Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Interior Division Finals: Game 7 Penticton 3 Vernon 1

I have had season tickets for the past 27 years and been following Junior hockey in Vernon for well over thirty years. I have missed only three home games since the 1998-99 season. For anyone who could not attend or watch tonight’s Vipers game here are my thoughts and views from tonight’s game. You may agree or disagree but we all have our own view and opinion on any game we watch. This is my opinion and my thoughts on how I saw tonight’s game. I try to be unbiased and give a fare recap on both sides. Thanks for stopping by & visiting my blog.

I was at Game 7 of the Interior Division Finals between the Vipers & Vees as Penticton defeated Vernon 3-1 in front of 4,033 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Darion Hanson
Penticton: Matthew Robson

1st Period: Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start as the play went back and fourth early before the Vees slowly started to take over the edge in play. Seven minutes in Grant Cruikshank won the battle along the boards, went into the corner before coming back out front before being denied by Darion Hanson who was forced to make a quick save from in tight. A minute later Cassidy Bowes sprung Gabe Bast on a two on one attack, beat Darion Hanson fivehole giving Penticton a 1-0 lead at 7:51 on a goal I think Hanson would like to have back. Bowes drew the lone assist. The Vees outshooting Vernon 6-2 at this point. A minute later Michael Ufberg walked in from the point, beat two defenders before cutting towards the slot, fired a low shot along the ice that was kicked out by Matthew Robson before Riley Brandt was stopped on the rebound. Robson with two big saves on the shift following a goal. With four and a half minutes remaining Cooper Watson with a turnover in his own end, allowed Grant Cruikshank to wheel in for the loose puck, wired a hard low shot along the ice, forcing Darion Hanson into making a huge pad save keeping this game at 1-0. Steven Jandric battled hard down low would be stopped by Matthew Robson on the wrap around with about eighteen seconds left in the opening frame. It was 1-0 Penticton after 20 minutes of play. Both teams went back and fourth early with no real scoring chances before the Vees got going and slowly started to take over the edge in play. I thought Penticton was the better of the two teams for most of the 1st carried a lot of the play, carried the puck-had the better opportunities. The Vipers struggled offensively, had all kinds of troubles getting pucks to the net-getting bodies to the front of the goal. The Vees defence was solid all period keeping Vernon to the outside, bottling them up along the boards. Penticton with good sticks, blocked shots-got sticks in the way, limited the Snakes opportunities. The Vipers with very little to no zone time, struggled getting any kind of pressure in the offensive zone. Both teams went a good five-six minutes at one point with no shots on goal. The puck was taking some weird bounces off the end wall in the Vees zone. Several Vernon shots took awkward bounces off the end boards through out the period. Penticton outshot Vernon 12-8.

2nd Period: About a minute and a half in the Vees tried setting up Grant Cruikshank going to the net, redirected his slap pass just wide of the goal. Two minutes in Vees captain Nicholas Jones outworked two Viper defenders before driving to the net, got in close before being stopped by Vipers starting goaltender Darion Hanson. Just minutes later Nicholas Jones spotted former Brandon Wheat Kings forward Duncan Campbell who ripped a heavy shot from the bottom of the circle, beat Darion Hanson giving Penticton a 2-0 lead at 5:25 Jones & Gabe Bast collected the helpers. Grant Cruikshank looked like a man on a mission, come ready to play tonight, had several opportunities in and around the Snakes goal, either just fired wide or was stopped by Darion Hanson. Owen Sillinger setup Taylor Sanheim who went one on one with Shane Kelly, went inside/outside before getting in behind Kelly went bar and down beating Darion Hanson high glove giving Penticton a 3-0 lead and basically in full control of this contest. Sillinger picked up the assist.Four minutes later the Vees would get the games first powerplay. James Miller's shot from the blueline forced Darion Hanson into making a big pad save with bodies in front. Penticton with good pressure, had some good looks before taking a penalty in the dying seconds of the man advantage. After a brief four on four, Vernon went to work on their first powerplay couldn't capitalize with the man advantage before the final buzzer. It was 3-0 Penticton after 40 minutes of play. Two big goals by the Vees basically put this game away. It was all Vees for most of the middle frame. Penticton carried the balance of play, were all over the Snakes. The Vees getting pucks to the net, were buzzing in and around Darion Hanson had several quality chances-looks. The Vipers for a second straight period struggled offensively. Vernon saw a lot of time in their own end, again had troubles getting any kind of sustained pressure. The Vees defence was solid, once again kept the Snakes to the outside, away from the front of the net, took away their time & space. Penticton outshot Vernon 16-9.

3rd Period: The Vipers started the final frame with the man advantage that was carried over from the 2nd period. Off the opening draw, Vernon with a dump in play, saw the puck take a huge hop off the end boards come right out front, after Matthew Robson left his crease to chase the puck. Luckily for Penticton no Vernon players were near the front of the goal as the puck come up the middle and out of the zone. The Vees were able to kill off the remainder of the penalty. Two and a half minutes in the Snakes spotted captain Riley Brandt along in the slot, couldn't solve Matthew Robson who shut the door. Just over five minutes in Jesse Lansdell was a little over aggressive along the wall, took a penalty, giving Penticton just their second powerplay of the evening. Owen Sillinger with the Vees best opportunity, couldn't beat Darion Hanson in tight as the Vipers with a huge kill, killed off the minor. The Vees looked to take their foot off the gas and were basically dumping the puck in, as the Vipers couldn't seem to get much of anything going early to start the 3rd. It wasn't until just before the halfway mark, Jesse Lansdell jumped on a Vees turnover setup Riley Brandt in front beat Matthew Robson cutting the Penticton lead to 3-1 at 9:34 Lansdell drew the lone helper. This goal seemed to spark Vernon, giving the Snakes some life and momentum as the Vipers picked up the pace. Vernon now down two with time against them, were pressing hard. The Vipers with a ton of pressure, still having troubles getting bodies-pucks to the goal. Cameron Trott's point shot was snagged by the quick glove of Matthew Robson. With time winding down, the Vipers would get Darion Hanson to the bench for the extra attacker with about 2:30 left in the hockey game. With the Snakes pressing, Vernon had some good looks but couldn't find the back of the net. Nicholas Jones & Duncan Campbell with big block shots inside the final two minutes. With a minute to go and the Interior Division Championship on the line, Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye (by Steam) started blaring over the sound system at the SOEC as the crowd now started getting into it, chanting Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye. Vernon pressing hard inside the final minute just couldn't muster any offence as the Vees were forced into icing the puck at least three or four different times before the final buzzer. The Penticton bench erupted piling onto goaltender Matthew Robson, as the SOEC went into a frenzy, while at the other end of the rink, several Vipers with their heads down were dejected with their season coming to an end. Both teams would eventually line up at centre ice for the handshake. While the Vipers were leaving the ice, a mob of Viper fans surrounded the tunnel cheering on their team for one last time. The Vees would clinch the Ryan Hatfield Memorial trophy and the Interior Division Championship for a sixteenth time in franchise history after a 3-1 victory in Game 7. Both teams had a few chances early before the Vees looked to take their foot off the gas and play defence with a 3-0 lead. It took the Snakes just about half the period to get going. Riley Brandt would get Vernon on the board in his last Junior game, as the Vipers pressed hard in the final ten minutes but just couldn't capitalize on some chances-solve Matthew Robson or the Penticton defence. I thought the Vipers were the better team in the 3rd but needed more then ten minutes of a period to try and rally three goals down. Vernon outshot Penticton 12-5.

Top Player's: (Vernon)

I didn't think any Vipers stood out tonight

Game Thought's: (Vernon)

After playing a hard fought game in Game 6 to force a Game 7 tonight, you have to wonder what happened to the Vipers in Game 7. This was not the same Viper team I have watched all season. The Snakes got off to a slow start, struggled offensively and didn't look-play well for most of the night. I'm not making any excuses but Vernon for whatever reason, didn't deserve to win tonight. The Vipers with maybe two opportunities in the 1st, no chances in the 2nd finally got their game going in the final ten-eleven minutes tried to rally down three goals pressed hard to end the game but still had trouble creating/generating opportunities at times. I thought Matthew Robson looked a little shaky at times, the Vees netminder didnt see a lot of rubber, seemed to have troubles with several shots from well out, was giving up several big rebounds. Your not going to win many if any hockey games when you only get a handful of chances through out the entire game. Vernon struggled offensively most of the night, had troubles getting pucks on goal, struggled getting bodies to the front of the net, were kept to the outside and along the boards most of the night. The Vipers didn't go to the grey area's enough. The Snakes were outplayed and outworked most of the night. The Vipers turned over the puck on several occasions, looked tired, weren't hitting and were losing the battles. The Vipers top two lines were almost invincible. I don't know if the boys were nervous or just overwhelmed with being in a Game 7 in front of over four thousand people but a very disappointing loss for sure and a tough way to end the season. This was the first time in several years that the Vipers held their own against Penticton, went 3-3-0-1 vs the Vees during the regular season, before taking Penticton to seven games. The past five-six years, Penticton has had Vernon's number and basically dominated the Vipers over those seasons. A great turnout of Viper fans made the trip for tonight's game. Great to see! I really liked the look of this years Viper team and myself along with most Viper fans, I think had high hopes on a strong season-long playoff run. Hold your heads high boys! You had a heck of a season and made Vernon proud. Id like to take the time to congratulate the Vernon Vipers and the entire Vipers organization on a heck of a season! For just the second time in the past seven years this was a very fun and exciting team to watch and watch grow and build as a team, improve game to game and through out the season. A huge shout out has to go to Mark Ferner and the Vipers coaching staff for doing a remarkable job this season recruiting and putting together this year's team. Im really excited and looking forward to next season already. To all the players that wont be back next season, I wish you all but nothing but success in your future whatever you do, and to the returning players, I look forward to next season. Thank you for some great memories and a great season!  The Vipers have a possible nine-ten players returning for next season. (Sol Seibel, Brett Stapley, Ryan Brushett, Simon Sagissor, Niko Karamanis, Luke Gingras, Brody Dale, Steven Jandric, Chris Jandric & Ty Taylor).

Top Player's: (Penticton)

Gabe Bast (1 goal & 1 assist) Played very well, has had a strong series and given the Vipers trouble all seven games. Opened the scoring, played very well at both ends of the rink.

Nicholas Jones (1 assist) I thought the Vees captain played well, created/generated opportunities, was skating hard, going to the net, competed all night. Lead by example.

James Miller was very solid on the backend. 

Grant Cruikshank I thought was Penticton's best player, was ready to go off the opening puck drop, really elevated his game, had a ton of chances through out the night, was dangerous with and without the puck. Was hard to contain.

Owen Sillinger (1 assist) Played well, had a few looks-opportunities.

Cassidy Bowes (AP) Playing in just his second game with the Vees, made his playoff debut tonight and what a performance. Behind Cruikshank I thought this young man was right up there. Played with a ton of jump/energy, really used his wheels to move the puck, wasn't afraid to take the body, played physical at times, laying out some big checks. Even levelled Connor Clouston to the ice after a big check in the defensive zone. Didn't look out of place at all. Got a large ovation from the crowd after a few shifts. Showed a lot of hustle-determination. 

Griffin Mendel Was another d-man that played well. Was hard to beat one on one.

Game Thought's: (Penticton)

After losing 5-1 in Game 6 returned home for their second Game 7 of these playoffs and took care of business on home ice. The Vees who finished atop of the Interior Division were ready to play and other then the final ten-eleven minutes were by far the better team tonight and fully deserved the victory. Penticton needed a few minutes before slowly started to take over a slight edge in play. Getting the first goal was key-big but also not playing strong defensively. The Vees defence was solid all night, shut down Vernon's offence. The Vipers were kept to the outside most of the game, limited on their opportunities as the Vees took away their time and space. Penticton blocked several shots-got sticks in the way, capitalized on their chances. Taylor Sanheim's goal in the 2nd to give the Vees a 3-0 lead was basically lights out. The Vipers couldn't recover and were playing from behind all night. The Vees are very strong playing with the lead and when they open the scoring. Penticton wins the Ryan Hatfield Memorial Trophy-the Interior Division Championship for a sixteenth time in franchise history and will now advance to the league finals in Chilliwack Friday to face the Chiefs. This will be Penticton's fifth trip to the Fred Page Cup in the past ten years. The last time the Vees won the league title was over Nanaimo in 2015. Both the Chiefs and Vees have already advanced to the Western Canada Cup wich will be held in Penticton at the end of the month. The Chiefs get in representing BC while the Vees get in automatic as the host team. Penticton has now eliminated Vernon come playoffs, three straight years while taking out the Vipers in three of the past four seasons. Three of those four playoff series went to Game 7 with Penticton winning two out of the three. Again what can you say about the fans and the atmosphere at the South Okanagan Events Centre tonight and through out the season-playoffs. Over 4000 jammed into the SOEC tonight with the 50/50 going for $7,153 Incredible! Id like to congratulate the Penticton Vees and their entire organization & fans on a great season and series and wish them all the best in the next round.



Brody Dale
Chris Jandric (Suspended)


Sam Rossini
Chris Klack (Suspended)
Kenny Johnson
Greg Brydon
Ryley Risling

Energy Player of the Game:

Cassidy Bowes (1 assist)

Three Star's:

1st Star: Taylor Sanheim (1 goal)
2nd Star: Gabe Bast (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Matthew Robson (28 saves)

Here’s a look at the previous 23 playoff meetings between Vernon & Penticton:

1966-67 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Semifinal)
1967-68 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 0 (Semifinal)
1971-72 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (BCJHL Final)
1973-74 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1974-75 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1975-76 Penticton defeated Vernon (No Stats) (Interior Division Semifinal)
1976-77 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 2 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1982-83 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1986-87 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1987-88 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1992-93 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1993-94 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Semifinal)
1994-95 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Vernon blows 3-1 series lead)
2001-02 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Conference Final)
2002-03 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Conference Quaterfinal)
2004-05 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 0 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2006-07 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 1 (Interior Conference Final)
2007-08 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2008-09 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 1 (Interior Conference Semifinal)
2009-2010 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 2 (Interior Conference Final)
2013-2014 Vernon defeated Penticton 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)
2014-15 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)
2015-16 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 1 (Interior Division Semifinal)
2016-17 Penticton defeated Vernon 4 games to 3 (Interior Division Final)     

Boxscore-Game Summary,

Fraser Rodgers Penticton Vees Blog,

Game Report,

Text Box Score,

One final Thank you to you the fans who viewed my blog on a regular basis. I just wanted to say thanks to the many many fans who checked out my blog this season! I have been averaging between 400-700 views a day this season, if not more. Some over 800-900 during the playoffs. With the Vipers season all but over now, that dosn't mean this blog is finished for the season. I will have several articles-news-stories on Viper alumni and of course any Viper news through out the off season. So please keep coming back through out the off season-summer to keep informed with any Vipers news-Viper alumni updates.


Chipman said...

I have to agree 100% that the Vipers did not show up last nite except in the last 9 minutes when they decided to turn the " hockey switch" on but it was already too late. A great game six effort was wasted on last nites game. Thx Vipersdiehardfan for this site & could you plz take over the Vipers web page also because it sucks!! Thx again

mike grunsell said...

Obvious disappointment for everyone involved with the Vipers re game 7 but still a fantastic season which I thoroughly enjoyed. (ice) Hockey has a new fan here in NZ and can't wait for next season.
Thank you also for all your comments and reviews on the games and happenings during the season.
Cheers from downunder.

vipersdiehardfan said...

Your very welcome! I'm glad you both enjoy my blog and a big thank you to you and the many others that visit my blog, without you/other followers, this blog doesn't exist. I ran-updated the Vipers website from 2011-2015 until the entire league forced all teams to have a company update their websites, so all teams across the league all have the same style websites. My hands were tied when it come to running the website, I basically updated photos, added staff profiles-stats, scores and league news etc. All Viper news was added within the Viper organization themselves. This is one of the main reasons I created-started this blog. I myself at onetime was a Viper fan like all of you, wanting to know what was going on with the Vipers. I wanted to know all trades, news and where all Viper alumni were playing after leaving Vernon. Many of you don't realize how many long hours in a day it takes to prepare the blog, look for information, post game previews-game recaps. It's a lot of work but I enjoy it.