I was at tonight's Vipers-Chiefs game as Vernon defeated Chilliwack 4-1 in front of 1,729 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Anthony Yamnitsky
Chilliwack: Daniel Chenard
Before tonight's game, newly crowned Queen Silver Star dropped the puck for the opening ceremonial faceoff.
1st Period: Just thirty five seconds into the opening frame Anthony Yamnitsky come out to play the puck, just about got caught had to release the puck in a hurry as a Chiefs attacking forward was in on the loose puck. Two minutes in the Chilliwack Chiefs on an odd man rush setup Harrison Blaisdell who couldn't solve Anthony Yamnitsky in close. The Vipers were very interested in Blaisdell over the summer, decided to commit-sign with the Chiefs. Six minutes in Anthony Vincent broke in for the parcial breakaway decided to setup Kaden Pickering going hard to the goal, was denied by Anthony Yamnitsky. Shortly after former Wenatchee Wild netminder Anthony Yamnitsky flashed the leather, making a quick glove save off Corey Andonovski off the faceoff dot. With about eight minutes to go Jordan Sandhu with wheels jumped into the offensive zone, forced Daniel Chenard to come way out of his crease, Sandhu fired the puck up the middle but two Vipers couldn't connect on the pass on a goal mouth scramble as Chenard scrambled back into the blue paint. The Chiefs forced the play back the other way, springing PJ Marrocco in for the breakaway, Marrocco fired wide of the net on a missed opportunity. Back come the Snakes, Jimmy Lambert lead a two on one couldn't beat Daniel Chenard before the puck got back to Michael Young who's low shot along the ice beat Daniel Chenard giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 12:45 Jimmy Lambert with the lone helper. The Vipers looked to grab a two goal with just under five minutes remaining. Former Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Josh Latta setup Alex Swetlikoff on an odd man rush who couldn't solve Daniel Chenard. Inside the final minute Anthony Vincent on a parcial breakaway couldn't beat Anthony Yamnitsky. With the Chiefs pressing late, Anthony Yamnitsky was forced to making two saves off shots from the point, with bodies in front. Chilliwack with good pressure inside the final minute. It was 1-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. This was a fairly entertaining period with the play going back and fourth for most of the frame. Chilliwack has some speed, had the better of the chances in that opening period. The Vipers had a few looks-chances, managed to open the scoring, didn't get a lot of pucks to the net. Chilliwack outshot Vernon 14-6.
2nd Period: Off the opening faceoff, Jimmy Lambert won the race to the puck tried setting up Brett Stapley in front as the puck took a bit of an awkward hop of Chiefs starting goaltender Daniel Chenard, with Stapley rushing to the front of the goal, couldn't get their in time. About a minute later, Chris Jandric was caught flat footed in the neutral zone, allowing Tommy Lee in for the parcial breakaway, ripped a lazer of a shot from the circle that beat Vipers starting netminder Anthony Yamnitsky top shelf tying the game 1-1 at 1:31 Lee's goal was unassisted. This was a huge goal, gets the Chiefs on the board, into the period early and gets some life on the bench. A deflating goal for the Snakes. About two and a half minutes later Adam Berg went knee on knee with Michael Ufberg. Shane Kelly stepped in, going after Berg. A linesman was quick to get between the two, as the two exchanged words. Someone from the Viper bench was yelling at Kelly to backoff and get back to the bench. Berg was given a five minute major and tossed from the hockey game. On his way off, Kelly was giving it to Berg on his way off the ice. Ufberg was ok and stayed in the game. With the Vipers passing the puck around and around the perimeter, Chilliwack would get into penalty trouble taking a minor just fifty one seconds later, giving the Vipers a five on three advantage. Ryan Bowen with a huge shot block wasn't enough after former Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Cameron Trott wired a shot along the ice, giving Vernon a 2-1 lead at 5:51 Jimmy Lambert & Chris Jandric collected the assists. Thirty seven seconds later Chiefs captain Will Calverley stole the puck from Michael Ufberg, was off to the races before Ufberg hauled down Calverley. Calverley was awarded a penalty shot at 13:32 Calverley skated in slowly, tried beating Anthony Yamnitsky five hole was denied in close. Keeping this a one goal game and a TSN turning point. Vernon still on the five minute major would once again get a second five on three powerplay after Anthony Vincent closed his hand on the puck. Vincent very upset with the call, let the official know on his way to the box. The Snakes would move the puck around before Cameron Trott's shot from the point would be redirected in by Brett Stapley in front, giving Vernon a 3-1 lead at 7:59 Trott and Michael Ufberg drew the assists. Anthony Vincent still upset with the officials, let them know on his way out of the box. The Vipers with just four shots on the five minute major, scored twice. Fourty seconds later with the Vipers going to the net on a goal mouth scramble, the Snakes would get their first penalty of the evening, giving Chilliwack their first powerplay of the night. The Chiefs with no real pressure, didn't generate much for offence couldn't capitalise with the man advantage. Just as the penalty expired, the Snakes with some nice three way passing setup Derek Brown on a three on two attack was robbed by Daniel Chenard. In the second half Marcus Tesink with a huge defensive play, broke up a Viper rush. Inside the final minute Jesse Lansdell setup Brett Stapley in front, beat Daniel Chenard five hole giving Vernon a 4-1 lead at 19:07 Lansdell & Michael Ufberg picked up the helpers. It was 4-1 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. The Chiefs with a big goal early tied the game just a minute and a half into the middle frame, before getting into penalty trouble. The Snakes with two big goals on the man advantage, got a big stop from Anthony Yamnitsky on a penalty shot. I thought Vernon was the better of the two teams. The Vipers stayed disciplined and took advantage of some undisciplined penalties from Chilliwack, making the Chiefs pay. I thought the Snakes carried the majority of the play, had more puck possession and zone time through out the 2nd period. The Chiefs saw most of the period in their own end, couldn't create/generate much for offence. The Chiefs very upset with the officials. During a Chilliwack timeout head coach/gm Jason Tatarnic come down to the bench, waiting to talk with an official. Both officials took the timeout drinking water in front of the penalty boxes, ignored the Chiefs bench boss. Vernon outshot Chilliwack 13-8.
3rd Period: Inside the opening minute Tommy Lee with a quality chance at the side of the goal, was stoned by Anthony Yamnitsky. A big stop early from the Viper netminder. Just 1:12 into the final frame the Snakes would draw an early penalty. With a ton of pressure, Vernon would get several looks-chances, unable to capitalize with the man advantage. A strong powerplay, unable to find the back of the goal. The Vipers with early puck possession, controlled the opening minutes, getting several good looks. Chilliwack down three goals unable to get through the neutral zone. Vernon doing a good job at clogging up the neutral zone, forcing the Chiefs to re-group. The play would eventually open up as both teams went back and fourth for a while, as the Snakes were getting the better of the opportunities. With about eight-nine minutes left the Vipers looked to grab a four goal lead wired a shot off the crossbar, turning on the goal light. With a quick whistle/faceoff, the officials didn't even talk to the goal judge, as play continued. Shortly after Chiefs head coach/gm Jason Tatarnic would get tossed from the game, after a loud ovation from the Viper fans. Tatarnic was later spotted standing along the railing above the Chilliwack blueline. Late in the game the Vipers opened up the offence, getting several quality chances in and around the goal, were either just missing the net or forcing Daniel Chenard into making several stops. Inside the final two and a half minutes the Vipers would get a late powerplay, would run down the clock, coming away with the 4-1 victory. Other then a couple of looks and maybe two quality chances, the Snakes carried the majority of the play. Vernon with several good looks/opportunities also played well defensively. The Vipers clogging up the neutral zone, shut down the Chiefs offence. Chilliwack with no real urgency couldn't get through the neutral zone, had troubles gaining any traction. The Vipers were the better of the two teams. Vernon outshot Chilliwack 18-7.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Cameron Trott (1 goal & 1 assist) Was solid on the point/powerplay.
The Vipers #1 unit of Jimmy Lambert (2 assists), Brett Stapley (2 goals) & Jordan Sandhu was very dangerous. This line was solid all night, created/generated chances through out the game. Their speed and skill was hard to contain and defend against.
Jesse Lansdell (1 assist) I thought was physical all evening, finished his checks, won the battles along the wall.
Niko Karamanis Used his wheels and skill to give the Chiefs trouble. Playing with a lot of jump/energy was buzzing all night, made things happen in a hurry, opened up the ice.
Chris Jandric (1 assist) I thought played very well on the Vernon backend. This kid has come along way since his rookie season. Playing with a ton of confidence, jumps into the play, gets involved in the play, played well at both ends of the rink. Got caught flat footed in front of both benches early into the middle frame, allowing Tommy Lee to break in and get Chilliwack on the board.
Anthony Yamnitsky (29 saves) Made some key stops in the opening frame. Chilliwack had the edge in 1st period scoring chances, couldn't solve Yamnitsky. Made a big stop off the Chiefs captain (Will Calverley) on a second period penalty shot, played very well tonight. Yamnitsky had previously lost his last four games, has been in goal in nine of Vernon's fifteen losses this season. A big confidence booster for the veteran goaltender.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
A big game and a big win/two points for the Vipers who after the 1st period were the better of the two hockey teams. This was a very good game and a very well played game from the Snakes. I thought Vernon played well in the opening frame, but didn't get enough pucks to the net-create/generate enough offensive opportunities. The Vipers gave up more chances and gave up 14 shots after just one period. Luckily the Vipers opened the scoring and were up a goal heading into the 2nd. Other then maybe the odd shift, I didnt think the Vipers showed any signs of rust, after being off for the past week. I thought the Snakes took over in the 2nd and 3rd periods and were by far the better team. Specialty teams was a difference as Vernon goes 3-6 with the man advantage, while playing disciplined and staying out of the penalty box. Three powerplay goals and a big stop from Anthony Yamnitsky on a 2nd period penalty shot was the difference. The Vipers speed and skill took over in the final two frames. I thought Vernon really opened up the ice, created/generated more offensive opportunities. 19 yr old forward David Lenzin made his Vipers debut tonight. Tonight was the final regular season meeting with the Chiefs as the two teams tied 4-4 November 1st in Chilliwack. The Vipers win back to back games, have won four straight on home ice & five of their last six home games. With the win Vernon improves to 33-13-1-4 jump into 2nd place in the Interior Division. The Vipers are six points ahead of Trail, are one point ahead of Wenatchee, just two points back of Division/League leading Penticton. The Vees with a 4-1 victory in Trail tonight. The Snakes with just seven games remaining in the regular season. It's going to be a dog fight for the top four spots in the Interior Division. Vernon heavily relying on some help from other clubs down the stretch.
Top Player's: (Chilliwack)
Anthony Vincent Other then taking two undisciplined minors had a strong night. The Chiefs forward caught the Viper defence napping twice tonight, leading to two parcial breakaways. Very quick on his feet, aware of his surroundings, sees the ice well.
Jared Turcotte The former Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward was physical, active finishing his checks, also getting under the Vipers skin.
Daniel Chenard (37 saves) Didn't see much rubber in the 1st but had to be sharp in the 2nd and 3rd periods was forced to making several big stops in the final two periods. Kept his team in the game at times, or tonight's final score could have easily been a much bigger outcome.
Game Thought's: (Chilliwack)
The Royal Bank Cup Host Chiefs got off to a quick start, played very well early. Chilliwack using their speed, were getting pucks to the net, forcing Anthony Yamnitsky into making several key stops, unable to find the back of the net in the 1st. The Chiefs with several good looks/quality chances couldn't capitalize on their opportunities. Chilliwack ran into penalty trouble early in the middle frame, gave up two powerplay goals, couldn't re-group. The Chiefs would give up a third powerplay goal late to end the 2nd period were down three goals heading to the third. Chilliwack saw a lot of action in their own end the final two periods, couldn't contain the Viper attack. The Chiefs having all kinds of trouble generating any kind of traction, had limiting opportunities in the final two periods. The Chiefs with just fourteen shots in the final two periods, gave up thirty one shots in the final two periods. The Chiefs didn't agree/like the officiating tonight, took some undisciplined penalties. Tonight was a big loss, a win and the Chiefs could have moved to within two points of idle Langley and three points of idle Surrey. The Chiefs go 0-3 in their three game road trip, have lost four straight away from home and five of their last six road games. Chilliwack has lost eight of their last eleven games. I spotted one Chiefs fan in attendance tonight. The Chiefs have just one win in Vernon since the 2003-04 season. Chilliwack's last win in Vernon was a 5-4 victory November 5th 2010. With the loss Chilliwack falls to 22-21-3-3 sit 4th in the Mainland Division are eighteen points up on Coquitlam, four points back of Langley and five points back of Surrey.
Josh Prokop (Injured-Out for the season)
Jagger Williamson (Injured-Concussion)
Keyvan Mokhtari (Injured-Concussion)
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Brett Stapley (2 goals)
2nd Star: Cameron Trott (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Anthony Yamnitsky (29 saves)