I was at tonight's Vipers-Silverbacks game as Vernon tied Salmon Arm 3-3 in front of 2,125 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Salmon Arm: Nic Tallarico
1st Period: The Silverbacks come out of the gates strong, jump on Vernon early and often carrying the better of the play off the opening faceoff, would force the Vipers into taking an early penalty, giving the Backs an early powerplay 2:24 into the contest. Salmon Arm would get five shots with the man advantage unable to capitalize as the Vipers would kill off the minor. SA was outshooting the Vipers 7-0 early at one point before the Silverbacks would get the games first quality opportunity. Darion Hanson would get caught behind his goal after a Viper defender through the puck out front to a wide open Grayson Constable who couldn't beat Darion Hanson six minutes in, got back into position to make the difficult save. A minute later Vernon would record their first shot on goal, needing seven minutes to get a puck towards Nic Tallarico. Less then two minutes later the Vipers open the scoring. Michael Ufberg's point shot was redirected in by Austin Adamson who beat Tallarico giving Vernon the 1-0 lead at 8:41 Ufberg & Shane Kelly with the assists. Both referee's gathered near the penalty box to decide if Adamson's goal was tipped in with a high stick. The goal would stand and the Vipers had the 1-0 lead. Just before the halfway mark the Backs setup Elijiah Barriga from behind the net who was robbed by Darion Hanson from the slot on a bang bang play. On the following shift Jimmy Lambert with a burst of speed ripped a heavy shot, that forced Nic Tallarico into flashing the leather, making a quick glove save, robbing Lambert. Late in the period Josh Latta on an odd man rush ripped a wicked shot that beat Darion Hanson high, tying the game 1-1 at 16:18 Justin Wilson and Trevor Ayre collected the helpers. The referee's decided to talk amongst themselves to decide if this puck went in, as the goal light didn't go off. The goal counted tying the game 1-1. Vernon would get their first powerplay on the following shift. The Vipers with good pressure, come very close to taking the lead after Nic Tallarico was beat as the puck looked to be crossing the goal line, a Salmon Arm defender reached back with his stick to clear the puck from going in, on a great defensive play, keeping this a tie game. The Silverbacks would kill off the minor. Just as the penalty expired Darion Hanson made a big stop on a Silverbacks breakaway. The Vipers would get called for slashing on the play, giving Salmon Arm a late powerplay. On the man advantage, former West Kelowna Warrior forward Hunter Zandee took out the legs from underneath Nic Tallarico giving the Backs a late two man advantage. The Vipers would excape as the buzzer ended the opening frame. It was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. The Silverbacks with a good start, jumped on the Vipers early, carried the play early and often. Getting lots of rubber to the net, SA was outshooting Vernon 8-1 at one point, but were down 1-0. The Vipers got off to a bit of a slow start, couldn't seem to get much going, had troubles getting pucks to the net-creating/generating chances most of the period. Vernon would seem to get their game going a bit in the second half looked a little better in the final ten minutes. The Backs showed lots of hustle, were winning the battles, had lots of jump in their game, were the better of the two teams in the opening frame. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 17-9.
2nd Period: The Silverbacks started the 2nd on the five on three that was carried over from the 1st period. The Backs would only manage two shots before the Vipers would kill off both minors. Jagger Williamson with a huge shot block lead the way, as the Vipers come up with three big blocked shots to kill off the remainder of the five on three. Vernon would gain momentum off the PK but couldn't get much of anything going, carrying the better of the play, the Vipers had all kinds of troubles getting through the neutral zone. Vernon with several turnovers inside their own blueline, was being bottled up by the Backs. SA playing very well defensively, was limiting Vernon's time and space. The Vipers would get a powerplay just before the midway mark. But with just one shot the Vipers struggled, as Salmon Arm killed off the minor. With five and a half minutes remaining the Vipers would get their best opportunity of the middle frame. Niko Karamanis redirected a Viper point shot, that forced Silverbacks starting goaltender Nic Tallarico into making a huge pad save, keeping this game tied. Shortly after the Backs would get caught with too many men on the ice, sending the Vipers back to the powerplay. On the man advantage, Vernon would get atleast four quality chances, couldn't solve Nic Tallarico who made some of his biggest stops of the period, keeping his team in the game. The Vipers unable to beat Tallarico couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. With just over a minute to go in the period, the Vipers with two late penalties, giving Salmon Arm their second five on three powerplay of the evening. Vernon would excape the period before the final buzzer. It was 1-1 after 40 minutes of play. Salmon Arm missed a great opportunity to grab the lead, couldn't capitalize with a lengthy two man advantage at the start of the period. The Vipers with several big blocked shots, with a strong PK kept this game tied early. This was a big boost as Vernon gained momentum after the big kill and would carry most of the play for most of the period. The Vipers had all kinds of trouble, getting through the neutral zone most of the period. The Silverbacks did a great job at bottling up Vernon's offence, limiting the Vipers time and space. The Vipers were finally able to get into the offensive zone in the second half, had some quality chances couldn't solve Nic Tallarico who was solid between the pipes, especially on the PK. The Silverbacks played a lot of the period without the puck, didn't see much time in the offensive zone. The Vipers were the better of the two teams, had most of the play outshot Salmon Arm 13-4.
3rd Period: Salmon Arm started the 3rd on the two man advantage, that was carried over from the 2nd period. For a second straight period SA was unable to capitalize with a lengthy five on three, as the Vipers would kill off both minors. This was a huge kill for Vernon who seemed to sit back as the Backs pressed hard. The Silverbacks looked hungry, were all over the Viper defenders inside their own blueline. With a strong forecheck Salmon Arm forced Vernon into several turnovers in their own end, wich resulted in opportunities. The Vipers fell asleep, looked very loose with the puck in their own end, had all kinds of troubles clearing the zone-breaking out of their own end. On a Viper turnover inside their own blueline, Josh Latta setup Justin Wilson who beat Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson, giving Salmon Arm a 2-1 lead at 8:13 Latta with the lone assist. Nic Tallarico with a huge pump fist, showed a lot of emotion after the Backs goal. Ten seconds later Jared Turcotte setup Josh Latta on an odd man rush, who beat Darion Hanson five hole giving Salmon Arm a 3-1 lead at 8:23 Turcotte and Justin Wilson picked up the helpers. This sending the handful of Silverback fans into a frenzy. Salmon Arm was outshooting Vernon 7-1 at this point. The Silverbacks with back to back goals in ten seconds forced Mark Ferner into calling a timeout. Vernon responded with a big push back. The Vipers come back with a few hard working shifts, would setup Steven Jandric going hard to the net, looked to beat Nic Tallarico low but hit the bottom base of the post and stayed out on a close call. The Vipers with a strong forecheck-attack forced Salmon Arm into taking a penalty, giving the Vipers a powerplay. The Vipers moving the puck around before former Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Cameron Trott spotted Jagger Williamson in the slot who beat Nic Tallarico in front cutting the Salmon Arm lead to 3-2 at 13:14 getting Kal Tire Place back into the game. Trott & Hunter Zandee with the assists. On the following shift-just seconds after Williamson's goal, Salmon Arm would take its second straight minor, sending Vernon back to the powerplay. Cameron Trott once again setup Jagger Williamson in front who went backhand to tie the game 3-3 at 14:43 sending Kal Tire Place into a frenzy. Trott with the lone helper. The Vipers with back to back powerplay goals 1:29 apart were back in the game. The Vipers kept pressing, pouring on the pressure for most of the remainder of the game as the Backs were basically hanging on for the single point-overtime. It was all Vernon late as Nic Tallarico was forced into making a few stops late to force overtime. It was tied 3-3 after 60 minutes of play. For a second straight period the Vipers were forced to killing off a lengthy five on three at the start of the period. This was a huge kill but didn't seem to give Vernon any momentum as Salmon Arm kept coming, pressing hard with a strong forecheck, forcing the Vipers into several turnovers inside their own zone. Vernon playing very loose in their own end, were sloppy at times, making several mistakes, were having all kinds of troubles getting out of their own end, were now back on their heels. The Backs with two quick back to back goals, ten seconds apart would grab a 3-1 lead before the Vipers pushed back with a great work ethic to finish the 3rd. Vernon with two quick back to back powerplay goals, forced overtime. Salmon Arm showed a lot of compete and hard work in the first half of the frame, outoworked and out hustled Vernon grabbed a two goal lead into the second half. Give the Vipers credit they battled back and stepped up their game in the final ten minutes, to get a point tonight. SA was the better team in the first half, as the Vipers were the better team in the second half. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 12-9.
Overtime: Both teams looked very cautious early into the 1st overtime. Not much action at both sides of the rink in the opening few minutes. With just over two minutes remaining Ryan Brushett walked in from the high slot went around a Salmon Arm defender before unloading a quick low shot that just missed the far corner on a close call to put the game away. Back come the Silverbacks off the rush, on an odd man rush a quick shot from the corner was thrown towards the front of the goal, looked to go off Darion Hanson and roll across the goal line before Sol Seibel dove back clearing the puck from the blue paint on a ad scramble in front of the Viper crease as Salmon Arm come within inches of ending the hockey game. The play would continue as the puck come back out front where former Vernon Vipers defenceman Ryley Booth wired a rocket of a shot from the point that beat Darion Hanson high but went off the crossbar as the Silverbacks with back to back close calls. It was tied 3-3 after 65 minutes of play. Both clubs were very cautious early, not wanting to make a mistake in overtime. Both teams with chances in the final two minutes couldn't find the back of the net. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 3-0.
Double Overtime: Early into the second overtime period Silverbacks leading scorer Elijiah Barriga with a great opportunity was robbed by Darion Hanson who come up with a huge glove save, keeping this game tied. On the following shift Hunter Zandee lead the attack on a two on one rush, Zandee setup Ryan Brushett who fired high and over the open cage missing a great opportunity. Back come SA after Trey Thomas lead a two on one couldn't beat Darion Hanson who come up with the big pad save. The play started to really open up late in double overtime with both teams going back and fourth. Vernon with a strong forecheck on atleast two plays down low, couldn't get the puck to the front of the net. Brett Stapley with a strong forecheck, held onto the puck before trying to cut back in front, couldn't get a great shot off, was stopped by Nic Tallarico in front. With 1:41 remaining Jared Turcotte one on one forced Darion Hanson into making a huge right pad save, catching the Vernon goaltender going the other way, had to quickly recover making a game saver late in the final overtime. Both teams would run out of time forcing the 3-3 tie. A wild and exciting second overtime, saw both teams get some very good looks-great opportunities. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 4-3.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Sol Seibel I thought played well on the blueline. Made a big defensive play in the 1st overtime, after clearing the puck from crossing the goal line. This kid has really come along ways from the start of the season. Playing with much more confidence these days.
Brett Stapley I thought was one of the more consistent Viper forwards tonight. Was strong on the forecheck, played hard through out the game. Not the biggest kid but plays big at times, isn't afraid of going into the corners-the front of the goal, to earn his points.
Ryan Brushett I thought looked good at times through out the game. Here's a kid that has some skill when with the puck, just dosnt show it from game to game. Had a great chance late in overtime, made a nice move cutting to the net, just fired low and wide.
Jagger Williamson (2 goals) I don't think stood out from start to finish, but really looked good on the penalty kill, especially on the five on three at the start of the 2nd period, where he come up with a huge shot block. Then lead the attack with back to back 3rd period powerplay goals to force overtime. I would say played better as the game went along.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I don't think this one of the Vipers better games. The Vipers got off to a bit of a slow start, didn't have their legs going off the opening draw, were outworked and outshot early but opened the scoring. Vernon seemed to get their game going a bit in the second half but had troubles getting pucks to the net-creating/generating chances. The Vipers gave up the game tying goal late, before having to kill off a lengthy five on three to finish the period. I thought the Vipers responded with a much better 2nd period. Were forced to kill off the two man advantage to start the middle frame, before carrying the better of the play. Vernon may have carried the better of the play but had troubles getting through the neutral zone, were being bottled up by the Silverbacks. It wasn't until the second half of the middle frame, where the Viper offence-attack had several quality chances, but couldn't solve Nic Tallarico. The Vipers were forced into killing off a second five on three towards the end of the 2nd and start of the 3rd, were able to do so before falling apart. Vernon struggled in the 3rd, had all kinds of troubles clearing the zone, were playing way too loose in their own end. Turning over the puck often, making errand passes, resulted in two quick back to back goals in ten seconds, found themselves down two goals. Give the Vipers credit, they didn't fold the tent, instead pushed hard in a strong second half, had a ton of pressure with a strong forecheck, forced Salmon Arm into taking back to back penalties, wich resulted in back to back powerplay goals, forcing overtime. I thought the Vipers responded well after the Backs 3rd goal and finished strong. The Vipers had some good quality chances in overtime also gave up several quality chances. Vernon was outworked often through out the game, made some very poor passes, wich resulted in turnovers and were turning over the puck way too often in their own end. The Vipers were getting too cute-fancy with on the offensive side with the puck, instead of keeping it simple, they were trying to make things look pretty. The wingers were way too high, couldn't receive the pass from the d-men. Vernon looked sub par for most of the night. The Vipers looked sloppy at times, making several mistakes in their own end. Did the Vipers look at the previous two games vs Salmon Arm, the standings and then the trades the Backs made at the deadline and realize they had this one in the bag before the game even started? It's almost like they took Salmon Arm too lightly and it cost them a point. The Vipers were lucky to tie the game-force overtime and salvage a point. I really liked the Viper penalty kill, was forced into killing off two lengthy five on three's. The powerplay scored two huge goals in the 3rd had some good looks through out the night. The Vipers finish the season going 5-0-0-2 vs Salmon Arm. The Vipers six game home winning streak comes to an end are now unbeaten in their last ten games (7 wins-3 ties). Vernon hosts Merritt tomorrow night. Former Vipers Chad Murray, Garth Gartner and Trevor Keenan were in attendance tonight.
Top Player's: (Salmon Arm)
Cody Schiavon "AP" Playing in just his third game with the Silverbacks played very well through out the night. Didn't look out of place on the backend, looked calm, played with a lot of confidence, was moving the puck up ice, skated well, played hard.
Justin Wilson (1 goal & 2 assists) Played a strong game for the Backs, picking up three points, was involved in the play, always on the attack, was going to the net often. Seemed to always be in and around the goal, looking for opportunities.
Jacob Kennedy "AP" Trey Thomas "AP" & Daine Dubois "AP" This line of affiliated players saw a regular shift, even saw a shift with three minutes remaining in the 3rd in a 3-3 tie. These three played very well, Trey Thomas playing in just his second game with the Silverbacks, didn't look out of place. I thought was the better of the three, stood out. A quick-smooth skater, can move the puck, reads and sees the ice well. Saw a few shifts in overtime. Give full credit to these three young kids for playing well.
Josh Latta (2 goals & 1 assist) Played with a lot of jump-energy, was really hustling through out the game. A good skater, was involved in the play, was going to the net.
Elijiah Barriga I don't think stood out as in some previous Vernon-Salmon Arm games, but still was a threat from time to time in tonight's contest. Had a great chance early in the 1st and then again in double overtime, had some good opportunities. Looked good at different times of the game, can change a game in seconds.
Trevor Ayre (1 assist) Making his Salmon Arm debut after coming over in a trade with the Cowichan Capitals played very well. Picking up an assist, was consistent, played hard, was either involved in the play or did a lot of the little things that most fans don't notice through out a game.
Ryan Hogg was another former Cowichan Capital that come over in a trade earlier this week, made his Backs debut tonight. Spending the past two and a half seasons with the Caps I thought looked very good for Salmon Arm.
Nic Tallarico (35 saves) Picks up his second tie vs the Vipers this season after stopping 46 saves in a 4-4 tie in Salmon Arm vs the Vipers back on December 9th. Made some big stops tonight, especially in the 2nd period on the penalty kill. One of the leagues smallest goaltenders, plays big, is quick on his feet, was forced into making some difficult saves tonight, giving his team a chance to win. Shows a lot of emotion through out the game, gave a good shot to one Viper who was banging away at a loose puck at the side of the net.
Game Thought's: (Salmon Arm)
The Silverbacks snapped the Vipers five game winning streak, played a very solid road game in a tough rink. Salmon Arm with a strong start, jumped on the Vipers early, were outshooting Vernon 7-1 at one point. The Backs would give up the games first goal, even though having the better of the play, tied the game late. SA couldn't seem to catch a break with the man advantage. Getting two lengthy five on three's the Silverbacks couldn't capitalize on the powerplay. Salmon Arm would finish 0-5 with the PP. I thought the Silverbacks looked better on a regular powerplay, over the two man advantage. The Backs only managed four shots in the 2nd period but did a great job at bottling up Vernon's offence. The Silverbacks limited the Vipers time and space for a lot of that middle frame, played very well defensively for most of the night. SA gave Vernon troubles all night, as the Viper offence was having troubles getting pucks to the net. Salmon Arm couldn't capitalize with the two man advantage to start the 3rd, didn't quit, kept battling and working hard, eventually banged two quick goals home, ten seconds apart to grab a 3-1 lead with twelve minutes remaining. The way Vernon was looking in the 3rd and the way the Silverbacks were playing, I figured this game was over. Salmon Arm couldn't hold onto the momentum after taking the two goal lead, took back to back minors giving up back to back powerplay goals, wich forced overtime. SA with several close calls-good opportunities to win it in overtime couldn't convert on their chances. After unloading their captain and veteran players at the trade deadline, SA playing with a line of "AP"s and not having beat Vernon this season, played a strong game for most of the night. Give credit to the Backs for battling hard, competing and coming close to pulling out a victory in a rink they haven't won in since December 9th 2015. I thought Salmon Arm was the better of the two teams for most of the night, got solid goaltending and played well defensively held their own vs the Vipers.
Riley Brandt (Injured)
Luke Gingras (Injured-Suspended)
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Josh Latta (2 goals & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Jagger Williamson (2 goals)
3rd Star: Justin Wilson ( 1 goal & 2 assists)