I was at Game 3 of the Interior Division Finals between the Vipers & Vees as Penticton defeated Vernon 4-2 in front of 2,207 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Penticton: Matthew Robson
1st Period: A minute and ten seconds into the opening period Shane Kelly turned over the puck inside his own blueline, allowing former Brandon Wheat Kings forward Duncan Campbell to walk in for the breakaway, but was denied by Darion Hanson who made the save before the puck just rolled wide of the far post on the rebound. The Vees with a great opportunity just over a minute in to open the scoring. A minute later Steven Jandric setup Brett Stapley on a Viper odd man rush, Stapley from the slot couldn't solve Matthew Robson who come up with the big stop from in close. Back to back chances at both ends of the rink two minutes in. The Penticton Vees would get the games first powerplay, just over two minutes into the contest. A shot from well out, forced Darion Hanson to bare down making a tough save on a goal mouth scramble. Grant Cruikshank's shot would then go off a body in front, go way up in the air before coming down behind Darion Hanson and into the back of the cage, giving Penticton a 1-0 lead at 2:46 Cruikshank's goal was unassisted. A tough break on a lucky bounce for the Vees. 1:16 later Turner Ripplinger with a nice heads up pass, spotted Taylor Sanheim who's shot from the circle beat Darion Hanson low glove side, giving Penticton an early 2-0 lead at 4:02 Ripplinger with the lone helper. This was a goal I think Hanson would like back. Three minutes later Matthew Robson come out of the blue paint to play the puck, before turning over the puck on a Viper forecheck. Joseph Leahy with a huge defensive play, dove across the ice to block the shot, that looked to be going towards the goal, keeping this a two goal game. Just before the halfway mark, Owen Sillinger jumped on a Vernon turnover inside the blueline, lead the odd man rush, couldn't beat Darion Hanson who was well out to challenge, making the big stop. Jimmy Lambert with a quick low shot through traffic forced Matthew Robson into kicking out the left pad, making a huge pad save with about four minutes remaining as the Snakes started to come on late. A minute later Steven Jandric on the wrap around looked to have Robson beat but it was the Vees netminder who come across the blue paint, knocking the net off its mornings, stopping play. Brett Stapley with a quality chance late couldn't beat Matthew Robson with the Snakes pressing late. The Vipers would get their first powerplay, inside the final minute, but would run out of time before the final buzzer. It was 2-0 Penticton after 20 minutes of play. The Vees jumped out to a quick two goal lead in a period where both teams went back and fourth in the first half, but it was Penticton who had a slight edge in play. Vernon went a good six minutes or more without a shot in that first half. The Vipers turned things around and come on strong late, with good sustained pressure, had some quality chances couldn't solve Matthew Robson who was solid between the pipes late in the final minutes. Vernon played a fairly physical period, finished their checks, were hitting and hitting hard. Captain Riley Brandt was really flying around, looking at levelling someone into the boards. I thought the Vees had a slight edge in play in the first but the Vipers really turned things around in the second half, and were the better team in the final five to six minutes. Vernon outshot Penticton 12-8.
2nd Period: The Snakes started the middle frame on the man advantage that was carried over from the end of the 1st period. Vernon would get a very short two man advantage after the Vees would take an early penalty. The Vipers firing everything towards the net from the point, Cooper Watson and Cameron Trott both ripped heavy shots from the blueline. Watson's one shot just missed the net. Penticton would kill off the first minor but couldn't hold off the Vipers powerplay on the second penalty. Captain Riley Brandt would setup Niko Karamanis who beat Vess starting goaltender Matthew Robson shortside, cutting the Penticton lead to 2-1 at 1:31 Brandt with the lone assist. But back come the Vees on the following shift, Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson had to be alert, making a big stop from the circle. Just before the midway mark, Jesse Lansdell setup Simon Sagissor at the side of the goal, on an odd man rush. Sagissor had Matthew Robson totally beat missed the open cage before ringing his shot off the crossbar as the fans at Kal Tire Place couldn't believe it. A great but missed opportunity by Vernon. A few shifts later Shane Kelly with a huge turnover inside his own zone, coughed the puck up to Ty Amonte the son of former NHLer Tony Amonte who walked in down the wing, beat Darion Hanson glove side, giving Penticton a 3-1 lead at 12:33 Amonte's goal was unassisted. Kelly made his way slowly to the bench with his head down. This was a shot-goal I think Hanson would like back. But just ninety seconds later the Vipers responded with a huge push back. Brett Stapley alone in the slot would get robbed by Matthew Robson, before being stopped again in close on the rebound, before Steven Jandric going hard to the crease, put home the rebound-loose puck, cutting the Penticton lead to 3-2 at 14:00 Jimmy Lambert & Brett Stapley collected the helpers. On the following play-shift Jagger Williamson leveled Chris Klack in the corner before everyone got involved. A minor scrum broke loose with lots of pushing and shoving, as both teams went after one another. Two Vees and a Viper defenceman were tangled up higher up the boards, near the end of the Viper bench, while everyone else was in the corner getting involved. Klack was down for a minute or so, while the trainer come out onto the ice. Klack was slow getting up, but made his way to the bench and stayed in the game. Williamson would get two minutes and a ten minute misconduct for a blow to the head. The Vees jumping on just their second powerplay of the evening. The Snakes with a huge penalty kill would kill off the minor. Just before the penalty expired is when tempers heated up in a hurry. Taylor Sanheim gave Cooper Watson a good slash in front of the net, before Watson sent Sanheim to the ice with a big crosscheck, as both players got in the face off one another. From here on in until the final buzzer lots of chirping going on during the game and after any stoppage in play. The next several shifts the Vees were dropping to the ice like flies almost every time they were touched. At one point even Matthew Robson went diving to the ice while in his crease with nobody around. The Vees looking for penalties trying to sucker in the referee's as the crowd at Kal Tire Place was giving it to the Vees every time someone fell to the ice. Captain Nicholas Jones with a nice slick move inside the Viper blueline, cut hard to the goal, would get in close for a parcial breakaway couldn't solve Darion Hanson inside the final minute and a half. It was 3-2 Penticton after 40 minutes of play. The Snakes with a huge powerplay goal early to start the 2nd get on the board-get some life in the building and get some momentum. Vernon really stepped up their game and come out strong, playing hard, had a ton of pressure-quality chances were all over Penticton for most of the first half. It was the Vees third goal on a bad turnover wich seemed to change the momentum-game. Vernon was carrying all the momentum before giving up that third goal. A quick turn around and the Snakes come right back, with a quick goal of their own to get back within one. I thought the Vipers were the better of the two teams, had the better opportunities, had more zone time and looked hungrier. The Vees saw a lot of time in their own end, didn't get much for zone time or sustained pressure. A strong period by the Vipers. Vernon outshot Penticton 16-10.
3rd Period: Two minutes into the final frame Steven Jandric on a wrap around was stoned by Matthew Robson who come across the blue paint to make a huge pad save, keeping this a one goal game. Two minutes later the Vees sprung Jared Nash for the breakaway who was stopped by Darion Hanson who couldn't control the loose puck as it just rolled by the far post. A big stop early, keeping this a one goal game. Two minutes later Brett Stapley couldn't find the puck in his skates, after a shot from the blueline hit some bodies in front, Stapley and two Vees defencemen were battling it out for the puck while Matthew Robson was trying to smother the puck. The Snakes didn't show the same jump-energy like the 2nd looked a little slow-sluggish early to start the 3rd. Vernon down a goal had some early pressure at times but was having troubles getting pucks to the net. The Vees were keeping the Vipers to the outside on almost every rush. The Snakes were also caught with too long of shifts, had just two shots on goal in the first half. Just before the halfway mark Connor Clouston stepped into one going off the shoulder of Matthew Robson and up into the netting behind the glass. In the second half both teams went a good six minutes atleast with out a single shot, as Penticton looked to be sitting back on a one goal lead, while the Vipers struggling finding their offence. With just minutes to go the Vipers only put up four shots on the shot clock before coming very close to tying the game late. The Snakes would get Darrion Hanson to the bench for the extra attacker with about 1:38 remaining. With just over a minute remaining a shot from the point got through traffic, got towards the goal, Matthew Robson tried stopping the puck, went deep into his cage before a mad scramble of players jamming the net. The Vipers looked to put their arms up as if they had scored but with no goal light on and a whistle stopping play, the play was blown dead. The two referee's and linesmen gathered together to talk things over for a quick conference all before saying the puck did not cross the goal line. Fred Harbinson and Vees catch a break on that play. Inside the final minute Vernon having all kinds of trouble getting setup, before Jagger Williamson turned over the puck. The Snakes would try again to get in across the blueline couldn't get any real sustained pressure before Williamson turned over the puck for a second time, this allowing Grant Cruikshank to skate down the rink, before hitting the open cage, giving Penticton a 4-2 lead at 19:48 Cruikshank's goal was unassisted as fans were now making their way to the exits. No real push back from the Vipers on the following faceoff, as a few Vipers tried rubbing out a few Penticton players along the end wall before the final buzzer. Penticton would grab a 2-1 series lead after a 4-2 victory in Game 3. The Vees bench emptied as players come out to salute and congratulate Matthew Robson on the win, while several fans from the upper balcony were giving Robson the gears. Robson lifted his mask up and was giving it back as the Vees netminder and several Viper fans were exchanging words. Both teams with some grade a chances in the opening few minutes. The Snakes with atleast two or three quality chances early while Jared Nash had a great opportunity to basically put the game away with an early breakaway couldn't. I thought Vernon had some pressure but had troubles getting pucks to the net, the Vipers with just two shots in the first ten minutes and then just another two shots in the following six or seven minutes. The Snakes tried to carry the better of the play as the Vees were sitting back on the one goal lead. Penticton with a strong defensive 3rd shut down the Viper offence. The Vees limiting the Snakes, took away their time and space, kept Vernon to the outside most of the 3rd. Both teams went a good six or seven minutes in the final frame without a shot. Vernon outshot Penticton 7-5.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Cooper Watson I thought played well on the Viper blueline. Was really stepping into his shot on the powerplay and through out the night. Played hard, physical at times and played with an edge. Was involved in the chirping between whistles, looked to try and get under the Vees skin.
Brett Stapley (1 assist) I thought played hard-well through out the loss. Stapley has really worked on his draws lately, has been very strong in the faceoff circle this series. Was going to the net, had some good looks-opportunities through out tonight's contest.
The line of Simon Sagissor, Luke Gingras and Jesse Lansdell (1 goal) Played well-looked good. Sagissor who hasn't done much since being acquired at the BCHL trade deadline, was more involved in the play tonight. Lansdell who got Vernon on the board, showed hustle-was going to the net.
Steven Jandric (1 goal) I thought played much better after the Game 2 loss in Penticton. Jandric was one of the better Vipers in Vernon's 3-2 victory in Game 1 didn't stand out in Game 2 played much better in the loss tonight. Had two real good chances on the wrap around, was going to the net, skating-working hard.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
After taking the opening game of this series, the Snakes have now dropped back to back games and see themselves down 2-1 in the best of seven series. Returning home for Games 3 & 4 this wasn't the start the Vipers wanted, going down 2-0 less then five minutes in. Taking that early penalty wasn't good but the Vees also catch a lucky break-bounce on the first goal. The Vipers then give up a second goal just 1:16 later. For the second straight game the Snakes fall behind 2-0 and have to try and battle back. Your not going to win many games in the playoffs, having to play catch up hockey all night. I thought after giving up the first two goals Vernon struggled offensively, had troubles getting pucks to the net-creating/generating opportunities. A few bad turnovers and things just didn't look good early. It wasn't the second half of that opening period when the Vipers turned things around and got their offence going, getting some quality chances to finish the 1st. This momentum seemed to carry over into the 2nd where I thought the Vipers were the better of the two teams. The Snakes with a ton of pressure, had all kinds of good looks-chances, looked to have the Vees on the ropes at times. Shane Kelly's turnover giving up the 3rd Penticton goal was a killer. You gotta feel bad for the kid. Even though Vernon responded ninety seconds later, to get within one, this was the game winner and the Vipers just couldn't recover. Simon Sagissor had a wide open cage, hit the crossbar in the middle frame, as the Vipers just couldn't buy a break. Vernon needs to be better in the 3rd, your not going to win many games getting just two shots in the first half and then five more in the second half, especially when your down a goal. The Snakes looked tired-sluggish to me in the final frame, the boys were staying out too long while Penticton was changing on the fly. The Vees had a tired Viper line, hemmed in their own end for several minutes on at least two different occasions. The Vipers had some good chances early in the 3rd but overall I didn't think generated-created enough. I didn't think the Vipers pressed hard enough, Penticton was doing a great job at keeping the offence to the outside but this is where Vernon needs to find another gear and dig deep. Vernon also made some poor decisions with and without the puck, turned the puck over on a few plays, forcing a scoring chance the other way. I thought Vernon played physical in the 1st but backed off the physical play in the 2nd and 3rd periods. The Snakes need to get way more pucks to the net-and create/generate more for offence. Give the Vipers credit for staying out of the penalty box and play a much more disciplined game after Game 2's loss. The Vipers need to regroup in a hurry and are in a must win situation in Game 4 tomorrow. Vernon dosnt want to lose Game 4 at home and have to play Game 5 in Penticton down 3-1. A great crowd on hand tonight! But the atmosphere was very dull, it seemed like most of the night, most fans sat on their hands, only making noise when the Vipers scored or laid out a big hit. A totally different atmosphere watching games down in Penticton. I have missed just one Vipers home playoff game since the 2002 playoffs. The last home playoff game I missed was Game 2 of the Interior Conference Finals vs the Penticton Panthers.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Nicholas Jones Didn't put up any points but the Vees captain I thought sacrificed his body, blocking several shots in the victory, was a warrior on the ice tonight. Played hard, battled and competed, was his best late in the game, blocking shots-forcing guys to the outside. A strong game from the captain.
Ty Amonte (1 goal) This kid is quick, can move, very shifty, has some wheels and really showed his speed tonight. Played smart with and without the puck. Did a lot of little things without the puck that impressed me.
Jared Nash I thought played smart heads up game. Was stopped on a 3rd period breakaway.
Jonny Tychonick I thought had a good game on the Penticton Vees blueline. Made some smart defensive plays all night. A very smooth skating d-man.
Griffin Mendel Was another kid who played very strong on the backend. Saw a lot of minutes, was hard to beat one on one. Very good in front of his net.
Matthew Robson (33 saves) Didn't look very sharp in Game 1 really stepped up his game in Games 2 & now 3 with a solid game between the pipes in the win this evening. The veteran goaltender was very calm-confident in goal, made some saves look routine-easy. Didn't seem to panic tonight, battled hard, stayed with the shooters, made some big stops at key times in the game.
Taylor Sanheim (1 goal) I thought was dangerous with the puck, took a beating through out the game. Took at least two high sticks (never called) was hit or tried to be hit almost every shift. Was skating hard, battled through some adversity and played well.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
The Penticton Vees come into Vernon and pick up a big win in Game 3 of the Interior Division Finals regain home ice advantage. Game 5 will go Friday in Penticton. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in Game 2 the Vees jump out to a quick 2-0 lead in Game 3 tonight. A huge powerplay goal early, gets the visitors on the board early, takes the crowd out of the game and maybe gets the Vipers a little off their game too? Both teams went back and fourth early but it was the Vees who were getting pucks to the net, forced some turnovers-maybe caught Darion Hanson on an off night? It looked like Hanson may want back the 2nd and 3rd goals? Penticton gives up the early goal to start the middle frame on the powerplay, were under attack early and often. The Vees who got some big stops from Matthew Robson and then catch a huge break when Simon Sagissor misses the open cage-hits the crossbar before Ty Amonte's huge 3rd goal on a Vernon turnover, restores Penticton's two goal lead. How big was this goal? Well just ninety seconds later the Snakes push back, cut the Vees lead to within one again but it was shorty after where I think Ty Amonte's goal takes the wind out of the sails from Vernon as the Vipers didn't have that same jump-energy afterwards. Give Fred Harbinson and his coaching staff credits for catching the Snakes with a tired line, as the Vees were changing on the fly, had Vernon hemmed in on at least two different occasions. Penticton with a solid defensive effort come the third, did a great job at keeping the Vipers to the outside, limited their chances, shots and net drive. The Vees kept Vernon to just seven shots, let Matthew Robson deal with the rest. A solid defensive effort. I thought Penticton got the bounces tonight, caught the breaks and capitalized on their chances. The Vees didn't finish 1st in the Interior on just luck, this is a good hockey club and if your going to make mistakes-take penalties, this team will burn you. Emotions and tempers boiled over in the 2nd. Lots of chirping going back and fourth all night. The Vees with a huge road win, improve to 4-1 in Vernon this year (exhibition, regular season & playoffs). I was a little surprised to just see a small handful of Vees fans tonight. Overall this was a very entertaining hockey game, kept you on the edge of your seat all night.
Energy Player of the Game:
Brett Stapley (1 assist)
1st Star: Grant Cruikshank (2 goals)
2nd Star: Jesse Lansdell (1 goal)
3rd Star: Taylor Sanheim (1 goal)
Fraser Rodger's Penticton Vees Blog,
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