I was at tonight's Vipers-Kings game as Powell River defeated Vernon 3-1 in front of 2,818 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Powell River: Mitch Adamyk
Former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Kirk McLean dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff before tonight's game.
1st Period: The Vipers got the early jump on the visiting Powell River Kings. About fifty seconds into the opening faceoff Connor Clouston's shot from the point was stopped by the quick glove of Mitch Adamyk who flashed the leather. On the following faceoff a quick shot from the corner forced Adamyk into making a difficult save before a scrum in front of the Kings goal. On the following shift Powell River would get the games first powerplay, but the Kings would record just two shots with the man advantage and didn't really generate/create much for offence as the Vipers killed off the minor. A minute later Steven Jandric beat Mitch Adamyk on the wrap around as the puck slowly crossed the line, as Adamyk tried reaching back for the puck just as it crossed the goal line, giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 4:22 Brett Stapley & Connor Clouston with the assists. The Kings responded off the following faceoff, come right back with a strong push back shift, forced Darion Hanson into making two difficult saves before the Vipers would get their first powerplay of the evening. Vernon unable to capitalize with the man advantage, as the Kings killed off the minor. Just past the halfway mark Mitch Adamyk had to be sharp, making a few stops down low on a goal mouth scramble. Shortly after Cameron Trott's dump in shot took a weird bounce off the end boards, coming out front hitting Adamyk in the pads before the Kings goaltender was forced into making a tough save off the strange hop off the boards. Shortly after Ian Ross's point shot was denied by Darion Hanson who had to be alert, making a save with bodies in front. With about a minute and a half remaining, Tristan Mullin and Carter Turnbull lead a Kings two on one rush, Mullin decided to keep & shoot, was denied by Darion Hanson. Late in the 1st inside the final minute Powell River would get a late powerplay and capitalize. Jonny Evans quick wrist shot looked to go post and in beating Darion Hanson tying the game 1-1 at 19:34 Cam Donaldson and Ben Berard with the helpers. Between the Kings goal and the faceoff Shane Kelly would take an undisciplined penalty sending Powell River back to the powerplay. The Kings with little time remaining would take the powerplay into the 2nd period. It was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers jumped on the Kings early, would open the scoring in a very fast paced entertaining 1st period. Both teams went back and fourth but I thought Vernon carried a bit more of the play, had a slight edge on the Kings. Both teams were flying, moving the puck, playing with speed, played well. Vernon outshot Powell River 11-10.
2nd Period: The Kings started the middle frame on the man advantage that was carried over from the 1st. The Vipers with a good PK were able to kill off the minor. Just as the penalty expired, Cam Donaldson with a great opportunity in front, couldn't solve Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson. Shortly after Powell River would jump back on the powerplay but couldn't capitalize. The Vipers with a second penalty kill just minutes into the 2nd. The Kings playing with lots of jump, as Vernon looked to be a step behind. The Vipers would get a look with the PP just minutes after killing off the penalty. But shorthanded it was Curtis McCarrick using his wheels, would break in for the parcial breakaway be stopped by Darion Hanson on a missed opportunity. Vernon struggled with the powerplay, didn't record a shot as Powell River killed off the minor. The Kings playing very well on this six game road trip, were the better of the two teams. Powell River would get a few quality chances in the second half. With about eight minutes to go, Tristan Mullin was denied by Darion Hanson before Cooper Watson unloaded a rocket of a shot from the circle, beat Mitch Adamyk but clanked one off the crossbar, as the Vipers come within inches of taking the lead with about six and a half minutes remaining. Vernon would get a powerplay with about five minutes remaining, but again had troubles on the PP. The Vipers for a second straight powerplay, couldn't register a shot as Powell River killed off the minor. Shortly after Ben Berard with a good opportunity couldn't give the Kings the lead on a chance late in the frame. With just less then two minutes in the second period, Shane Kelly would take a undisciplined penalty, sending the Kings to the powerplay. Moving the puck around, Liam Lawson setup Matthew Cairns who beat Darion Hanson giving Powell River a 2-1 lead at 19:32 Lawson & Carter Turnbull collected the assists. This was the Kings second goal scored inside the final minute of a period. Powell River was up 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. The Kings started the frame on back to back powerplays, couldn't capitalize. Powell River carried the play early and through out most of the 2nd period. The Kings moving the puck well, played very well, scoring inside the final minute for their first lead of the night. The Kings defence was very good, closing the shooting lanes, kept Vernon to the outside, were smothering the Viper attack for most of the period. The Vipers were forced into starting the period on the penalty kill, didn't seem to have their legs going, were a step behind Powell River most of the frame. Vernon didn't have the same jump/energy they played with in the 1st were outplayed and outworked in the middle frame. The Vipers with very little zone time, had troubles getting pucks to the net, generated/created very little opportunities, hit the crossbar, struggled with the powerplay. The Kings were the better team this period. Powell River outshot Vernon 14-8.
3rd Period: Two and a half minutes into the final frame, Kyle Betts with a great look in front was stopped by Darion Hanson. Minutes later Betts would get a second look-opportunity, looking to give Powell River a two goal lead. Shortly after Steven Jandric turned up the jets, beat his defender before trying to beat Kings starting goaltender Mitch Adamyk on the wrap around on a nice save from Adamyk. Jandric beat Adamyk on a wrap around in the opening frame to open the scoring. Shortly after Vernon would get an early powerplay but again struggle. The Kings would kill off the minor. The Vipers offence had dried up, really struggled through out the night. The Kings were smothering Vernon's attack in the final two periods. Just before the halfway mark the Kings would jump on the man advantage and basically put this game to bed. Carter Turnbull setup Tristan Mullin for a wicked wrist shot that beat Darion Hanson far side, giving Powell River a 3-1 lead at 10:02 Turnbull and Liam Lawson picked up the helpers. From here on in the Kings basically dumped and chased, before giving Vernon all kinds of trouble trying to get through the neutral zone. Powell River really slowed down the pace, brought the game to a crawl at times, as the Vipers struggled offensively. With just under six minutes remaining the Vipers would get a powerplay, to try and get within a goal. But once again Vernon struggled with the extra attacker. The Kings forecheck and solid defensive play was too much for Vernon's powerplay as the Kings killed off the minor. The Vipers would jump back on the powerplay with just over two minutes remaining. Mark Ferner would call a late timeout, this getting Darion Hanson to the bench for the extra attacker. Vernon with a few looks, didn't generate much, were held to the outside, forced to move the puck around, waisting a lot of valuable time off the clock, as Powell River killed off another minor. Inside the final minute Curtis McCarrick missed a wide open cage after taking a shot at the open goal from just outside the Viper blueline. It didn't matter as Powell River would hang on for the 3-1 victory. It looked like the Vipers ran out of gas, Vernon looked slow-tired at times, were having all kinds of trouble, moving the puck out of their own end, getting any kind of offence-zone time. The Vipers with three powerplays, didn't generate much with the man advantage, missed some good opportunities. The Kings played a very shut down 3rd, with a dump and chase, with a strong forecheck. Kept the Viper offence to the outside, limited Vernon's shots-chances most of the 2nd and 3rd periods, were very strong in front of their own goal. Tristan Mullin's powerplay goal was big, to basically put the game away. Powell River outshot Vernon 8-7.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Ryan Brushett carried the puck a lot, moved the puck through the neutral zone into the attacking zone in a hurry, was strong with the puck, but either held onto the puck too long-or couldn't get to the net to create/generate a scoring play. I thought played well, seemed to be one of a few Vipers that tried to generate/create some offence.
Steven Jandric (1 goa) I thought played hard, used his speed, was driving to the net, opened the scoring, had a few opportunities.
Darion Hanson (29 saves) Kept Vernon in the game at times, especially in the 2nd and 3rd periods, having to make some key stops. Was out to challenge, smothered the puck often, not giving up many second opportunities.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I really liked the Vipers game in the opening frame. I thought they jumped on Powell River early, created some chances inside the opening minute, were able to open the scoring, played with a lot of jump/energy, were really skating hard, carried a bit more of the play, played very well in the first twenty minutes. I thought Vernon had a slight edge in play in that 1st period, needed to get that second or even third goal to get a good jump on the Kings. Instead they play with a 1-0 lead, before giving up a late powerplay goal inside the final minute on a undisciplined penalty. The Vipers looked-played like a different hockey club in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Didn't have the same jump/energy, seemed to be a step behind Powell River, looked tired in the 3rd. The Vipers passing just wasn't clicking tonight, several poor passes or passes in the skates, had trouble coming out of their own end, getting through the neutral zone, and getting any real sustained pressure-zone time through out the game. The Vipers struggled getting pucks to the net, were held to the outside, were being smothered in the final two periods. I thought the defence turned over the puck often at the blueline, giving up way too many odd man rushes-opportunities coming back the other way, were sloppy with the puck at the blueline, the forwards were hovering in and around the neutral zone, waiting for the pass from the d-man behind the goal. Those forwards have to come back and make that first pass available. The Vipers took a few undisciplined penalities and penalties late in a period, that cost them two goals. Vernon goes 0-6 with the powerplay, was awful with the man advantage. Back to back powerplays in the 2nd period, didn't register a single shot. Gave up a shorthanded breakaway, were limited in shots, waisted most of the powerplay, moving the puck around. The Vipers needed to play with a little more urgency in the 2nd and 3rd periods, get pucks in deep, get pucks to the net-look for second opportunities, drive to the net, try and create something, instead of looking for that pretty play-goal. I thought the Vipers needed a spark in the 2nd or 3rd period to get things rolling, just didn't have that intensity they played with in the 1st. The 4th line saw very limited ice time, maybe three shifts all night? The Vipers played-looked very good in the opening frame, but weren't so good in the 2nd and 3rd periods. A great turnout as one of the bigger crowds in a long time. It seems like it dosnt matter what year it is, the Vipers have always struggled-had troubles playing in front of larger crowds.
Top Player's: (Powell River)
Ian Ross Played very well on the Kings blueline. Was steady thought out the night, was getting pucks to the net, jumped into the play, was hard to beat one on one, had a strong night on the backend.
Liam Lawson (2 assists) Not the biggest kid, but quick on his feet. Always on the go, involved in the play, makes things happen. Played very well tonight.
Gavin Rauser Was another Kings forward I thought stood out-played well. Has some wheels, can move the puck.
Carter Turnbull (2 assists) Played a strong game, picked up two helpers, was involed in the play, goes to the net, looks for those second chances.
Curtis McCarrick Missed an open net inside the final minute, was stopped on a 2nd period breakaway shorthanded, was very close to breaking free for a second breakaway but the play was blown dead to offside. Was very aggressive on the penalty kill, plays with a lot of jump, strong on the forecheck, played-battled hard.
Cam Donaldson (1 assist) Was another Powell River forward that looked-played very well in the victory. Strong on the attack, aggressive, skates well, battles hard, works for his opportunities.
Kyle Betts Had some good looks-chances in tonight's game, played well.
Tristan Mullin (1 goal) Is another Kings forward that goes to the net, involved in the play, generates-creates chances.
Andy Stevens played very well on the point. Was good defensively.
Mitch Adamyk (25 saves) Was forced to make some key stops in the opening few minutes, got to see-handle the puck, made some big saves on a few goal mouth scrambles, was hard to be in close other then the Vipers opening goal. I thought played very well in that opening period, making 10 saves, kept his team in the game. It was in the 2nd and 3rd periods where the Kings netminder wasn't tested much, was seeing everything, had a pretty easy night in the final two periods.
Game Thought's: (Powell River)
The Powell River Kings made their first and only regular season visit to Kal Tire Place are now 2-0 vs the Vipers this season. The Kings come into Vernon and played a very hard nosed, gritty road game to pick up their ninth straight win. I thought Powell River played very close to a full sixty minutes. I said before I thought both teams played very hard-well in that 1st period but I thought Vernon had a slight edge in play-carried a bit more of the play. It was in the 2nd and 3rd periods where Powell River didn't take their foot off the gas. The Kings kept battling and played hard. The Kings score a huge goal late inside the final minute of the opening frame on the powerplay, ties the game-gets them back in the game in a period where they didn't carry as much as the play as the Vipers. In the 2nd period they had some looks-chances were unable to capitalize-bury their chances, once again scored late on the powerplay inside the final minute of the 2nd period, to grab a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd. The Kings then capitalize on a 3rd period powerplay goal, go 3-6 with the man advantage. Specialty teams was definitely a difference tonight. You have to give credit to the Powell River penalty kill, that played very well, killing off all six of Vernon's powerplay's. The Kings have a fairly big team that isn't overly physical, has some wheels, can move the puck, create-generate chances, jumps on their opportunities. Powell River did a great job at limiting the Viper offence, played very well defensively, closed the shooting lanes, kept Vernon's offence to the outside, did a good job at forcing the Vipers to move-shoot the puck with a strong forecheck. The Kings really smothered the Vipers offence in the 2nd and 3rd period. Even with the game tied, the Kings never seemed to panic, stayed with the program and kept working, were harder on pucks, stronger along the boards, were getting pucks to the net, won a lot of draws in the win, were the better team in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Powell River will be in Langley tomorrow afternoon to wrap up their six game road trip.
Riley Brandt (Injured)
Luke Gingras (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
Brett Stapley (1 assist)
1st Star: Carter Turnbull (2 assists)
2nd Star: Steven Jandric (1 goal)
3rd Star: Liam Lawson (2 assists)