I was at Game 2 of the Interior Division Finals with the Vipers & Vees as Penticton defeated Vernon 4-2 in front of 3,007 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Penticton: Matthew Robson
1st Period: Just fifty eight seconds into the contest, the Vees would get an early powerplay. Taylor Sanheim missed the far corner after a shot from in close on a quality chance. Penticton with four shots on the man advantage, didn't really threaten with the powerplay, as the Vipers killed off the minor. About six minutes in Luke Gingras with a shot from the high slot, hit someone on the way to the net, gave Matthew Robson a little trouble, who had to come up with the difficult save on the Vipers first chance of the night. Just less then two minutes later, the Vees went back to the powerplay, their second of the night. The Snakes were just seconds away from killing off the minor, before both #19's collided in the neutral zone, after Hunter Zandee leveled James Miller with a huge open ice hit. Miller went down hard, was able to dish the puck off to former Vernon Vipers defenceman Mitch Meek who walked into the slot, before going roof beating Darion Hanson high glove, giving Penticton a 1-0 lead at 10:48 with just four seconds remaining on the penalty. James Miller with the lone assist, made his way to the Vees dressing room, would be ok and return to the game. With about six minutes remaining in the opening frame, Darion Hanson made a big stop off Grant Cruikshank from the left faceoff circle, back come the Vipers the other way. Captain Riley Brandt wired a low shot from the circle, forcing Matthew Robson into making a big pad save, couldn't control the rebound, before Niko Karamanis going hard to the net, just missed on the rebound on a great chance in close. Back come the Vees the other way, Grant Cruikshank beat Chris Jandric to the loose puck, went in for the parcial breakaway, looked to have Darion Hanson beat, before being hauled down by Jandric. This giving Penticton their third shot with the man advantage. On the powerplay Chris Klack's shot was redirected in front by captain Nicholas Jones, giving Penticton a 2-0 lead at 17:28 Klack & Gabe Bast with the helpers. Inside the final minute with the Vipers going on a delayed powerplay, Jesse Lansdell gave Chris Klack a good slash before a crosscheck as the two fell to the ice. Several players jumped in, with lots of pushing and shoving, as tempers heated up in a hurry. After all the dust was settled, Vernon would get a late powerplay, their first of the game. The Snakes would run out of time before the final buzzer. It was 2-0 Penticton after 20 minutes of play. I thought the play was fairly evenly matched for most of the 1st. The Vees had a little more pressure-zone time late in the second half. Penticton played with a lot of jump-energy, come out strong. It was the penalties that cost the Vipers, who played shorthanded three times, couldn't really sustain any pressure-zone time. Both teams with very limited scoring opportunities. The Snakes seemed to have troubles keeping the puck on their stick. With two powerplay goals, give a slight edge to Penticton. Penticton outshot Vernon 12-9.
2nd Period: The Vipers started the middle frame on the powerplay, that was carried over from the 1st. Vernon unable to capitalize with the man advantage. The Vees would get an early powerplay to start the 2nd but shorthanded Niko Karamanis used his speed to gobble up the loose puck that took a funny bounce over the Penticton defender, was able to race in for the breakaway but couldn't solve Vees starting goaltender Matthew Robson who come up with the large save shorthanded, keeping this a two goal game. Penticton had some looks but couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. Just four seconds after killing off the minor, the Vees went back to the powerplay, their second of the frame. Once again Penticton had some looks but no real threat as Vernon was able to kill off the penalty. Shortly after the powerplay, Jonny Tychonick with some nice moves, was able to get in close couldn't beat Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson at the halfway mark, on a great opportunity in close. Just past the midway mark Shane Kelly's point shot was redirected in by Jesse Lansdell in front, getting Vernon on the board, cutting the Penticton lead to 2-1 at 11:34 Kelly & Jimmy Lambert picked up the assists. Just two minutes later Gabe Bast hit Vernon product Jagger Williamson from behind into the corner boards. Williamson went down and didn't get up after a minor scrum, Bast was tossed from the game and given a five minute major for checking from behind. Williamson was very slow to get up after laying on the ice, made his way to the Viper dressing room. On just their second powerplay of the evening, Cameron Trott wired a lazer from the blueline, was tipped by Brett Stapley in front beat Matthew Robson but not the crossbar as the Snakes come within inches of tying the game. On basically the following play, Chris Jandric setup former Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Cameron Trott whos rocket beat Matthew Robson high glove, tying the game 2-2 at 13:55 Jandric and Jimmy Lambert with the helpers. After killing off two early powerplay's, the Vipers respond with two quick back to back goals of their own, to get back in the game. Still on the man advantage, the Vipers moved the puck around a lot, setup Cooper Watson for the onetimer who was robbed by Matthew Robson who flashed the leather, with a big glove save. Cameron Trott then wired a shot off the onetimer just fired high and over the goal. Just before the penalty expired, Vernon took a penalty sending both teams to four on four, before the Vees would get a shortened powerplay late to finish the period. Nicholas Jones shot missed the net, come off the end boards before Taylor Sanheim put home the Vees third goal, giving Penticton a 3-2 lead at 18:48 Jones and Taylor Ward picked up the assists. It was 3-2 Penticton after 40 minutes of play. The Vees carried most of the play, had lots of sustained pressure-offensive zone time. Other then the five minute powerplay, Vernon didn't see much zone time, had very little opportunities, saw a lot of time in their own end. Again, the Vipers took too many penalties and it cost them. Penticton was the better of the two teams. The Vees looked hungry, won the better of the battles-races, were stronger along the wall. How big was the Viper penalty kill to start the period. The Vees with back to back powerplays, couldn't capitalize, allowing the Snakes to get on the board, before tying the game. Penticton scores on one or even both powerplays and its now 3-0-maybe 4-0 and a complete different hockey game. How big was Taylor Sanheim's powerplay goal late to end the frame? The Vees regain the lead, heading into the 3rd. Vernon outshot Penticton 11-6.
3rd Period: Jagger Williamson returned to the Vernon bench to start the final frame, only played one shift, would sit the remainder of the game on the bench. The Vipers come out strong, took full control of the play and carried the play early and often. Vernon with full control-puck possession finally were able to get some zone time but had troubles creating-generating any real quality chances. With the Vees back on their heels a bit early, the Snakes once again had troubles keeping the puck on their sticks. About six minutes in Darion Hanson was forced into making a big stop in close before the Vipers come back the other way. Matthew Robson was forced into making two big saves in tight on back to back chances from Vernon. With about seven minutes remaining Brett Stapley was able to get in behind the Penticton defence, got in alone in close looked to have Matthew Robson beat high glove, but fired up and just over the top corner on a missed opportunity. Back the other way the Vees came, before a goal mouth scramble. Darion Hanson down and out, couldn't move with several Vipers almost on his back before Jared Nash got two wacks at the loose puck in close, was finally able to put the puck past Hanson and the maze of Vernon players in the crease, giving Penticton a 4-2 lead at 12:28 Joseph Leahy & Turner Ripplinger with the assists. This goal seemed to take all momentum away from the Snakes as the Vipers couldn't seem to recover. On the following play the Vipers would lose Shane Kelly who took an undisciplined penalty, before accidently high sticking the Penticton player, on the follow through. Kelly would get tossed from the game after picking up two minutes for roughing, high sticking and a ten minute misconduct. The Vees with a late powerplay, couldn't capitalize. With time winding down, Vernon now having all kinds of trouble getting any kind of offence going. The Snakes would get Darion Hanson to the bench for the extra attacker with about 2:30 remaining but again Vernon couldn't muster any kind of sustained pressure. The Vipers would call a late timeout before Matthew Robson took a shot at the empty netter, with the crowd standing, Robson missed the open cage, was called for icing giving the crowd at the SOEC a chance to give the Vees netminder a standing ovation. After several icing's in a row, really slowed down the final minutes. The Vees would hold off the Vipers and pick up an all important 4-2 victory to even the best of seven series 1-1. The Vees bench come out to celebrate with Matthew Robson. I thought the Snakes pushed-played hard for at least half of the final period. Vernon come out strong, took it too the Vees early and often but had troubles generating/creating any kind of quality chances. The Vipers mustered a few good looks-opportunities but Jared Nash's goal in the second half was a killer. Overall I thought the Vipers were the better team, carried most of the play, had control of the puck and saw a lot of time in the offensive zone. Penticton outshot Vernon 12-7.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Cameron Trott (1 goal) I thought had another strong game. Trott was one of the better Vipers in Game 1 played very well on the backend in the loss in Game 2. The Vipers really liked getting the puck to the veteran d-man on the powerplay, had several good looks-shots from the circle.
Darion Hanson (26 saves) Couldn't be faulted on any of the four Penticton goals, didn't see as much rubber as in Game 1 made a few big stops in the loss tonight. I thought Hanson was busier-more reliable last night, still had to come up with some stops for his team tonight. Played well in the loss.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
After a huge 3-2 victory in Game 1 Friday, The Vipers head home for Games 3 & 4 with the split. The Snakes took three penalties in the opening frame, giving up two powerplay goals, were down 2-0 heading into the 2nd. Taking a penalty just a minute into the game and then two more all in the 1st and the Vipers just couldn't seem to get much going, playing shorthanded often. The Snakes then take two early back to back penalties to start the middle frame and were lucky to only be down two goals, after coming up with two big back to back penalty kills. The Vipers seem to build off of this and able to get on the board, before tying the game on a five minute major. In a second period where Vernon was outplayed for most of it, giving up that late powerplay goal was a killer. Instead of tied going into the 3rd, your down a goal in a tough rink you haven't had a lot of success in over the past few years. I thought the Vipers responded and come out hard to start the 3rd had troubles getting pucks to the net-generating any kind of chances. Giving up the 4th goal after carrying most of the play, was a killer. Jared Nash's goal seemed to take the wind out of the sail and Vernon couldn't recover. Overall I thought the Snakes played with a lot more jump-energy last night, were also more physical in Game 1. In Game 1 I thought the referee's let both teams play and the Vipers kept their emotions in check, other then two undisciplined penalties. Tonight, Vernon couldn't control their emotions, taking some unnecessary penalties at poor times during the game. The Snakes cant play shorthanded like they did tonight, your not going to win many games giving up eight powerplay's. It looked like the Vees were getting under the skin of several Vernon players, early and often. I really noticed the Vipers had troubles keeping the puck on their sticks, Vernon just couldn't seem to get a bounce or lucky break. The Vipers didn't generate-create much for offensive chances, had troubles finding their offence and getting pucks to the net. The Snakes didn't seem to have that same drive-hard nosed play, they showed in Game 1. I have missed just one Vipers-Vees game in Penticton since the 2008-09 season.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Joseph Leahy (1 assist) I thought played very well on the Vees blueline. Was good at both ends of the rink, didn't make any fancy plays, played hard, moved the puck well and defended well.
Nicholas Jones (1 goal & 1 assist) Played hard, was going to the net, worked-competed, was very strong in the victory.
Grant Cruikshank I thought played well, had some good looks-opportunities, was skating hard, caused trouble for the Viper defenders.
Jonny Tychonick Played well on the backend. Had a good look-chance about the midway mark of the 2nd period. A smooth skater, can handle-move the puck in a hurry.
Matthew Robson (25 saves) I don't think was tested much but made the stops when needed. I thought the Vees didn't get that big save from Robson in Game 1 looked much more confident-calm between the pipes in Game 2. Give the kid credit, come back with a better performance tonight. How big was his stop shorthanded on Niko Karamanis? Huge! During stopages had his mask off, looked to be smiling-laughing around when talking to a referee-linesmen. Took a shot at the open cage, late in the game, got a good chuckle about that from his team mates and good ovation from the crowd.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
After a tough 3-2 loss in Game 1 Friday I thought the Penticton Vees responded with a very strong-hard nosed effort-win in Game 2 tonight. You knew Fred Harbinson and his crew would get his team-players up for tonight and the Vees would respond with a bigger-stronger performance in Game 2. I thought the Vees looked to show-play with more jump-energy off the start. Obviously jumping out to the lead and grabbing a 2-0 lead into the 2nd period helps but the Vees played with a little more swagger tonight, compared to last night. Penticton played with the lead all night, unlike having to try and claw back in Game 1. The Vees powerplay looked very good, could have easily put the game away if not connecting on two early back to back powerplays to start the middle frame. Give Penticton credit for being very disciplined, staying away from the after the whistle activities and not getting involved in any activities, wich would result in a Vernon powerplay. I said before, I thought the Vees looked to get under the skin of several Vipers tonight and it worked. I thought the Vees were stronger on the puck, along the wall, won most of the races-battles for the pucks. Played hard, competed and did a good job at shutting down the Vipers top two lines. Limitied Vernon's time and space and made the Snakes pay on the powerplay. Overall Penticton was the better of the two teams, and fully earned the win. What a difference in the atmosphere at the South Okanagan Events Centre compared to Kal Tire Place. The Vees get over 6000 people out for the first two games and just the overall experience-atmosphere inside the SOEC adds to the game and everything going on around you. The fans get into the games, the music is great and more music you should hear at a hockey game. Viper-hockey fans need to wake up in Vernon, come out and support your team and make some noise-cheer on your Vipers. Give full credit to the City of Penticton and the Vees for doing a heck of a job marketing and getting over 3000 to a game. Pretty impressive.
Energy Player of the Game:
Taylor Ward (1 assist)
1st Star: Nicholas Jones (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Taylor Sanheim (1 goal)
3rd Star: Cameron Trott (1 goal)
Fraser Rodger's Penticton Vees Blog,
Text Box Score,