I was at tonight's Vipers-Vees game as Penticton defeated Vernon 3-1 in front of 2,725 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Penticton: Matthew Robson
Before the game the Vees inducted former Penticton Vees forward Kevin Maxwell (1976-1978) into the Penticton Vees ring of honour.
1st Period: Before the game started the Vipers were given a two minute minor for delay of game (staying on the ice after the buzzer sounded to end warmup) as the Vees started the game on the powerplay. Penticton moved the puck around, didn't really generate any real great chances on the man advantage as Vernon was able to kill off the minor. Just as the penalty was coming to an end Turner Ripplinger setup Ryley Risling in the slot who beat Darion Hanson fivehole a second after the penalty expired giving Penticton a 1-0 lead at 2:01 Ripplinger & Ty Amonte collected the assists. The Vipers come right back with a strong push back after giving up the early goal. Vernon with good early puck possession slowly started to carry the play. The Vipers with some good early pressure were able to get some pucks to the net early, generated a few good looks. Vernon with the early edge in play, had the better of the play for a good chunk of the first half. Just before the midway mark Ryley Ripplinger come close to picking up his second goal of the night. Nine minutes in Darion Hanson was forced to make a pad save off a shot from the point, that was quickly steered into the corner, Ripplinger fired the puck towards the goal as Hanson was caught out of position had to be sharp making a quick pad save off the rebound. A few shifts later the Vees would get their second shot with the powerplay. Vees captain Nicholas Jones with a great opportunity in front couldn't beat Darion Hanson low before Duncan Campbell spotted Grant Cruikshank in the slot who beat Darion Hanson fivehole giving Penticton a 2-0 lead at 11:42 Campbell and Chris Klack picked up the helpers. This goal seemed to give the league leading Penticton Vees some momentum as the Vipers struggled offensively after giving up the second goal. Vernon went several minutes without a single shot on goal as the Vees carried the better of the play. Late in the 1st period Kenny Johnson took out Steven Jandric before a few players started pushing and shoving. It didn't take long before everyone grabbed a hold of someone. Tempers heated up pretty quick, with a scrum in the corner boards. Both teams would have to be separated with the Vipers coming out on top, getting their first look with the man advantage. Midway through the powerplay former Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Cameron Trott leaned into one from the top of the circle beat Matthew Robson fivehole as the puck come out the other end just missing the far corner on a close call, as Trott come close to getting Vernon on the scoreboard. The Vees would kill off the minor. In the final fifteen seconds Matthew Robson had to be sharp was forced to make a quick pad save off Steven Jandric just before the buzzer. Vernon with just two shots in the second half. Penticton was up 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers didn't get off to the start they wanted. Giving Penticton a powerplay to start the opening frame, the Vees jump out to a 2-0 lead in where I thought the Vipers played well in the first half and had a slight edge in play. The Vees responded and were the better team in the second half as both teams were fairly evenly matched. Not a lot of scoring chances at either ends of the rink. Penticton outshot Vernon 9-6.
2nd Period: Fifteen seconds into the middle frame Steven Jandric with a quick shot from the high slot handcuffed Vees starting goaltender Matthew Robson who couldn't hold onto the puck attempted the glove save as the puck bounced in and out of his glove. On the following play, Jimmy Lambert with a quick shot from in close forced Robson to make a nice save as Vernon with two good quality back to back chances inside the opening minute. The Vipers with a good start to the period. The Vees come very close to a 3-0 lead after Kenny Johnson beat Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson but hit the post just four and a half minutes into the 2nd period. Shortly after Shane Kelly tried carrying the puck up ice through his own end turned over the puck inside the neutral zone, allowing Matt Gosiewski to steal the loose puck and break in for the four on one rush. Gosiewski decided to keep and shoot ripped a rocket of a shot from the circle beating Darion Hanson topshelf for his first goal as a Vee giving Penticton a 3-0 lead at 6:51 Gosiewski's goal was unassisted. The Vipers responded just thirty nine seconds later, Jimmy Lambert setup Brett Stapley in the slot beat Matthew Robson cutting the Penticton lead to 3-1 at 7:30 Lambert and Cooper Watson with the assists. Just over a minute later the Vees would get their first powerplay of the 2nd. But shorthanded the Vipers come close to getting within a goal after somehow missing on an open net on a goal mouth scramble. On the same penalty kill Jimmy Lambert one on one tried going hard to the net, was checked-hit off the puck took out the net before crashing into the end boards, was slow to get up, looked to be in some discomfort but stayed in the game. Just before the penalty expired Nicholas Rasovic took a swing at a Penticton forward who gave Darion Hanson a tap with his stick after the whistle. Some pushing and shoving occurred before a second scrum broke loose this game. Both Rasovic and Cooper Watson come flying into the pile of players as everyone was getting involved as once again tempers heated up. Once the scrum was broken up the Vipers would kill off the remaining few seconds of the penalty. It was shortly after that Ty Amonte setup Grant Cruikshank in front couldn't connect on the pass on a missed opportunity in close. Shortly after the Vipers would miss on another open cage after the puck rolled through the crease on a goal mouth scramble. The Vees carried a lot of the play in the second half, as it was 3-1 Penticton after 40 minutes of play. Vernon had some chances early and looked good before falling behind three goals on a poor decision from Shane Kelly. This goal was a killer as just thirty nine seconds later the Vipers get on the board but are still down two goals. Kelly not the quickest defenceman cant be trying to rush up ice in a situation like this. Play it safe and dish the puck off to a winger or dump it into the offensive zone. Both teams had some good chances as Penticton had a slight edge in play, more so in the second half. Vernon outshot Penticton 12-8.
3rd Period: The Vipers get the early jump but have troubles getting through the neutral zone as Penticton was doing a good job at clogging up the neutral zone, sitting on a two goal lead. Jesse Lansdell with a great chance just a few minutes into the final frame couldn't solve Matthew Robson who come up with the big save keeping this 3-1. Vernon needed a few minutes to get going before got some good pressure early before the Vees would get an early PP. Grant Cruikshank on the wrap around couldn't beat Darion Hanson before captain Riley Brandt come down the right wing, unloaded a hard shot from the circle was denied by Robson. The Vipers with a good penalty kill, had a strong forecheck killed off most of the minor hemming the Vees inside their own zone. The Vipers back to even strength once again poured on the attack, held the early edge in play. Penticton once again looked to be sitting on a two goal lead. The Vipers with a few good looks, couldn't beat Matthew Robson. Vernon would get just their second powerplay of the night in the second half, but a strong defensive game from the Vees and the Vipers couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. The Vipers with some good pressure, had troubles getting pucks through the maze of players in front of the net. The Vees who played most of the 3rd in their own end saw a strong final push from Vernon. The Vipers with a ton of momentum were moving the puck around, put on all kinds of pressure late in the period. The Vipers with several good chances in and around the net couldn't get the bounce or were stopped by Matthew Robson. Hunter Zandee with a strong shift, was stopped twice in close with a Vees defender draped all over his back. Former Vernon Vipers defenceman Mitch Meek with a huge shot block late in the period, was in discomfort, limping on one leg couldn't get off the ice with the Vipers on the attack. Meek would finish the shift before the Vees could clear the zone. Meek would be ok and stay in the game. With three and a half minutes remaining Austin Adamson with a parcial breakaway couldn't beat Robson. Vernon would get Darion Hanson to the bench with two minutes remaining for the extra attacker. The Vipers with lots of sustained pressure either couldn't get the shot through or were denied by Robson as Penticton's defence was solid in the final few minutes. Vernon with several great opportunities in and around the net couldn't get the bounce. The Vipers come very close to getting within a goal after two or three goal mouth scrambles. In the dying seconds Kenny Johnson looked to have Riley Brandt's stick or arm tied up before Brandt started taking shots at the back of the head of Johnson before Matthew Robson jumped in. The referee was forced to jump in between the three, pulling aside Brandt. While this was going on a scrum in front of the two benches lead to some fireworks at the buzzer as tempers heated up at the end of the game. Both teams-benches were exchanging words, lots of pushing and shoving. Nicholas Jones & Cooper Watson got engaged while Niko Karamanis and Ryley Risling got tangled up hitting the ice in a wrestling match. While the Vipers slowly started to make their way off the ice, Mark Ferner was talking with one referee while the Vipers were really giving it too the Penticton Vees as they come out to salute the crowd. In the end Penticton come away with the 3-1 victory. A strong 3rd period from Vernon who couldn't find the back of the net after lots of sustained pressure and quality chances. The Vipers carried the better of the play, outplayed Penticton but also struggled at times getting pucks-opportunities to the net, as the Vees looked to be sitting on a two goal lead. The Vees who played most of the period in their own end, got solid goaltending from Matthew Robson and some big defensive play from their defence. The Vees did a good job at shutting down the Viper attack. Vernon outshot Penticton 11-6.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Sol Seibel I thought has slowly started to come on and into his own the past few games had a strong night on the Viper blueline tonight. Wasn't afraid to carry-rush the puck up ice, was steady through out the game at both ends of the rink.
Brett Stapley (1 goal) Has been one of Vernon's most consistent forwards this year, played very well in the loss. Scored the Vipers lone goal, was strong with the puck in the offensive zone.
Riley Brandt I thought was the Vipers best player tonight. The captain stepped up and lead by example showing a ton of hustle and determination on every shift. Was flying all night, played physical, didn't back down from the rough stuff, played hard, on the edge, was good with and without the puck, had a few good scoring chances, was also good on the PK. One of the hardest working Vipers tonight.
Nicholas Rasovic was another Viper who played hard, physical and in your face, played with an edge most of the night. Rasovic was finishing his checks, was in the face of several Vees through out the night, got involved in a lot of the after the whistle activities. Showed a lot of hustle, played hard.
Steven Jandric's point streak come to an end but didn't fall short of trying. The second year Viper forward had several good looks, couldn't find the back of the net. Had a strong game up front. Created/generated opportunities, was going to the net, played hard.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
The Vipers three game winning streak comes to an end in a game where I thought they battled-played hard. Obviously taking a penalty before the games even started, playing shorthanded off the opening faceoff is difficult but these are penalties that cant be taken, especially in a big game-vs the leagues top team. I thought Vernon played well for most of the night, but falling behind 2-0 just halfway through the 1st period vs the leagues top team in their own rink, is going to be hard to try and come back. The Vipers cant put themselves in this hole vs Penticton. The Vees are very strong and very good on home ice. The Vipers had some good looks-chances but didn't get a lot of grade a chances through out the night. There grade a chances come in spurts. I don't think Vernon went to the net as much as they would have liked. I think Matthew Robson saw a lot if not most of the Vipers 29 shots. The Vipers didn't get the bounces, especially in the 3rd down two goals. The Vipers missed a few open nets on goal mouth scrambles and then couldn't get the bounce-break in front on a loose puck in and around the net. Give Vernon credit after falling down 3-0 they didn't fold the tent, kept plugging away, tried battling back with a solid 3rd period just come up short. If the Vipers had any chance to beat Penticton, tonight was the night. The Vees had five regulars out of the lineup, four of those being defenceman. The Vipers now fall to 1-5 vs the Vees this season (exhibition & regular season). The Vipers have struggled in Penticton in previous years. Since the 2011-12 regular season Vernon has just four wins at the South Okanagan Events Centre in their last 20 games going 4-13-3-0.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Joseph Leahy I thought was one of the Vees better defenceman tonight. Saw a lot of minutes, played a huge shutdown roll in the 3rd was very reliable on the backend. A solid night on the blueline through out the game.
Mitch Meek was another defenceman that played very well on the point. The former Vipers d-man had a strong game vs his former team after returning to the lineup tonight. Meek missed the previous three games saw a lot of minutes.
Grant Cruikshank (1 goal) I don't think stood out for the full sixty minutes but looked good at different times through out the game. Seemed to be most dangerous with the puck on his stick, had a few good looks in and around the net.
Kenny Johnson Hit the post in the 2nd period was another Vees defender who had a solid night. This kid has some size, dosnt back down from the rough stuff, likes to get involved, was very solid at both ends of the rink.
Turner Ripplinger I thought played well in the win. Was skating hard, making some plays.
Matthew Robson (28 saves) Was very good in goal for Penticton. Didn't see a lot of rubber in the opening frame, saw more action in the 2nd and 3rd periods, making some big-key saves in the final frame. Dosnt give up a lot of rebounds, plays his position well, sees the puck-reads the play well, also got some help from his defence.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
The Vees improve to 5-1 vs the Vipers this season (pre-season & regular season). Since the 2011-12 regular season the Vees have dominated the Vipers. Penticton has won thirty of the last thirty eight regular season meetings vs Vernon going 30-8-0-0. The Vees have won fifteen of the last seventeen games vs the Vipers. Jumping out to the quick-early 1-0 lead was big, it gets the crowd into the game early, gets the Vipers off their game early and then gives the home team the early momentum. Penticton jumped out to a 2-0 lead didn't dominate any of the first two periods, capitalized on their chances. I wouldn't say the Vees had a ton of opportunities offensively, rather stood out more between the pipes and on the blueline. In the 2nd and 3rd periods the Vees defence was pretty solid. Penticton did a great job at clogging up the neutral zone before closing the shooting lanes-collapsing in front of the goal & blocking shots. The Vipers had troubles getting pucks through and through to the front of the net. When pucks did manage to find their way through, Matthew Robson was their to make the saves. I thought Penticton's defence played very well through out the night. Penticton plays a very disciplined game, not taking many penalties. Here's a team that has four d-men out of the lineup, five kids overall out of the lineup, are playing with two "AP"s and play very well, only giving up one goal in the win. A huge win with a depleted blueline. Guys really come to play tonight and stepped up their play with five regulars out of the lineup. I would say overall I don't think both teams had a lot of grade a chances but played well. Were the Vees outplayed in the 3rd or were they sitting on a two goal lead? I think it was a bit of both, but give credit for battling hard, not backing down from the after the whistle activities and playing strong in front of your goaltender. With the win the Vees improve to 12-2-0-1 vs the Interior Division this year. A great turnout-crowd on hand for a Wednesday night-midweek game. Close to 3000 people wich made for a great atmosphere. Love the live band playing music between whistles, also adds a great feel to the rink-great atmosphere. I also like the new addition to the South Okanagan Events Centre by adding the Penticton Vees ring of honour this year. There has to be atleast ten or more Vees alumni added to the ring of honour wich is displayed around the top of the rink above the skyboxes. What a great way to show off your past history-great alumni. Here is something the Vipers can maybe take a look at-look into for Kal Tire Place. Penticton fans sure hate Viper captain Riley Brandt. Heard several fans near and around me, yelling towards Brandt everytime he touched the puck. One fellow yelled out, he should be kicked out of the league.
Here is a sneak peak of the Vees ring of honour,
Ring of honour takes shape,
Jagger Williamson (Injured)
Chris Jandric (Injured)
Ty Taylor (Attending the World Junior A Challenge)
Gabe Bast (Injured)
James Miller (Injured)
Jamie Armstrong (Mono)
Jonny Tychonick (Attending the World Junior A Challenge)
Griffin Mendel (Attending the World Junior A Challenge)
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Matthew Robson (28 saves)
2nd Star: Mitch Meek
3rd Star: Brett Stapley (1 goal)
BCHL Boxscore-Game Summary,
Fraser Rodgers Penticton Vees Blog,
BCHL Game Report,