I was at tonight's Vipers-Bulldogs game as Vernon defeated Alberni Valley 4-1 in front of 2,089 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Alberni Valley: Carson Schamerhorn
1st Period: Off the opening faceoff former Vernon Vipers forward Nicholas Rasovic broke in for the parcial breakaway, beat Darion Hanson before ringing his shot off the post. The Dogs would get the games first powerplay of the game, just over a minute into the 1st. The Bulldogs jumped on the Vipers early with several scrambles in and around the goal, had some pressure-looks but couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. Alberni Valley kept the pressure going, had the Snakes hemmed in their own end, back on their heels. About four and a half minutes in, Ryan Steele went in alone for the breakaway, looked to beat Darion Hanson who somehow kicked the puck out with his pad after reaching back, making a huge pad save off Steele, keeping this a scoreless game. Hanson was then forced to flash the leather on the same play, after the Dogs got the puck back to the point, Paul Savage's quick shot from the blueline was stopped by Hanson who made the glove save. About two minutes later former Vernon Vipers forward Keith Anderson was denied in front after Darion Hanson made a difficult save on a goal mouth scramble as the Alberni Valley Bulldogs were all over Vernon. The Bulldogs were outshooting the Vipers 11-2 at the midway mark. Jagger Williamson & former team mate Nicholas Rasovic were jawing at one another during a stoppage in play, as the two exchanged a few jabs at one another. Just past the halfway mark AV would get their second powerplay of the period. Darion Hanson had to be sharp as the Snakes killed off the minor. Vernon finally responded and got their game going in the second half. Austin Adamson broke in down the right wing, ripped a heavy shot from the circle forced Carson Schamerhorn into making his biggest save of the evening, before getting tangled up with Paul Savage behind the Dogs goal. Adamson and Savage wrestled to the ice, with Vernon coming out with the late powerplay, their first of the evening. Jagger Williamson setup Riley Brandt in the slot who beat Carson Schamerhorn fivehole giving Vernon the 1-0 lead at 17:31 Williamson & Chris Jandric picked up the helpers. The Snakes would head back to the powerplay, with the Dogs taking two late minors. Chris Jandric's shot from the point, was redirected in front by captain Riley Brandt giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 19:44 Jandric & Jagger Williamson drew the assists. Just fifteen seconds later Luke Gingras caught Carson Schamerhorn napping, beating the Bulldogs goaltender on the wrap around giving Vernon a 3-0 lead at 19:59 Gingras's goal was unassisted. Alberni Valley/Carson Schamerhorn were shocked the Vipers were able to beat the buzzer with a second remaining. It was 3-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. The Bulldogs come ready to play, jumped on the Snakes early, with a ton of pressure, created/generated several quality chances. It was all Alberni Valley in the first half, couldn't solve Darion Hanson who was very solid between the pipes for the Vipers, keeping the Snakes in the game. The Vipers responded in the second half and come on late with back to back powerplay goals, capitalizing on specialty teams. I thought the Dogs were by far the better team in the first half and for most of the opening frame, carried most of the play, had several good chances. The Vipers come on late, didn't generate much for offence, but capitalized with the man advantage, were lucky to be winning after twenty minutes. Shots were 13-13.
2nd Period: The Bulldogs jumped on the Snakes off the opening faceoff and with a ton of pressure, looked to have Vernon back on their heels early. Two and a half minutes into the middle frame, a quick shot from well outside the zone took a awkward bounce off the end boards, come straight out, before banking off the back of Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson, who had to be alert was able to recover and clear the puck from the blue paint, as Alberni Valley come within inches of getting on the board. The Dogs were all over the Snakes early and often. AV with several quality chances in and around the net, as Darion Hanson was keeping his club in the game. The hard work would eventually pay off after the puck was caught between the skates of two Viper defencemen before Alex Mac Donald beat Darion Hanson who couldn't react in time, cutting the Vernon lead to 3-1 at 4:09 Cole Slaney drew the assist. The Bulldogs would jump on a powerplay just before the halfway mark, but it would be the Vipers who jumped on the attack. Jimmy Lambert tried setting up Steven Jandric going hard to the goal was denied by Carson Schamerhorn who come up with a big stop shorthanded. Riley Brandt and MacKenzie Wight got tangled up along the side wall, as the two took a few shots at each other, before getting back into the play. Just before the minor expired, Jimmy Lambert would get called four minutes for highsticking, giving AV a short two man advantage. The Vipers with a strong penalty kill, were able to kill off the penalty. Darion Hanson come out to play the puck on a Bulldogs dump in, but the puck took an awkward bounce off the end boards, giving Hanson some troubles. Steven Jandric setup Brett Stapley going to the net with about two and a half minutes remaining, tried redirecting the shot past Carson Schamerhorn on a great opportunity late in the period. Vernon would get a late powerplay, but unable to capitalize as it was 3-1 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. The Dogs with a strong start, carried most of the play for a lot of the first half. Alberni Valley had several good looks-opportunities in the first ten minutes, were only able to beat Darion Hanson once. I thought the Bulldogs were the better of the two teams. The Snakes with a huge penalty kill, looked good shorthanded didn't look very good in the middle frame. Alberni Valley outshot Vernon 12-11.
3rd Period: Inside the opening minute, MacKenzie Wight missed the net on a three on one rush, had a good chance at the side of the net, couldn't beat a sprawling Darion Hanson. Alberni Valley jumped on the Vipers early before getting an early powerplay just minutes into the final frame. The Snakes were able to kill off the minor before slowly taking over the play. Vernon carried a lot of the play but didn't really generate/create a lot of great opportunities before putting this game away. Jimmy Lambert took a huge hit along the side wall before staying with the play, setup Connor Clouston who's quick release from just inside the blueline beat Carson Schamerhorn high giving Vernon a 4-1 lead and in full control of the game at 6:48 Lambert & Jagger Williamson collected the helpers. Shortly after the Vipers would jump on the powerplay, had a few good looks couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. It looked like both teams were just wanting to wind the clock down and get off the ice with not a lot of action happening at either ends of the rink. Vernon did get a few quality chances in the second half, were playing the 3rd and 4th lines a lot. Jagger Williamson raced for a loose puck that took a funny bounce off the end boards, where Carson Schamerhorn was quick to smother the loose puck. With about two and a half minutes remaining former team mates Keith Anderson & Shane Kelly got involved in a scrum in front of the Viper goal before the two dropped the gloves. Both players were tossed from the game for fighting. The Dogs took over the play in the final minutes, had a few good looks but would run out of time as Vernon would come away with the 4-1 victory. This wasn't much of a period with not a lot of flow-action at either ends of the rink. I thought the Bulldogs come out hard, couldn't capitalize on an early powerplay before Vernon carried a lot of the play-game for the remainder of the game. The Snakes had some good looks-opportunities, gave the 3rd and 4th line some ice time, were dumping and chasing the puck a lot. AV had some late pressure, had a few good looks in and around the net, didn't put up much fight down by three goals. The Vipers were the better team. Vernon outshot Alberni Valley 12-5.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Riley Brandt (2 goals) Scored on back to back powerplays, played with some energy at times, played physical, was getting involved with a few Alberni Valley players through out the game. Skated-played hard for most of the night. Looked to get under the skin of a few Bulldogs late in the 3rd as several Dogs looked to try and get the Viper captain to drop the gloves.
Steven Jandric I thought showed a lot of hustle, was really flying most of the night, played with a lot of jump in his game, created/generated a few chances through out the game.
Darion Hanson (35 saves) If it wasn't for Hanson early, this could have easily been a different outcome. Hanson was forced to make some big stops off the opening faceoff and through out the 1st period, as the Snakes were outplayed. Hanson played very well through out the night, again was forced into making some big saves in the 2nd. Was solid between the pipes.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
For a second straight night the Vipers come no where near near playing sixty minutes, were lucky to come away with the win. Vernon was outplayed for a lot of the 1st and 2nd periods, were lucky to be up three goals. The Snakes carried a lot of the play in the 3rd but it was already 4-1 at this point. The Vipers looked flat-didn't play with a lot of energy-urgency tonight, were turning over pucks-coughing up pucks early in the 1st, making several defensive mistakes. Vernon with very little puck possession heavily relied on Darion Hanson the first half of the 1st period to make some big stops-keep them in this hockey game. I thought the Snakes come on in the second half and played much better, didn't get a lot of opportunities-capitalized on the powerplay to get out to a 2-0 lead late in that opening frame. Another 2nd period letdown as once again the Vipers stumble-look awful in the middle frame. Again the Vipers are lucky to be holding the lead, after Darion Hanson was forced into making several big stops in that 2nd period. The far end boards below the old beer gardens was causing some awkward bounces off the end boards all night. I didn't like the Snakes game tonight, in a game where I thought the losing team was the better team. I thought the Snakes looked sloppy at times through out the night, turned over-coughed up the puck alot, mad some poor decissions with and without the puck, waited for Darion Hanson to bail them out on occasion. Give Vernon some credit for battling back in the second half of the 1st, to get on the board first before pumping in three quick late goals to grab a three goal lead, heading into the 2nd. The Vipers have been a different hockey team ever since their 11 game winning-point streak ended. The Vipers got atleast a point in eleven straight games, haven't look-played the same since. The Vipers havent been there best the past month and it dosnt help, playing mean nothing games-teams at this point in the season. I'm sure its hard getting up for these games when 2nd place is already clinched, and your playing weaker teams that are below you in the standings. Too much home cooking? I wonder if playing all these home games, one after another has something to do with anything? For the past month or two Vernon has been playing most of there games at home, do you think there too relaxed-getting comfortable being at home all the time? Eating at home, hanging around with their buddies-gfs, being around different kids at school? They haven't really gone anywhere very far on the bus lately? They are into their same routine week after week, maybe has something to do with there funk as of late? Maybe getting away-out of town would be a good thing, only problem with that is, the regular season ends next weekend. Vernon better pick it up-play better come playoffs, or its going to be a short series. Former Vernon Vipers forward Trevor Keenan was in attendance. A great size crowd on hand, added a great atmosphere to the rink.
Top Player's: (Alberni Valley)
Kyle Kaufmann I thought played well for most of the night, seemed to be involved in the play, showed hustle through out the evening.
Nicholas Rasovic hit the post on a parcial breakaway off the opening faceoff, showed a lot of jump-energy in his game, I thought played with a bit of an edge through out the night, especially in that 1st and 2nd periods.
MacKenzie Wight I thought was one of, if not the more dangerous-effective Bulldogs forward this evening. A good strong skater, moves the puck in a hurry, has some wheels, can skate hard, goes to the net, was involved in the play a lot. Plays with an edge, was being physical, taking the body, getting involved in the scrums, played-battled hard.
Game Thought's: (Alberni Valley)
After a tough 4-0 loss in Salmon Arm Friday, The Bulldogs were ready to go tonight. AV jumped on the Snakes early and often and were by far the better of the two teams for most of the first two periods. The Bulldogs sure didnt look like a team in last place-out of the playoff race. Played with lots of jump-energy, had lots of pressure-quality scoring chances through out the night. Alberni Valley didn't get the bounces-have much puck luck. The Dogs had several good-quality chances in both the 1st and 2nd periods, couldn't bury their chances-solve Darion Hanson. AV takes back to back penalties late in the 1st, gives up two quick powerplay goals, falls behind 2-0 and couldn't seem to recover. If Alberni Valley could have popped a goal or two past Darion Hanson early in that opening frame, this may have been a different hockey game. AV went 0-6 with the man advantage, the Dogs score a powerplay goal or two and this could change things. The Dogs played-battled hard in the first two periods, just didn't seem to have much fight left in the 3rd down three goals. This team is really struggling as of late. The Bulldogs have lost four straight away from home and now seven of their last eleven road games. Alberni Valley has now lost seven straight, has just one win in their last nine and two wins in their last thirteen games. The Dogs sit last in the Island Division wont be in this years playoffs. Bulldogs goaltender Carson Schamerhorn is the younger brother of former Vernon Vipers goaltender Jarrod Schamerhorn. The Bulldogs last regular season win in Vernon was a 4-3 victory December 8th 2012.
Hunter Zandee (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
Jimmy Lambert (1 assist)
1st Star: Riley Brandt (2 goals)
2nd Star: Jagger Williamson (3 assists)
3rd Star: Chris Jandric (2 assists)
Evan Hammond's Alberni Valley Bulldogs Blog,