I'm sorry for the late game recap but I had a family New Years day dinner after today's game and wasn't home until late.
I was at today's Vipers-Vees game as Penticton defeated Vernon 3-1 in front of 2,023 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: James Porter Jr
Penticton: Carl Stankowski
1st Period: Twenty two seconds into this afternoon's matchup, Matt Kowalski at the side of the goal couldn't bury an opportunity in close on an early chance for the hometown Vipers. The visiting Penticton Vees responded with a quick push back shift, after Vees captain David Silye come back the other way got around a Vernon defender before going high and over the goal on a quality chance for Penticton. Back to back opportunities inside the opening minute of play. Three minutes in, the son of former NHLer Scott Niedermayer, Jackson Niedermayer with a nice move at the blueline, created some open ice before being stopped in close by James Porter Jr. About a minute and a half later, Penticton would get the games first power play. Seconds into the PP David Silye ripped a shot from the slot, that beat James Porter Jr but not the post as the Vees come within inches of opening the scoring. Penticton with a ton of pressure, only managed one shot with the man advantage as the Snakes killed off the minor. Just over five minutes later, the Vipers couldn't clear the zone after Matt Kowalski turned the puck over at the blueline. Colton Kalezic spotted Lukas Sillinger who setup the son of former NHLer Tony Amonte, Tristan Amonte who's quick shot from the high slot beat former Kelowna Rockets netminder James Porter Jr, giving Penticton a 1-0 lead at 11:30 Sillinger & Kalezic collected the assists. The Vipers responded with a good push back shift two minutes later. The Vees couldn't clear the zone, as the puck stayed in the offensive zone. Logan Cash setup Jo Jo Tanaka-Campbell who went back to the point to Christian Felton. Felton's point shot beat Carl Stankowski five hole, tying the game 1-1 at 13:39 Tanaka-Campbell & Cash drew the assists. There must have been traffic in front of the Vees netminder, because I think Stankowski should have been able to stop a slapshot from the point. With about three minutes remaining, Jo Jo Tanaka-Campbell used his wheels to open some ice, was stopped by Carl Stankowski driving towards the net, on a quality chance for the Snakes. The Vipers would get a late PP inside the final minute, but unable to capitalize before the buzzer. It was 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. I thought Penticton was the better team, had a lot more puck possession, zone time and were really skating hard, were giving the Snakes defenders with there team speed and transition game. The Vees didn't generate a lot of chances but rang a shot off the post on there lone power play. The Vipers didn't see a lot of time with the puck, so didn't see a lot of time in the offensive zone. I thought Vernon struggled with there passing and had troubles containing the Vees speed. The Vipers seemed to gain some life and a little momentum after tying the game, played there best hockey towards the end of the opening frame, looked better after tying the game. Penticton outshot Vernon 11-7.
2nd Period: The Snakes started the middle frame with the man advantage that was carried over from the 1st period. The Vees blocked at least two or three Vernon shots, were able to keep the Vipers away from the front of the net, managed to kill off the penalty. Minutes later after a strong forecheck and a ton of pressure in the offensive zone, the Vees managed to move the puck around. The son of former NHLer Doug Weight, Danny Weight setup Liam Malmquist at the side of the goal, giving Penticton a 2-1 lead at 3:24 Weight and Darwin Lakoduk drew the helpers. The Vees didn't take there foot off the gas and kept coming and in waves. It was all Penticton early and often. Just over two minutes later, after working the puck around, Carson Kosobud took a hit but stayed with the play, setup Evan McIntyre who's shot from the point, beat Vipers starting goaltender James Porter Jr, giving Penticton a 3-1 lead at 5:51 Kosobud picked up the only assist. Just past the halfway mark, Jackson Niedermayer's younger brother Joshua Niedermayer who was recently called up with the Vees, stepped over the blueline, ripped a low shot that forced James Porter Jr into making a large pad save, keeping this a 3-1 game. On the following whistle, a scrum informed in front of James Porter Jr as some pushing and shoving occurred as several players jumped into the mix. Joshua Niedermayer was the lone player going to the box for slashing. You can bet Fred Harbinson and the Vees bench weren't too pleased with this call. How does one player from one team, get pulled out of a minor scrum and sent to the penalty box and not one from the Vernon side? The Vipers will take it, and get there second PP of the afternoon. The power play was short lived as eleven seconds later, Viper forward/captain Connor Marritt took a kneeing minor in the neutral zone, sending the teams to four on four. On the following play, the Snakes looked to have a three on two rush, but a solid defensive play broke up the odd man rush. The Vees gained control of the puck, come back the other way, on what looked to be a four on two but the Vees forward couldn't connect on the pass. Penticton would jump on a late man advantage with less then two minutes left in the 2nd period. The Vees had some good looks, but couldn't capitalize before the buzzer. It was 3-1 Penticton after 40 minutes. The Vees were by far the better team as Penticton outplayed Vernon for most of the period. The Vees managed to kill off an early power play, before scoring the only two goals of the middle frame. Penticton with two quick back to back goals just over two minutes apart. For a second straight period the Vees didn't generate a whole lot for offence, but scored twice. Penticton was very good defensively, carried most of the play, had a lot of puck possession and were strong on the forecheck. The Vipers struggled offensively, went twelve minutes without a shot on goal, had troubles gaining any kind of traction, were missing passes, didn't play with a lot of energy or urgency, saw a lot of time in there own end. It was all Vees in the second period. Penticton outshot Vernon 10-9.
3rd Period: The Vees started the final frame on the man advantage that was carried over from the 2nd period. David Silye went in and around at least two Viper defenders before setting up Jackson Niedermayer going to the goal, would be stopped by James Porter Jr who made a large save. The Vees unable to capitalize on the PP as Vernon killed off the minor. Just as the penalty expired, the Vipers went on the power play. The Snakes looked very disorganized, made some poor decisions with and without the puck, eventually turned over the play with some poor passing. Colton Kalezic with some hard work, won the battle sprung former Vernon Vipers forward Tyler Ho in for the partial breakaway. Ho would be denied in close before Kalezic pounced on the rebound, was stopped in close before jamming away at the loose puck. James Porter Jr had to be sharp, was on his belly somehow managed to keep the puck out. Vernon really struggled with the PP, didn't record a single shot on goal as Penticton kills off the minor. About five minutes in, on what looked to be a goal mouth scramble, Hunter Donohoe joined the play down low, would be denied at the top of the crease on a big save from former Seattle Thunderbirds/Calgary Hitmen goaltender Carl Stankowski. Less then two minutes later, the Vipers went back to the power play. For a second straight PP the Snakes struggled, getting very little pucks to the net as the Vees killed off the minor penalty. With about six minutes remaining, Danny Weight with a quick back hand shot from the circle forced James Porter Jr into making a large left pad save off a shot from the left wing. The Vipers would get James Porter Jr to the bench with about 2:25 left in the 3rd. Vernon tried to press, had a few looks but a very tight defensive Vees team shut the door the final two minutes as Penticton hung on for the 3-1 victory. The Vees with another solid period of hockey, were the better of the two teams. Penticton created/generated a few good looks/opportunities early in the first half, carried a lot of the play in the first half. In the second half Penticton looked to take there foot off the gas and shutdown Vernon's offence the rest of the way. The Snakes had a slight edge in play towards the end of the period, but didn't create/or generate much for quality chances. Vernon went at least seven to eight minutes without a single shot on goal. The Vipers were lucky to get two shots on two 3rd period power plays. For a team that started the period down two goals, I didn't see any urgency or energy coming from the Vipers. For a third straight period the Snakes were missing passes, looked disorganised and showed very little emotion. I really liked Penticton's defensive game, limited the Vipers time & space, kept the Vernon shooters boxed out and to the outside and forced them into turning over pucks/making mistakes in the offensive zone. Penticton outshot Vernon 6-5.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
I didn't think any Vipers stood out or played very well in the loss today.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
This was a very disappointing game from the Vipers. The Vipers have been playing a lot of divisional games the past few weeks and haven't played very well in many of them. With the Snakes having games in hand and trying to catch some of the teams ahead in the standings, losing these big four point games to divisional opponents isn't going to help your cause. I saw a Vernon team today that didn't have a lot of jump, energy and emotion. Ok maybe they played with a little jump at times in the 1st period but overall the team looked disorganised. In a game where your behind two goals and you go twelve minutes without a shot on goal in the 2nd period and at least seven to eight minutes in the 3rd period without a shot on goal, your not going to win many if any hockey games. I also didn't see any urgency from this team in the 3rd period. For a team down only two goals with a full period ahead, you think you would see some players if not the entire team, step up and play with some urgency and emotion. The Vipers were outplayed for most of the afternoon. The Snakes saw very little time with the puck, very little time in the offensive zone and had troubles getting pucks to the net and creating/generating chance. I think Vernon had three, maybe four or five quality chances all afternoon. The Vipers passing was also very very poor. The Vipers are struggling on home ice and seem to play better on the road. The Snakes played most of the first half of the season on the road, finish the season with most of there games at Kal Tire Place. Vernon needs to capitalize and take advantage of playing at home, but haven't lately or at all this season. The Vipers have lost three straight at home and five of there last nine home games. Things don't get any easier as the league leading Coquitlam Express are in town Saturday, before the Vipers face divisional rivals Wenatchee and Salmon Arm in there following two games, before Penticton returns on the 15th. I have said this before, the Vipers haven't been the same team since almost blowing a 7-2 3rd period lead in Merritt December 8th. I thought they played one of there better games in some time in there 4-2 win in Salmon Arm Sunday but the past three to four weeks, this team has looked and been very inconsistent. This team has troubles playing a full sixty minutes. I wasn't expecting a big crowd on New Years day but was surprised with the turnout. Former Vipers head coach/gm Mark Ferner and former Vipers scout/assistant coach Kevin Pederson were in attendance today. The Vipers have lost four of there last five games and lost eight of there last fifteen games. With the loss Vernon falls to 20-16-1-1 remain 4th in the Interior division are tied in points with Wenatchee, two points back of 3rd place Salmon Arm and eight points back of 2nd place Trail.
My Thought's on Vernon's new 3rd jerseys:
The Vipers unveiled there new 3rd set jerseys this afternoon as I had previously stated on the blog earlier this morning. I don't like the new third jerseys. The maroon colour has nothing to do with the Vipers main three colours, I also don't like the diagonal stripe on the side of the jersey and keeping the teams original logo. Why did the Vipers go with maroon jerseys? There team colors are red, gold and navy blue. Most if not all teams go with a second logo for there third jerseys, but the Vipers decided to stick with the teams original logo. The Vipers should have gone back to the secondary snake logo they once had before on there 3rd set jerseys and or created/designed a new secondary logo. I'm sorry but I'm not a fan of these new jerseys.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Evan McIntyre (1 goal) Played very well on the Vees backend, saw a lot of minutes, was very solid on the blueline.
Nico Somerville Was another Penticton defenceman that played very well. I really like this kid, he's added a lot to the Vees blueline since being acquired earlier this season from Victoria.
Danny Weight (1 assist) Played well collecting one assist. Not the biggest kid, but has a ton of speed, can move the puck and very skilled.
The line of Tyler Ho, Tristan Amonte (1 goal) and Colton Kalezic (1 assist) Gave Vernon defenders all afternoon. This line works hard, competes and causes turnovers. Is hard in on the puck, gritty along the wall and strong on the forecheck. Tyler Ho who played last season in Vernon, is a nice fit this season for the Vees after coming over from the Western Hockey League. Ho battled and competed, played hard and aggressive today. Tristan Amonte opened the scoring, has some skill, hard to defend against and quick. I really liked Colton Kalezic today, I thought he had a strong afternoon. Was hard on the forecheck, finished his checks, caused turnovers and was hard to play against, Brings that lunch bucket work ethic.
David Silye Your Penticton Vees captain has played very well against the Snakes this season. Silye didn't record a point in the win this afternoon, but was all over Kal Tire Place. This kid is quick, very skilled, hard to contain and defend against. Gave the Vipers troubles all day.
Jackson Niedermayer Played very well in the Vees victory. A bigger body, goes to the net and is involved in the play.
Lukas Sillinger (1 assist) Is another forward who seems to played well against the Snakes. I thought played well, does a lot of the little things behind the play and during the game, a lot of fans don't notice.
Carson Kosobud (1 assist) I really like this kid. A big steady physical d-man. Gets pucks to the net, is hard to beat one on one and logs a lot of minutes. Is another kid who has played well against Vernon this year, was very good in the win today.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
Playing an afternoon game on New Year's day has to be tough for these kids. You can't tell me several players from either team weren't up ringing in the New Year last night. We were all young men at one point. Even if they were at home with there billet families, you can't tell me these young men would be in bed, while the rest of the family is ringing in the New Year. Today was also Penticton's first game since returning from the Christmas break. The Vees last played December 21st while the Vipers were playing there third game in five days. Give a ton of credit to the visiting Vees for coming into Vernon, playing a hard fought game fully deserved the 3-1 win and the two points. I really liked the Vees game from start to finish. I thought Penticton outplayed the hometown Vipers for most of the afternoon. The Vees were much quicker, won a lot of the races, battles, have a very strong and aggressive forecheck, are strong defensively and in front of there goal, carried the better of the play in all three periods, had more puck possession, zone time and created/generated more opportunities. The Vees defence was solid, blocked several shots, boxed Vernon's shooters to the outside, limited there time and space and forced the Vipers shooters into mistakes/turning over pucks. Both teams didn't really generate much for quality chances but the Vees capitalized on three of there's. Penticton looked ready to go from the start, played with a lot more jump, energy and speed. Overall this wasn't a very exciting or entertaining hockey game. The Vees have now won back to back games over the Vipers, lead the season series 3-2 return to Vernon January 15th. The Vees have won three of there last five games and won seven of there last ten. Penticton sits atop the Interior division are sixteen points up on 4th place Vernon and eight points up on 2nd place Trail.
Nicholas Kent (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Tristan Amonte (1 goal)
2nd Star: Christian Felton (1 goal)
3rd Star: Evan McIntyre (1 goal)
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Here are some photo's I took before and during today's Vipers-Vees game.