward (2 assists)
1st Star: Niko Karamanis (2 goals)
2nd Star: Chris Klack (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Jagger Williamson (2 assists)
BCHL Boxscore-Game summary,
Fraser Rogers Penticton Vees Blog,