I was at tonight's Vipers-Vees game as Vernon tied Penticton 3-3 in front of 3,009 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Penticton: Matthew Robson
1st Period: The Vees jumped on the Vipers off the opening faceoff, as Penticton carried the early edge in play but didn't generate any real scoring chances. Vernon was hemmed in their own end early before needing two and a half minutes to enter the neutral zone and get into the offensive zone. About a minute later The Vipers carried the play in over the blueline on an odd man rush, setup Brett Stapley in the high slot who ripped a quick high shot that was denied by Matthew Robson. It wasn't long after that Steven Jandric setup Brett Stapley who ripped a quick shot past Matthew Robson giving Vernon the early 1-0 lead at 5:20 on just the Vipers second shot. Jandric with the lone assist. The Vipers were being outshot 5-2 early before slowly getting their game going. Opening the scoring seemed to give Vernon a bit of momentum for a short period. Just before the halfway mark ex NHLer Tony Amonte's son Ty Amonte lead the two on one, decided to keep and shoot, was stopped by Darion Hanson, who was out to challenge making the save off the Vees rush. Just minutes later Michael Ufberg picked up a pass before walking in from the point, was stopped by Matthew Robson on a quality chance from the high slot. The Vees would get the games first powerplay late in the frame with just three minutes remaining. With some pressure, Penticton didn't generate much offence, recorded just two shots as Vernon killed off the minor. It was 1-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. The Vees with a quick start, jumped on the Vipers early, had some good pressure in the attacking zone for a good two minutes plus, didn't get any real scoring chances before Vernon responded opening the scoring just over five minutes into the contest. Both teams played hard, looked fairly even for the most parts, didn't really get a lot of pucks to the net-create many opportunities in a tight checking 1st period. Penticton outshot Vernon 9-5.
2nd Period: The Vipers jumped on the Vees early. Inside the opening minute former Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Cameron Trott's shot from the point looked to hit someone on it's way to the goal, changed direction just missing the far corner. Vernon with a strong forecheck, had the Vees chasing early. On the same play-shift, Niko Karamanis was stoned at the side of the net by Vees starting goaltender Matthew Robson who come across the crease to make a big stop off Karamanis. With the Vipers pressing, Steven Jandric with a quick shot from the slot, couldn't solve Robson who made two big saves early. Shortly after Niko Karamanis was stopped in front before Jagger Williamson buried the rebound in front, giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 2:34 Karamanis & Hunter Zandee collected the helpers. Just over two minutes later Ryan Brushett buried a rebound in close giving Vernon a 3-0 lead at 4:45 Cooper Watson and Austin Adamson picked up the assists. The Vipers with all kinds of pressure early were all over the Penticton Vees. Vernon was outshooting Penticton 7-1 at this point. Just over two minutes later the Vipers would get their first look with the powerplay. Vernon unable to capitalize with the man advantage after the Vees forced Cooper Watson into taking a penalty, sending the teams to four on four. Shortly after one of the referee's behind the Vees goal, would take a puck to the face-mouth quickly skated up ice covering his mouth, before being handed a towel at the Vees bench, went straight to the Penticton dressing room and didn't return. Still four on four Chris Klack spotted a wide open former Calgary Hitmen Taylor Sanheim in the high slot who's shot looked to move in slow motion on it's way to the net, before floating over Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson's glove and into the back of the net, on a strange play, cutting the Vernon lead to 3-1 at 9:24 Klack with the lone helper. This was a strange play, wich It looked to me like Hanson didn't see the shot, may have been screened on the play with a Vees forward at the top of the crease. Hanson looked a little delayed on the shot before the puck went into the back of the net. The Vipers responded with a strong push back shift, after Steven Jandric with a great quality chance in close, couldn't beat Matthew Robson who come up with a huge save keeping this a two goal game. The Vees come right back and slowly took over the edge in play, were really moving the puck-gaining momentum as the period continued. Penticton poured on the attack but didn't generate many pucks to the net. Moving the puck around, the Vees seemed to get rewarded on their shots on goal. The Vees would eventually get within a goal after some nice three way passing. Chris Klack spotted captain Nicholas Jones in the slot who then dished off to former Brandon Wheat Kings forward Duncan Campbell who redirected his shot past Darion Hanson cutting the Vernon lead to 3-2 at 14:07 getting the crowd and the Vees back into the hockey game. Jones & Klack with the helpers. With the Vipers back on their heels, just over two minutes later Kenny Johnson with a long stretch pass spotted a streaking Grant Cruikshank who turned on his wheels entering the offensive zone, before ripping a lazer shot past Darion Hanson tying the game 3-3 sending the South Okanagan Events Centre into a frenzy. Johnson with the lone assist. Penticton rallies all the way back down 3-0 to tie the game late in the 2nd. Penticton kept coming, with a strong forecheck and sustained pressure the Vees had the Vipers back on their heels. The Vees with some good looks in and around the net, were getting some good opportunities late in the frame. Ty Amonte with a great chance with about two minutes to go, couldn't beat Darion Hanson in close. In the dying the seconds Darion Hanson had to be sharp was forced to make a big stop off Jonny Tychonick's point shot before stopping a Penticton forward on the wrap around just seconds before the buzzer. It was 3-3 after 40 minutes of play. Vernon with a strong start, jumped on the Vees early. Two quick back to back goals just minutes into the middle frame, gave the Vipers a pretty solid 3-0 lead, were all over Penticton in the first half. The Vees were back on their heels early, had troubles defending against the Vipers. Penticton was having troubles clearing the zone, played a lot of the first half in their own end. The Vees would get on the board just before the midway mark, would claw back and take it too the Vipers in the second half, scoring three goals to tie the game and dominate the play in the final ten minutes. Vernon was back on their heels, were having troubles with the Vees offence. The Vipers played most of the second half in their own end. Vernon outshot Penticton 18-10.
3rd Period: Off the opening faceoff a quick shot from the point, looked to fool Darion Hanson after the puck was either redirected or hit someone in front changed directions at the last minute, just missed the far corner. Not a lot of action early to start the 3rd as the play went back and fourth with anot a lot of scoring chances until Penticton changed the momentum of the period in a hurry. Just seven minutes in the Vees sprung Grant Cruikshank in for the parcial breakaway, was denied by Darion Hanson before Duncan Campbell couldn't bury the rebound. The Vees took over and in a matter of minutes had the Vipers on the ropes, had some amazing chances couldn't take the lead. Taylor Ward suckered Darion Hanson way out of his crease, somehow couldn't slide the puck into the open cage on the wrap around, shortly after Hanson was forced into going post to post to rob a Penticton forward at the side of the net (Couldn't see who it was) to make one of his biggest saves of the period. The Vees with a ton of pressure, had Vernon back on their heels, basically running in circles, had some great looks-great opportunities, missed on a few real solid chances in close. The Vipers were badly outplayed and were being outshot 10-3 at this point. About the halfway mark Hunter Zandee took wich looked to be a hip check in the neutral zone, went up and over before landing near the front of the Vees bench. Zandee was in a lot of pain, didn't move for a minute or two. The Vipers trainer rushed to the ice to check on the forward, needed help off the ice, looked to put very little weight on his left knee-leg. Zandee went to the Vipers bench, would eventually return, saw one short shift, looked to be in some discomfort, was very slow putting pressure on just one skate, struggled back to the bench, didn't see another shift. The Vees would get the lone powerplay of the 3rd just past the midway mark. With good sustained pressure, Darion Hanson come across the blue paint to rob Taylor Sanheim at the side of the net, as Penticton couldn't buy a goal. Vernon would excape and kill off the minor. The Vees with several goal mouth scrambles, couldn't solve Darion Hanson who was solid between the pipes for Vernon. The Vipers had a few decent looks late in the period, didn't see a lot of action in the offensive zone. It was tied 3-3 after 60 minutes of play. This was period was all Penticton as the Vees dominated from start to finish. The Vees jumped on the Vipers, had a ton of great opportunities, couldn't buy a goal-catch a break, as Darion Hanson come up with some unreal saves, keeping this game tied. If it wasn't for Hanson and a few lucky bounces, this game should have been over. Penticton couldn't bury-capitalize on some good chances, ran into a hot goaltender. The Vipers back on their heels the entire 3rd had very little zone time, played most of the 3rd in their own end. Penticton outshot Vernon 16-8.
Overtime: Off the opening faceoff, captain Nicholas Jones was able to walk in from the slot, was robbed by Darion Hanson who made a huge save. On the following shift-play the Vees would come very close to ending the game on a goal mouth scrambe, but somehow the puck stayed out. The Vipers once again back on their heels early into the extra frame, as the Vees were pressing for the winner. The Vipers responded on the following shift, after Brett Stapley lead the rush, was stopped by Matthew Robson who made a huge save before Steven Jandric going to the net, couldn't bury the rebound in front. Two quality chances at both ends of the rink. The play really opened up with a lot of open ice. The Vees with several good opportunities couldn't put this game away. It was tied 3-3 after 65 minutes of play. Penticton carried a lot of the play, had the better of the opportunities as Darion Hanson was solid keeping the Vipers in the game. Shots were 5-5.
Double Overtime: Both teams looking to slow down the play-get the right line matches, really slowed down the pace in the extra frame. Both teams held the puck-play in their own end for several minutes, waiting for the right line changes etc. Not a lot of pace in the double overtime. Ryan Brushett with a good burst of speed, cut through the neutral zone, before driving to the net one on one, just fired wide of the far corner. Penticton really looking for that stretch pass, failed on atleast two maybe three two on one attacks. Not nearly as many opportunities as the first overtime. Both teams didn't really generate a lot in the second overtime. The game ended 3-3. Penticton outshot Vernon 3-1.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Shane Kelly I thought played a physical game, was very aggressive in his own end, played very well in the tie.
Brett Stapley (1 goal) I thought played very well. Was really skating hard, was quick on his feet, created/generated several opportunities, was very dangerous in the offensive zone.
Ryan Brushett Played very well through out the night. Had shifts were he was very good with and without the puck. Was skating hard, moving the puck up ice in a hurry.
Hunter Zandee (1 assist) I thought was playing very well before leaving the game midway though the 3rd period.
Darion Hanson (40 saves) Was solid between the pipes in the 3rd period & overtime, keeping his team in the game. Hanson was forced into making several huge stops in the 3rd and overtime, also got some luck after it looked like the Vees may have missed the open cage on a few chances in close. If it wasn't for the Viper goaltender, this game should have been over in the 3rd.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
The Vipers get off to a bit of a slow start, needed a few minutes to get their legs moving, opened the scoring, played very well in the 1st period. Vernon gets off to a strong start in the 2nd jumped on Penticton, with a ton of pressure, scored two quick back to back goals early to start the middle frame, jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Vipers looked to have the Vees on the ropes in the middle frame, allowed the Vees to get back in the game and eventually blow a three goal lead. The Vipers were then outplayed in the second half of the 2nd period. The Vipers couldn't seem to recover, were outplayed in the 3rd and first overtime, were back on their heels, saw a lot of time in their own end, heavily relied on Darion Hanson to bail them out. My turning point was in the 2nd period with the Vipers up 3-0 and on the powerplay, the Vees force Vernon into taking a penalty in their own end, sending the play to four on four, wich later resulted into Penticton getting on the board before tying the game. If Vernon scores on that powerplay, it's now 4-0 and maybe puts the game away? Instead the Vees are able to kill off the first minute before playing four on four, wich allows them to get on the board, changing the momentum. This was a big play in the game, that really shifted the play-momentum. The Vipers played well up until the midway mark of the 2nd period, then were outplayed-outchanced most of the remainder of the night. The Vipers saw a lot of action in their own end. Vernon gave up way too many opportunities in the 3rd-overtime periods. The Vipers were running around in circles at times, chasing the puck-Vees. If your the Vipers you cant be happy with blowing a three goal lead. This is a game where you have to try and hold onto the lead and get the win. Vernon did manage to come away with a point, in a building that's hard to play in, but still this was a game where the Vipers should have played better with a three goal lead. The Vipers don't seem to have that killer instinct, have had troubles putting away teams this season. My biggest concern is the Vipers consistency as of late. In their last five out of six games, Vernon has had troubles playing a full sixty minutes. One game they look good in one period, then take the next two off. Vernon has now gone to overtime in three of their last six games, fall to 2-3-0-1 vs Penticton this season.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Joseph Leahy I thought was very strong on the backend. Played very well at both ends of the rink. Made a few smart defensive plays, to break up a Viper attack.
Nicholas Jones (1 assist) I thought picked up his game as the game went on, didn't really notice him much early on, but seemed to step up his play in the 2nd and 3rd periods and then in overtime. The Vees captain was very strong down low with and without the puck. Hard to defend against, skates well, moves the puck well. Was good on the draw.
Chris Klack (2 assists) Was very strong up front for the Vees. Was involved in the play, buzzing in and around the Vernon goal.
Grant Cruikshank (1 goal) Played well but in spurts. I thought looked good at different times through out the night. Scored the game tying goal, was setup for a parcial breakaway in the 3rd couldn't give the Vees the lead.
Duncan Campbell (1 goal) Was very strong up front. Was involved in the play.
Connor Bouchard "AP" Played with a ton of jump/energy, was skating hard, didn't look out of place, played very well through out the contest.
Jonny Tychonick I thought was very solid on the blueline. Was quick getting pucks to the net, really makes things happen from the point, reads-sees the ice well. A good strong skater, moves the puck in a hurry.
Matthew Robson (34 saves) Gave up the opening goal on just the Vipers second shot, really battled hard with the score tied. Wasn't tested as much as Darion Hanson but made the saves when called apon. After giving up the three goals, seemed to come out of his crease a little more/challenge the Viper shooters more as the game went on.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
The Penticton Vees may have been seeing flashbacks from the last time they faced the Vipers. On January 7th also in Penticton was the last time these two teams met, the Vipers jumped out to a 3-0 lead, hung on for the 4-2 victory. Tonight the Vees were able to rally for three straight goals in the 2nd period to force overtime and come away with the single point. Other then the first half of the 2nd period I thought Penticton played very well. The game shifted-momentum changed halfway through the middle frame. The Vees get on the board, playing four on four, get back in the game, seem to keep coming and take over the game from here on in and for the remainder of the game. It seemed like the Vees really took over the play about the midway mark of the 2nd period and took it too Vernon for the remainder of the game. The Vees forecheck and puck movement was very strong, gave the Viper defenders all kinds of troubles. I thought the Vees had the better of the chances, couldn't solve Darion Hanson was was solid between the pipes. Penticton couldn't capitalize/bury some of their chances in the 3rd-overtime periods, didn't get a lot of puck luck in and around the net. Give Penticton credit, they didn't fold the tents, battled back down three goals, to pick up a point. A great crowd of over 3000 for a mid week game, really makes for a great atmosphere. Love the live band playing during and through out the game, gives a great feature-atmosphere. These two teams will meet for the seventh and final time this season, Friday in Vernon.
Riley Brandt (Injured)
Luke Gingras (Injured)
Gabe Bast (Injured)
Sam Rossini (Injured)
James Miller (Injured)
Ryley Risling (Suspended)
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Chris Klack (2 assists)
2nd Star: Nicholas Jones (1 assist)
3rd Star: Darion Hanson (40 saves)
Fraser Rodgers Penticton Vees Blog,