I was at tonight's Vipers-Silverbacks game as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 4-2 in front of 2,303 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Salmon Arm: Nic Tallarico
1st Period: Just over twenty seconds into the opening frame former Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Cameron Trott with a low shot from the point was redirected in front forcing Nic Tallarico to make a tough pad save in the opening minute. Just over a minute later Silverbacks captain Mitch Skapski alone in the slot somehow missing the net on a missed opportunity. On the play the Backs would get the games first powerplay just 1:29 into the contest. SA with a few good looks couldn't convert with the man advantage as Vernon was able to kill off the minor. Salmon Arm had the early jump on the Vipers who didn't have the same pace as the Backs carried the better of the play early and often. The Silverbacks with a strong forecheck, were hard on the puck, using their speed and quickness to generate some early zone time. The Vipers having troubles getting any kind of attack/zone time couldn't seem to generate any consistency early. Salmon Arm was outshooting Vernon 7-3 at one point. Just before the midway mark Carson Bolduc on an odd man rush beat Darion Hanson fivehole in close as the puck rolled out the other end, went just wide of the open cage before Elijiah Barriga scooped up the rebound couldn't beat Hanson on the second opportunity at the side of the goal. The Backs with two back to back quality chances. Just past the halfway mark Niko Karamanis with a quick low shot from the circle forced Nic Tallarico to make a quick reaction save, keeping this game scoreless. Two and a half minutes later Jagger Williamson with a breakaway couldn't solve Tallarico. On the following play-shift Michael Ufberg's point shot was redirected on its way to the net, forcing Tallarico into making another difficult save as Vernon applying loads of pressure were coming on in the second half. On the following play-shift the Vipers would get their first look with the powerplay. Vernon with a flurry of opportunities on the man advantage couldn't find the back of the net as Salmon Arm with some strong goaltending was able to kill off the penalty. In the final minutes captain Riley Brandt with a quick snap shot from the high slot was denied by Nic Tallarico who played well in the first twenty minutes. Inside the final minute Cameron Trott setup Jimmy Lambert in front who beat Nic Tallarico giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 19:27 Trott & Michael Ufberg collected the assists. In the dying seconds Connor Clouston got tangled up with Jared Turcotte as the two were sent to the box. Vernon was up 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. Both teams had good chances off the opening puck drop before the Silverbacks carried the play-pace, were the better of the two teams in the first half. The Backs really used their speed and strong forecheck to dominate along the boards and in front of the net. Marcus Mitchell was throwing his weight around, laying the body as well as running a few Vipers through out the 1st period. Mitchell was running around like a loose cannon on a few shifts, trying to stir things up. SA didn't generate a lot of quality chances before the Vipers stepped up their game and got rolling in the second half. Vernon with several quality opportunities couldn't solve Nic Tallarico who was solid between the pipes. The Snakes were the better team in the final ten minutes, looked good moving the puck-generating chances. The Vipers would score late inside the final minute to open the scoring-take the lead heading into the 2nd period. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 21-11.
2nd Period: The Silverbacks with a strong start to the middle frame, showed lots of jump early. Justin Wilson early into the period, with a quick shot from the top of the circle forced Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson into making a tough save. A few plays-shifts later Luke Gingras alone in the slot forced Silverbacks starting goaltender Nic Tallarico into making a blocker save with the corner labelled. Shortly after the Silverbacks would get an early powerplay, their second of the night. But the powerplay was short lived as Salmon Arm would take a minor of their own, sending both teams to four on four. While four on four Elijiah Barriga was able to walk into the Vernon zone untouched, before beating Darion Hanson in close tying the game 1-1 at 5:36 Carson Bolduc with the helper. About three and a half minutes later the Vipers would get their second powerplay of the evening. While shorthanded Haydn Hopkins gave Darion Hanson a good slash on the back of the pads sending him to the box for two, giving Vernon a lengthy two man advantage. Hanson was slow getting up as he crawled back to his crease, shaking it off, stayed in the game. On the five on three Chris Jandric with a quick setup spotted Christian Cakebread who beat Nic Tallarico giving Vernon a 2-1 lead at 10:09 Jandric & Ryan Brushett picked up the assists. Still on the man advantage the Vipers moved the puck around, generated some good looks from in close couldn't capitalize on the second minor as Salmon Arm killed off the penalty. Just as the penalty expired Mitch Skapski and Haydn Hopkins went in alone for the odd man rush, Skapski setup Hopkins who beat Darion Hanson hit the crossbar before crashing into the net. The Silverbacks would come out on the play with the man advantage. Hanson was forced to make two or three big saves while the Vipers were able to kill off the minor. Just as the penalty expired, Vernon gained the zone were able to move the puck around before Brett Stapley setup former Chilliwack Chief Jesse Lansdell in front who beat Nic Tallarico giving Vernon a 3-1 lead at 13:49 Stapley and Austin Adamson collected the helpers. Josh Blanchard was spotted down in the tunnel undressed looked to be adjusting some equipment, shortly returned to the bench. The Vipers kept coming, Luke Gingras went inside out on a dangle going to the goal before setting up Hunter Zandee going to the net couldn't tap the puck home on a highlight reel play as the Vipers come close to taking a three goal lead. A few plays-shifts later Jagger Williamson carried the play in over the blueline before ripping a wicked shot that beat Nic Tallarico giving Vernon a 4-1 lead at 17:03 Hunter Zandee with the assist. The Vipers took over the edge in play in the second half and never looked back. Vernon would jump on the powerplay on the following shift. The Vipers with some good looks couldn't capitalize as Salmon Arm killed off the penalty. Just as the penalty expired Connor Clouston stepped into Elijiah Barriga levelling the Silverbacks forward in the neutral zone, as the Salmon Arm bench was screaming for a penalty. A Silverback defender looked to try and chase down Clouston. Clouston tried challenging the Salmon Arm player before both players skated away. At the buzzer tempers heated up as emptions boiled over as some pushing and shoving at centre ice before both teams had to be separated. Former Vipers defenceman Carter Stephenson was given an unsportsmanlike penalty at the buzzer while two Silverbacks were talking to the officials at the end of the period. It was 4-1 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. SA with a good start, showed lots of jump early. The Backs would tie the game just over five minutes into the middle frame, looked to be rolling before getting into a little penalty trouble. After getting an early powerplay to start the frame, the Backs took five of the next six penalties. For a second straight period Vernon got off to a bit of a slow start, but stepped up their game just before the halfway mark, scoring two goals in less then four minutes and three goals in less then seven minutes apart to pull away. The Vipers with some good chances once again forced Nic Tallarico into making some key saves. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 13-11.
3rd Period: Vernon started the final frame on the man advantage (Silverbacks penalty at the end of the 2nd period). But the Vipers couldn't take advantage of the powerplay as the Backs with a huge penalty kill early to start the 3rd. 1:04 after killing off the minor Elijiah Barriga looked to check Viper captain Riley Brandt from behind just short of the Silverbacks bench along the blueline. Brandt went hard into the boards, looked to have injured-hurt his knee was laying on the ice before Hunter Zandee come flying in as a melay of players jumped in after Barriga. Lots of pushing and shoving before the scrum was broken up. Vernon would come away with the powerplay. Brandt would get checked out by the team trainer on the ice in a short delay. Brandt was able to slowly skate off on his own power, went to the dressing room before returning to the Viper bench. Brandt sat on the bench for several minutes before getting a shift, a quick shift at that before be attended to by the trainer-making his way back to the dressing room before returning to the bench for a second time. This time Brandt would see a regular shift and finish the game. In the meantime the Vipers would once again not be able to put this game away with a second of back to back powerplays. The Silverbacks would once again kill off an early penalty. Two huge back to back penalty kills by SA. Shortly after killing off the minor the Vipers looking a little flat, allowed Carter Cochrane to walk right in, before sliding the puck just through Darion Hanson as the puck slowly crossed the goal line, cutting the Vernon lead to 4-2 at 6:47 Marcus Mitchell & Carter Stephenson picked up the assists. Off the following faceoff the Backs come right back into the Viper zone setup captain Mitch Skapski at the side of the goal, who fired up and over a yawning cage, somehow missing the wide open net on a missed opportunity. Skapski looked skywards, shaking his head as Vernon got very lucky as Salmon Arm was very close to making this a one goal game. Just over a minute later the Backs would jump on the powerplay. Carson Bolduc with a wicked shot from the high slot beat Darion Hanson but went off the crossbar as Salmon Arm was within inchaes of getting to within a goal. This was the second crossbar of the night for the Silverbacks. SA with lots of good pressure, had some good looks, couldn't capitalize as Vernon killed off the minor. Just seconds before killing off the penalty, the Vipers would take another minor sending the Silverbacks back to the PP. Darion Hanson had to be sharp, was forced into making several key saves as the Viper penalty kill was very good. Vernon with two pretty huge penalty kills, keeping this a 4-2 game. The Vipers then were able to do a great job at killing off several minutes off the clock, with several key shifts late in the period. Vernon went atleast seven to eight minutes without a shot, before finally getting a shot on goal in the final few minutes as it was all Salmon Arm this period. With about a minute and a half remaining the Backs would get Nic Tallarico to the bench for the extra attacker, but former West Kelowna Warrior Hunter Zandee come up with a huge block while the Vipers did a great job at keeping the Silverbacks to the outside, took more key time off the clock. The Vipers didn't even come close to getting a good look at the open goal, were able to hold off the Salmon Arm attack in the final minute. Some pushing and shoving at the buzzer, before Connor Clouston hit Elijiah Barriga from behind while in the middle of the scrum. Tempers looked to heat up a bit as both teams made their way off the ice. Vernon would hang on for the 4-2 victory. The Vipers with back to back powerplays to start the frame, couldn't put this game away. Vernon had a few good looks but couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. This allowing the Backs to hang around, would score early to get within two goals, poured on the pressure to finish the game. Salmon Arm with a ton of pressure, hit the crossbar and missed an open cage didn't get a lot of pucks to the goal or when they did were denied by Darion Hanson. It was all Silverbacks in the final twenty minutes outplayed the Vipers. Vernon either was sitting on the three goal lead or were just simply outplayed in the 3rd. Give the Vipers some credit for limiting the Backs shots-opportunities, played fairly well defensively. The Vipers didn't generate any real pressure-or quality chances, saw a lot of the action in their own end.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Hunter Zandee (1 assist) I thought stepped up his game tonight, was throwing his weight around, laying the body through out the game. Played with a bit of a mean streak in him tonight.
Jesse Lansdell (1 goal) I thought played well through out the game, has really improved as the season has gone on. Here's a kid I didn't think showed much after coming over in a trade with Chilliwack earlier in the season, took a while to get his game going-show the fans what kind of a player he really is. But I think has played very well-stood out in a few games and really come into his own the past month or so. Played hard-was going to the net, scored a big goal in the 2nd to give Vernon a 3-1 lead.
Jimmy Lambert (1 goal) Now has eight goals vs Salmon Arm this year, I thought played very well through out the contest. Didn't generate a lot of opportunities but made some smart plays with and without the puck. Jumped back on the point a few times when the d-man jumped into the play-rush.
Luke Gingras I also thought looked good-played very well in the win. Had some good looks-opportunities, was skating hard, moving the puck well, created/generated some offensive chances, did a lot of good things tonight.
Connor Clouston I thought played that shutdown role on the backend. Played physical, laid out two of the biggest checks of the night, didn't back down from the physical play. Was also very dependant defensively and in his own end.
Chris Jandric (1 assist) Was another d-man who played very well. Has really impressed me this season as a rookie. Plays a regular shift, looks like a veteran defenceman out there.
Darion Hanson (29 saves) Improves to 2-0 vs Salmon Arm this season. Played very well between the pipes. Was very solid on the penalty kill, got a little lucky having been beat twice but caught a break from the crossbar twice and stayed focused through out the game even when it looked like the Vipers were going to run away with tonight's game. Really sees-reads the play well, stays calm, is very confident, dosnt give up many if any second opportunities.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
Overall I thought the Vipers played very well through out the game. I don't think there powerplay was clicking as much as the coaches would like but looked very good on the penalty kill. Speciality teams was a difference. The Vipers looked to move the puck around more often then shooting it tonight and looked to be bunched up-in too close on the man advantage. The d-men were up much closer then normal and had troubles getting off that quick one-timer from the point. Vernon didn't get off to a great start in all three periods. In periods 1 & 2 the Vipers were a bit off, needed some time before getting rolling. But in both the 1st and 2nd periods the Vipers seemed to step up their play-get their game going in the second half. Opening the scoring late in the 1st was key before scoring three times in the 2nd to pull away heading into the 3rd. Vernon could have easily put this game away with back to back powerplays to start the 3rd but couldn't capitalize. The Vipers may have got a little lucky as Salmon Arm got within two but couldn't get within a goal-or even tie the game. Did the Vipers take their foot off the gas in the 3rd or did the Silverbacks outplay Vernon for the final twenty minutes? The Vipers may have dodged a bullet did get some great penalty killing in the final frame and some good defensive play-goaltending down the stretch. The Vipers are now unbeaten in six games and have atleast a point in nine of their last eleven games. The Vipers have won six straight at home and seven of their last eight home games. Kal Tire Place is becoming a hard rink for visiting teams to pick up a win in compared to last season where the Vipers struggled on home ice. Vernon improves to 4-0-0-1 vs the Silverbacks this season, travel to Salmon Arm tomorrow for the final game of a home & home series. Former Viper captains Colton McCarthy & Lennie Rampone were both in attendance tonight.
Top Player's: (Salmon Arm)
Mitch Skapski I thought was one of the Silverbacks dominate players this evening. The Backs captain had a strong game in the loss, playing hard at both ends of the rink. Really using his speed-quickness was going to the net-generating-creating opportunities through out the game. Had several good looks-chances, missed an open cage in the 3rd. Was very dangerous with and without the puck, was hard to contain through out the night.
Justin Wilson I thought played well for most of the night. Had atleast two good chances, was involved in the play.
Carson Bolduc (1 assist) Hit the crossbar in the 3rd, had a few quality opportunities, played well in the loss. A big body, goes to the net often, is hard to knock off the puck, is a work horse. Good skater-good hands.
Elijiah Barriga (1 goal) Was one of if not the Silverbacks best player. Always played well vs the Vipers, took two big checks tonight, kept battling all night. Another veteran player that's dangerous with and without the puck, hard to contain, hard to defend against, comes at you in a hurry, makes those quick decisions in a hurry, a force down low, had some good looks-chances through out the night.
Marcus Mitchell (1 assist) Played physical, was laying the body all night, running around looking at getting under the skin of several Vipers, played-battled hard in the loss. A big body, that also has some upside offensively.
Nic Tallarico (37 saves) Has yet to beat Vernon this season played very well in goal for Salmon Arm. One of the leagues smaller goaltenders, battles between the pipes, is quick on his feet, always moving-diving around to find-track pucks, made some big saves through out the game. Made some of his biggest saves in the second half of the 1st and 2nd periods.
Game Thought's: (Salmon Arm)
The Silverbacks were ready to go tonight, had troubles sustaining pressure-playing with consistency for a full sixty minutes. Salmon Arm looked good in the first half of the opening frame, couldn't continue that into the second half and the same went in the 2nd period. The Backs got into some penalty trouble in that 2nd period took five of the next six penalties, before falling behind 4-1 going into the 3rd. In the third it was all Salmon Arm who were limited to opportunities and shots, only managed nine shots in the frame. The Backs did hit the crossbar and miss an open cage in that 3rd need more then nine shots in the final twenty minutes down three goals if you want to try and come back for the win. Give the Silverbacks credit, they didn't fold the tents and battled hard through out the game. A few undisciplined penalties in the 2nd and not getting a bounce, this may have been a different outcome. The Silverbacks need to play a full sixty minutes-be more consistent. Instead Salmon Arm has lost four of their last six road games, have yet to win in Vernon this year. Salmon Arm's last win in Vernon was a 5-2 victory December 9th 2015. SA has now lost four of their last six games but have atleast a point in six of their last eight games. These two teams will meet again tomorrow in Salmon Arm. Penticton Vees Head Coach-GM-President Fred Harbinson and his crew were in attendance tonight.
Energy Player of the Game:
Hunter Zandee (1 assist)
1st Star: Jimmy Lambert (1 goal)
2nd Star: Chris Jandric (1 assist)
3rd Star: Elijiah Barriga (1 goal)
BCHL Boxscore-Game summary,
BCHL Game Report,