I was at tonight's Vipers-Warriors game as West Kelowna defeated Vernon 4-3 in overtime in front of 1,380 fans at Kal Tire Place Place.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
West Kelowna: Cole Demers
1st Period: The Vipers jumped on the Warriors off the opening faceoff as Vernon had some good early pressure in the opening three minutes. Ryan Brushett with a nice move before cutting towards the goal, just fired a backhand inches wide of the far corner on a good chance in front two and a half minutes in. Four minutes in Jagger Williamson with a quick shot from the high slot couldn't beat former Vernon Vipers goaltender Cole Demers who closed the fivehole at the last second. Back come the Warriors after the save, Connor Sodergren's shot from the corner went in and off Shane Kelly in front, giving West Kelowna a 1-0 lead at 4:22 Braiden Epp & Jake Harrison picked up the helpers. The Tribe with a lucky bounce, take an early lead. Just over a minute later Shane Kelly sprung Steven Jandric for the breakaway, who was denied by Cole Demers who sprawled out to make a huge pad save, before Jandric fired from the corner didn't give Demers enough time to recover into position, hit Demers off the shoulder before going into the back of the net, tying the game 1-1 at 5:11 Kelly with the lone assist. The Vipers catch a break on two quick back to back weird plays-goals. Two minutes later Logan Mostat setup Braiden Epp who blew by Sol Seibel in for the breakaway, put a nice move in on Darion Hanson giving West Kelowna a 2-1 lead at 7:11 on just their fourth shot of the evening. Mostat and Tyler Jutting collected the assists. Just before the midway mark Austin Adamson with a great opportunity was stoned by Cole Demers who come out to challenge smothered the puck on a key save, before Quin Foreman carried the puck back the other way on an odd man rush. Foreman decided to keep and shoot, looked to fool Darion Hanson who just got a piece of it with his glove before the puck snuck in, giving West Kelowna a 3-1 lead at 10:17 Parm Dhaliwal & Chase Dubois with the helpers. On the following shift-play Darion Hanson struggled with a long shot from well out, as the Viper goaltender looked to be fighting the puck at times in the first half of the 1st period. Shortly after the Warriors would get the games first powerplay, getting some good looks couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. With six minutes remaining Cameron Trott with a blast from the point, forced Cole Demers into making a quick pad save with traffic in front, at the last second, keeping this a two goal game. Shortly after Ryan Brushett setup Austin Adamson going to the net, cut the West Kelowna lead to 3-2 at 14:45 Brushett with the assist. With just over three minutes remaining Cole Demers got caught out of his crease after the puck took a awkward bounce off the end wall, before coming right out front into the blue paint. Ryan Brushett & Austin Adamson both missed the open cage with several Warriors diving in front of the goal, trying to stop the puck before Demers was able to get back into position and the Tribe cleared the puck from harms way, on a wild goal mouth scramble. Just less then two minutes to go, Vernon would get their first look with the man advantage but struggled on the powerplay. At the buzzer Quin Foreman with an undisciplined penalty, put the Warriors down two men, heading into the 2nd period. It was 3-2 West Kelowna after 20 minutes of play. This was a bit of a wild-strange period with several strange-lucky bounces ending up in goals. I thought the Snakes jumped on West Kelowna the opening few minutes, gave up the games first goal on a lucky shot-bounce. Vernon ended up falling behind 3-1 before getting within a goal, should have tied the game late, missing on two opportunities at an open goal. I thought the Vipers struggled, had some good chances but were very loose in their own end, sloppy defensively, didn't have much intensity-energy in the game. Darion Hanson looked to be fighting the puck at times, looked shaky. The Warriors pumped in three in the period, didnt have nearly as many opportunities as the Snakes but scored on their chances. Both teams didnt look very good. West Kelowna outshot Vernon 21-16.
2nd Period: The Snakes started the middle frame on a short two man advantage. Vernon would struggle with the powerplay, getting just two shots showed very little urgency couldn't capitalize on the PP. Shortly after the penalty expired, Niko Karamanis on an odd man rush, decided to keep and shoot, ripped a high shot top corner, tying the game 3-3 at 3:13 Ryan Brushett & Luke Gingras with the helpers. Just minutes after killing off a two man advantage, the Tribe would get into penalty trouble, sending the Vipers back to the powerplay. Again Vernon struggled, moving the puck around at a very slow pace, the Vipers struggled to get any real scoring opportunities, had troubles getting pucks to the net. Just as the minor expired, Jesse Lansdell cut hard towards the goal, before roofing his shot up and over the goal, missing on a missed opportunity from in close. Two minutes later Vernon went back to the powerplay, again struggled as WK killed off the minor. With seven minutes remaining Sol Seibel made a huge defensive play, breaking up a Warriors odd man rush. With three and a half minutes remaining the Vipers would get a late powerplay but again unable to take advantage. West Kelowna would get a late powerplay with just over a minutes to go. Just before the buzzer sounded to end the period, Connor Clouston would take an undisciplined penalty after playing without a helmet, giving the Warriors a two man advantage, heading into the 3rd. It was 3-3 after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers carried most of the play in the first half, played most of the first half on the powerplay. Vernon blew a good chance to put this game away, struggled with the man advantage. The Warriors penalty kill was very strong, forced the Snakes to the outside, kept Vernon away from the front of the net, limited the Viper chances. WK saw a lot of time in their own end, played most of the 2nd period in their own end. The Tribe taking way too many penalties, played most of the period shorthanded. The Vipers carried the better of the play, but had very few opportunities. Both teams didnt look good. Vernon outshot West Kelowna 10-4.
3rd Period: The defending National Champions started the 3rd on a shortened two man advantage. The Warriors couldn't sustain any real pressure-zone time, as Vernon with a strong penalty kill to start the 3rd killed off both minors. Just after the penalties expired, West Kelowna headed back to the PP but again struggled with the man advantage. The Snakes with a strong penalty kill, killed off yet another minor. With very few scoring chances at either end of the rink, the Tribe come very close to taking a 4-3 lead seven and a half minutes into the 3rd. West Kelowna thought they scored on a goal mouth scramble, were denied after the whistle was blown even after the goal light come on. The referee stated a Warriors player gloved the puck into the net, wich resulted in goal. The Vipers excape and were still tied 3-3. A very slow defensive period with no real flow, as both teams were having troubles gaining the zone, getting any kind of zone time. The Vipers struggled most of the period, turning over the puck inside their own blueline, were having all kinds of troubles defensively. Both teams couldn't capitalize on the other teams mistakes. Around the halfway mark, Luke Gingras with a solid individual effort, tried setting up Austin Adamson going to the net, couldn't connect on the pass in front. Two minutes later Jesse Lansdell with a quick release from the slot couldn't solve Cole Demers. The Snakes slowly coming on, would come on late, getting some decent looks in and around the Warriors goal. No real Grade A chances, managed to get a few decent opportunities in the final minutes. West Kelowna was basically just looking to get to overtime in the final two minutes. It was tied 3-3 after 60 minutes of play. The Warriors with a two man advantage to start the frame, couldn't capitalize on the man advantage, ran into a good Viper penalty kill. Both teams didnt really generate/create much for offence in a period with very little action. Vernon played a little better in the final six-seven minutes but didnt really generate a lot of great quality chances. Vernon outshot West Kelowna 12-10.
Overtime: Chris Jandric couldn't setup Jagger Williamson early into overtime, forcing the Snakes to ice the puck early. Parm Dhaliwal won the draw, setup Braiden Epp whos shot banked off Chase Dubois in front before coming out to the side to a wide open Parm Dhaliwal who beat Darion Hanson in front, giving West Kelowna the 4-3 overtime victory at 0:48 as the Warriors bench erupted onto the ice. Dubois & Epp collected the assists. The Vipers were very slow at getting off the ice-bench, were exchanging words with the Warriors as they were making their way off the ice. Several Warriors were pointing up to the scoreboard, raising their hands in air as they made their way off the ice. A bad play in overtime on the Vipers forcing the icing, resulted in the game winner. West Kelowna outshot Vernon 2-0.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Ryan Brushett (2 assists) Has really come on the past month or so, has been one of the more consistent Vipers. Picking up two helpers in the loss, once again was carrying the puck often, moving the puck up ice, was finding open ice to try and generate/create opportunities.
Luke Gingras (1 assist) I thought at times in the game showed signs of skill-flash. Made a few real slick moves, breaking into the offensive zone, did some good things with and without the puck on a few shifts.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I didnt think the Vipers looked-played very well for most of the evening. I thought the Snakes had some jump off the opening faceoff, had good pressure-zone time for the first three minutes, didnt show much after for the remainder of the game. I thought Vernon had some good looks-chances in that 1st period, didnt generate-create any real good opportunities in the 2nd and 3rd periods. I thought the Viper defence was very sloppy, struggled defensively, were turning over the puck often, were having troubles clearing the zone, breaking out of their own end, were turning over pucks consistently. Darion Hanson looked to be fighting the puck early, seemed to settle down a bit as the game went on, wasn't overly tested didnt have one of his better games. Vernon didnt show much life tonight, played with very little to no jump-energy, were moving at a very slow pace, weren't hitting, making poor passes-poor decisions with and without the puck, gave up way too many odd man rushes, didnt seem to be engaged in the game for most of the night. This was a very poor effort-performance who didn't show enough compete level. The Vipers really miss Hunter Zandee and Riley Brandt's energy-jump, those two kids play with a lot of intensity and play physical-take the body. They may not get many points but bring so much more to this team. The Snakes just didnt show up-bring their game and it cost them the win. The Viper powerplay was pretty terrible, went 0-5 could have changed the game in the 2nd period after going 0-3. The Vipers could have easily changed the momentum-outcome of this game if they would have capitalized on some of their powerplays. Both teams missed good opportunities to capitalize with the man advantage. Vernon had nobody in front of the goal, were kept to the outside, moving the puck very slow, looked to be disorganized for most of the powerplay. Vernon really missed Michael Ufberg on the PP and through out the night. I did like the Snakes penalty kill, killed off two big kills towards the end of the 2nd period and then a two man advantage to start the 3rd. This was the Vipers second straight game going to overtime. Five of the Vipers past ten games have gone to overtime. The Snakes have struggled in overtime, have just two wins in eleven overtimes. You have to give the Vipers credit for battling back down 3-1 but other then that, they didnt deserve to win. I haven't been to pleased with this year's schedule. The Vipers played most of their games on the road to start the season, are now playing most of their games at home to finish the season. At the start of the year, it seemed like ages the next time we saw a home game and now are getting a home game every few nights. You wonder why the crowds are down on a night like tonight? The Vipers just finished playing three games in three days at home over the weekend and now played again tonight. Unless your a season ticket holder, the average person isn't going to come to all four games. With the regular season winding down, its hard to believe this was just the Warriors second trip to Vernon this year. West Kelowna will return to Vernon on the 11th for their final regular season visit and could be their final visit ever to Vernon if the two teams don't meet come playoffs. With the Vipers loss and Penticton's win the Vipers fall seven points back of the Vees.
Top Player's: (West Kelowna)
Tyler Jutting (1 assist) I thought was West Kelowna's best defenceman tonight. This kid carried-moved the puck often, a good quick skater, can move the puck in a hurry, really sees/reads the ice well. Played very well at both ends of the rink.
Jake Harrison (1 assist) Didn't stand out as much but played well at times and in spurts tonight. I thought looked good in different situations through out the night.
Braiden Epp (1 goal & 2 assists) Was one of the more consistent forwards who picked up three points in the win. Was very strong with and without the puck, dangerous at times, created-generated some good opportunities.
Parm Dhaliwal (1 goal & 1 assist) Scored the overtime winner, played well at times, was involved in the play at times.
Cole Demers (35 saves) Was the busier of the two goaltenders, I thought was forced into making the more difficult saves, come up with some big saves in the opening frame. Didn't see much in the 2nd stayed focused, played well in the 3rd. Caught a bad break on the Vipers opening goal, seemed to respond well after, showing some poise, was out to challenge at times, tried looking big.
Game Thought's (West Kelowna)
The Warriors jump out to a 3-1 lead couldn't hold the two goal lead end up coming away with the victory-two points. I didnt think West Kelowna looked-played all that great either. I was at the Vipers game in West Kelowna just over two weeks ago and was treated to a playoff like game. I was expecting more or less the same. These two teams usually bring out the best in each other, push one another, but tonight was a different story. I don't think both teams will be happy with their efforts-performances. I thought both teams were sloppy, didnt have much jump-energy-intensity. There was very little hitting tonight, neither team showed-played with much intensity, not a lot of flow-action at either ends of the rink, saw alot of whistles-stopages. The puck seemed to be rolling-bouncing a lot through out the game, taking some awkward bounces-hops off the boards-goaltenders. I thought WK didnt generate/create many chances in the 1st, scored on their chances, didnt sustain-get much zone time in the 2nd and 3rd periods, saw a lot of action in their own end or neutral zone. Just like Vernon, the Warriors struggled with the powerplay. Give West Kelowna credit for playing with six regulars out of the lineup, jumping out to a 3-1 lead before pulling out a much needed win for a team that has been struggling as of late. With all the off ice news regarding the team leaving West Kelowna after the season comes to an end-maybe the team being sold-moving to North Delta, this has to weight in on the players, coaching staff and management. I truly feel sorry for the selected few diehard fans that have stuck with this team from day 1. The Warriors come into tonight having lost five straight on the road and nine of their last elven road games pick up a huge win in a tough rink to play in. West Kelowna come into tonight having lost five straight and six of their last ten games, pick up a huge two points and must needed victory. The Tribe get their first win on this six game road trip, wrap up the trip in Merritt. The Warriors even the season series 3-3. With the win WK moves two points up on Merritt, are now two points back of Trail but still thirteen points back of Vernon.
Riley Brandt (Injured)
Hunter Zandee (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
Niko Karamanis (1 goal)
1st Star: Braiden Epp (1 goal & 2 assists)
2nd Star: Ryan Brushett (2 assists)
3rd Star: Parm Dhaliwal (1 goal & 1 assist)
Trevor Miller's West Kelowna Warriors Blog,