I was at Game 4 of the Interior Division Finals between the Vipers & Vees as Vernon defeated Penticton 3-0 in front of 2,325 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Darion Hanson
Penticton: Matthew Robson
1st Period: The Vipers come out strong, hitting and skating hard, had the early jump on Penticton but it was the Vees who would get the games first opportunity. Two and a half minutes in Jamie Armstrong driving to the net on an odd man rush, forced Darion Hanson into squeezing the pads tight on the goal line, with the Vees jamming the net trying to jar the puck loose. Shortly after the Snakes responded, a quick shot from the high slot, Jimmy Lambert redirected the shot in front forcing Matthew Robson into making a huge left pad save. Vernon would get the games first powerplay, just less then four minutes into the opening frame. While on the powerplay Chris Jandric was forced to hauling down a Penticton forward as two Vees looked to be off to the races for a breakaway before Jandric was sent to the penalty box. With the Vees now on the man advantage, Penticton would catch a break after getting away with too many men on the ice. The Vees with a few good looks couldn't capitalize as the Vipers would kill off the minor. Penticton would build off the powerplay, gained some momentum and carried the play for the following few minutes, had the Snakes hemmed in their own end but unable to get any real quality chances. Just before the midway mark captain Riley Brandt would be stopped by Matthew Robson who couldn't control the rebound before Jagger Williamson jumped on the loose puck, made a slick move in tight deked out Robson giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 9:23 Brandt with the assist. Two and a half minutes later with the Snakes pressing, Michael Ufberg's point shot got through traffic before being tipped in front by Jagger Williamson for his second of the night, giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 12:07 Ufberg picked up the lone helper. The Vipers were outshooting Penticton 10-4 at one point. Ryan Brushett took a puck to the throat made his way to the Viper bench, before being looked at by the trainer. Brushett seemed to be ok and stayed in the game. The Vees would get their second powerplay of the contest, late in the period. On the man advantage inside the final minute Taylor Sanheim looked to have an open cage somehow couldn't beat Darion Hanson who made an unreal pad save before falling to the ice on his back to cover up the loose puck on a goal mouth scramble. The Vees would run out of time before the final buzzer. It was 2-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. The Snakes come out hitting, showed a ton of jump/energy, were really buzzing early and often. The Vees were taking a pounding through out most of the 1st. Two quick back to back goals got the Vipers on the board and got the crowd into the game. I thought Vernon played very well in the opening twenty minutes, were the better team. The Vees were outshot 10-4 at one point, were outplayed for a while, before pushing back a little. Both teams were limited to their chances. Vernon outshot Penticton 13-11.
2nd Period: The Vees started the middle frame on the powerplay, that was carried over from the 1st. The Vipers were able to kill off the twenty seconds before getting an early powerplay of their own. Duncan Campbell levelled Brett Stapley into the boards, was sent off for boarding as Stapley was slow getting up, was cut drew the minor penalty. Gabe Bast was chirping with Riley Brandt while the penalty was being sorted out. Brandt & Bast then got in each other's face before the linesmen were forced into breaking the two apart. Vernon struggled with the man advantage, couldn't get any real sustained pressure, as Penticton with a good defensive PK killed off the minor. This was a big kill as the Vees didn't want to go down 3-0 early to start the 2nd. About eight minutes in Ty Amonte tried holding off Michael Ufberg, was driving to the net, slowly broke free before getting a quick shot off from just past the circle couldn't solve Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson. A few plays later Penticton would jump on the powerplay. Their first of three straight. The Snakes penalty kill come up large, kept the Vees to the outside, took away a lot of time and space, limiting Penticton's offensive opportunities. Shorthanded Jagger Williamson was hauled down on a rush going the other way, with no call on the play, Kal Tire Place went bonkers. Vernon would manage to kill off all three penalties. Shortly after killing off the final penalty, on a Vees odd man rush, Hunter Zandee with a huge defensive play, wiped out Owen Sillinger the son of former NHLer Mike Sillinger who had a wide open cage with about five and a half minutes left in the period. It was 2-0 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers had a great opportunity to grab a three goal lead early to start the period but couldn't capitalize on an early powerplay. The Vees took control of the game/period after getting three straight powerplay's. Penticton couldn't click with the man advantage, had troubles creating/generating chances as the Viper penalty kill come up large, keeping the Vees to the outside, closing the shooting lanes and limiting Penticton's offensive opportunities. The Snakes didn't see a lot of time in the offensive zone, played a lot of the period shorthanded. Vernon kept up the physical play, again laid out some big checks. Penticton after three powerplay's didn't generate/create enough, only had three or four good opportunities. Between whistles Viper backup goaltender Ty Taylor was chirping Mtthew Robson from the bench, Robson looked like he wanted no part in the name calling game, basically ignored Taylor. Vernon outshot Penticton 14-9.
3rd Period: 1:08 into the final frame Ryan Brushett dangled his way through two or three Penticton defenders before getting in behind the Vees defence but just fired wide on the parcial breakaway. Fifty two seconds later Vernon on a three on two rush setup Niko Karamanis driving hard to the net, was stoned by Vees starting goaltender Matthew Robson who stretched out the left pad to make a huge toe-skate save on the goal line. Three minutes later Shane Kelly's shot from the blueline had Matthew Robson beat but hit the crossbar, as Vernon come within inches of grabbing a 3-0 lead. Penticton then stepped up their game, were pressing hard to get on the board. The Vees with all kinds of pressure, had the Snakes hemmed in their own end at times. Just before the halfway mark, Shane Kelly went for the big hit, opened up some ice allowing the Vees to break out on the three on one but Darion Hanson made a huge game saving save, keeping this a two goal lead. Less then two minutes later Owen Sillinger with a great opportunity in close couldn't solve Darion Hanson. At the midway mark Austin Adamson in close beat Matthew Robson but not the crossbar as the play really started to open up with chances at both ends. The Vees kept pressing, didn't catch any breaks after two back to back quick whistles, with the puck still loose in and around the Viper goal. The Vees with several good looks, had Vernon on their heels for most of the period. The Snakes would cough up-turnover the puck on a few occasions get lucky and not surrender a goal. Penticton would get Matthew Robson to the bench with 2:49 remaining, with a ton of pressure and the Vees pressing Grant Cruikshank walked in from the high slot before ripping a lazer of a shot that beat Darion Hanson but rang off the crossbar, as the Vees were very close to getting on the board with 1:10 left. Jesse Lansdell's shot from the neutral zone hit the open cage giving Vernon a 3-0 lead at 19:08 Lansdell's goal was unassisted. Just before the two teams were getting set for the faceoff captain Nicholas Jones & Connor Clouston got tangled up, as the two were exchanging words-exchanging some punches. Both players were given ten minute misconducts and tossed from the game. The Viper bench was exchanging words with Jones as he was making his way off the ice. The Vipers would wind down the clock force a Game 6 back in Vernon Saturday after a huge 3-0 victory. The Snakes looking to grab a three goal lead had some quality chances off the opening faceoff. The Vees settled down before taking over the game for most of the remainder of the period. Penticton pressing had a ton of pressure, had several good looks, also had some very quality opportunities of their own but ran into a hot goaltender. Darion Hanson come up large in the final twenty minutes, making several huge stops. Penticton looked very strong in the final twenty minutes. Vernon a bit back on their heels at times, got a few breaks-bounces. The Vees looking to get within a goal, couldn't buy a goal, couldn't catch a break. Penticton was the better team but give credit to the Snakes for battles-playing hard to hold onto the victory. Penticton outshot Vernon 12-5.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Cooper Watson played very well on the backend. Really used his size to keep the visitors away from the front of the net. Played big, played with an edge.
Jagger Williamson (2 goals) Opened the scoring for the Vipers, scored two quick back to back goals in the opening period, to give Vernon a huge two goal lead. Williamson was skating hard, played with a ton of jump-energy, come to play tonight.
Riley Brandt (1 assist) A hated man in Penticton but a fan favorite in Vernon come out hitting and hitting hard. The former Trail Smoke Eaters forward come very close to being called for charging on a few plays-hits. The Viper captain was flying all over the rink, laid out some huge hits. Gave the Vipers some spark-life through out the contest.
Connor Clouston was another d-man that used his size & weight to keep Penticton's skilled forwards away from the front of Darion Hanson. Through his weight around, played big.
Darion Hanson (32 saves-shutout) Was in the zone this evening, making thirty two saves for the win-shutout. Hanson who I thought didn't look very sharp in the 4-2 loss in Game 3 Monday, may have wanted back two of the three Penticton goals. The veteran goaltender responded tonight with a huge effort-performance. Was on his game from start to finish, making some large game savers come the 3rd.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
After falling behind early and going down 2-0 in Games 2 & 3 the Snakes would turn the tables tonight, opened the scoring-jumped out to a 2-0 lead. I really liked Vernon's start, I thought they come out hitting and hitting often. Unlike last night, the Vipers kept up the physical play through out the game. I thought the Vipers showed a ton of energy/jump, were skating hard. Other then a few defensive letdowns I thought the Snakes defence was solid. Really kept the Vees to the outside, limited Penticton's scoring chances and opportunities. How big was the penalty kill? The Vipers were forced to kill off three straight penalties in the middle frame. And to limit Penticton to just nine shots that period, How big is that. What a wild and nerve racking 3rd. Vernon comes out of the gate, gets two solid chances inside the opening two minutes before hitting the crossbar minutes later. Then it was basically all Vees as Penticton was pressing. How big was Darion Hanson? At times the Snakes held off the Vees but other times Penticton had some very solid opportunities, if it wasn't for Darion Hanson, who knows. This was basically a must win for the Vipers! Vernon didn't want to lose Game 4 playing in Penticton Friday down 3-1. I thought the Snakes were prepared and ready to battle all night and it showed. The Vipers didn't back down and emptied the tank. Another great crowd on hand tonight, what an atmosphere inside Kal Tire Place. One of the more quieter buildings, the fans were into tonight's game off the start.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Gabe Bast I thought was solid on the blueline. Bast has a wicked shot, likes to get pucks to the net, dosnt back down from the after the whistle activities. Was getting involved during stopages with several different Vipers. Did a lot of chirping on and off the ice.
Ty Amonte I thought was very strong most of the evening. Seemed to always be involved in the play, was dangerous with the puck, really used his speed to get by a few Vernon defenders. Had some looks-opportunities.
Owen Sillinger Had some good looks-chances, was going to the net, played & battled hard.
Matthew Robson (29 saves) Made a nice pad save off Jimmy Lambert early in the 1st wasn't tested much at all in the middle frame, before being forced into making two huge saves off the opening faceoff to start the 3rd. Played well through out the game.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
The Vees were hit hard and hit often from the drop of the puck. Penticton was outshot 10-4 early before rallying back in shots as the 1st period went along. The Vees give up the games first goal fell behind 2-0 midway through the opening period and were forced to play catch up for the remainder of the night. I thought Penticton played well at times in the opening frame but the Snakes were just a bit better. The Vees powerplay wich has been deadly this series, struggled in the 2nd period. Penticton with three straight powerplay's needed atleast a goal to get back within a goal with lots of time left. The Vees had troubles generating/creating chances in the 1st and 2nd periods. I don't know how many shots the Vees had on the powerplay, but Penticton was held to just nine shots the entire middle frame. Penticton just couldn't find their game in the 2nd got some big saves to start the 3rd from Matthew Robson before taking over most of the final frame. The Vees pressing to get within a goal, lead a strong attack had some grade a chances couldn't solve Darion Hanson. The Vees with several good looks-opportunities, couldn't bury their chances. Penticton couldn't catch a break, had the play blown down on two plays in and around the Viper goal, when in fact the puck was still loose. Two quick back to back whistles stopped the play, when the puck was still loose. The Vees just couldn't seem to get a bounce in and around the goal. Grant Cruikshank rings his shot off the crossbar with just over a minute remaining, could have made things very interesting if this puck goes in. Tempers heated up during the course of the game on both sides. Lots of chirping going on during the game and in between whistles. Overall I don't think the Vees were at their best tonight, yes they may have looked good at times but weren't good enough for a full sixty minutes. When the other team has their backs up against the wall, you know your going to be in for a tough hard fought game. A few more Vees fans made the trip up for tonight's game were spotted through out the crowd. Game 5 in Penticton Friday, is going to be a crucial game for both teams.
Energy Player of the Game:
Jesse Lansdell (1 goal)
1st Star: Darion Hanson (32 saves-shutout)
2nd Star: Jagger Williamson (2 goals)
3rd Star: Riley Brandt (1 assist)
Fraser Rodger's Penticton Vees Blog,
Text Box Score,