Was at tonights BCHL game as Salmon Arm defeated Vernon 4-3 in front of 2,694 fans at the Wesbild Centre.
1st Period: Both teams started off a little slow to start the game, looking very catious. No scoring chances, or shots on goal within the first minutie or so. Justin Cseter had the best scoring chance early, getting in behind Steven Weinstein getting a quick shot off in close, but Andrew Hammond come up with the save, give credit to Weinstein who did a great job defensivley trying not to haul down Cseter. The Vipers had a glorious chance early in the period, going on a two man advantage in the early goings. Vernon struggled on the powerplay, getting just three shots on the two man advantage, Kyle Bigos's blast from the top of the circle was the only real solid shot wich had a chance at going in, but Bryan Gillis come out to challenge making the save. The Vipers waisted alot of the powerplay moving the puck around, waiting for the perfect setup, wich didnt happen. The Silverbacks would kill off the two man advantage. Just under seven minutes into the period Steve Tresierra would cough up the puck in the Vernon end, as Mark Zengerle picked up the loose puck, dishing it off to Keenan Desmet who slid the puck fivehole past Andrew Hammond putting the Backs up 1-0. Just over two minutes later Vernon would head back to the man advantage but it was Salmon Arm who would get the first scoring chance shorthanded. Kyle Bigos made a bad pinch at the blueline, leaving Bryce Kakoske as the lone man back, Bobby Lipsett would steal the loose puck going in on the two on one with Zac Rasmussen, Lipsett would keep the puck and wire a shot from the circle beating Hammond high as the Silverbacks jumped out to the quick 2-0 lead scoring shorthanded. The Backs scored two goals on just five shots. Andrew Hammond looked shaky in the 1st period, having troubles with his puck control and rebounds. Both goals seemed to take the life out from the Vipers as the Silverbacks now had all the momentum. The Backs looked very good on the draw, winning most of the faceoffs. Salmon Arm carried the better of the play for most of the second half, moving the puck well, generating all kinds of chances in the Vipers zone. The Backs were by far the more aggresive team, winning all the batles all along the boards and in front of the net. Vernon was giving up way too many odd man rushes with some strong forecheck. Salmon Arm would get there first powerplay of the night with five minutes remaining. The Backs had seven shots on goal, getting some great scoring chances down low but couldnt beat Hammond who looked good on the penalty kill. The Vipers would kill off the minor but come very close to being down 3-0. The Silverbacks were up 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 12-9. Give the Silverbacks defence credit, most of the Vipers nine shots were from way out, as the Backs defence were keeping the Vipers shooters to the outside.
2nd Period: The Silverbacks looked very good off the opening faceoff, getting the puck in deep and on the opening play Mark Zengerle had the puck on a string, weaving in and out dangling the puck in close, and then took a quick snap shot from the slot but Hammond was there for the save. The Backs carried the play in the early minute with some good chances. Just three minutes into the middle frame Vernon finally would get on the scoreboard, after some hard work down low from Sahir Gill and Vernon product Rob Short, who fed Bryce Kakoske who beat Gillis high cutting the lead to 2-1. This goal seemed to give the Vipers some life, Vernon finally sustained some solid play in the Silverbacks zone, moving the puck well but not getting many quality shots. Gillis was seeing everything with no traffic in front. Some good flow to the game as both teams would go back and forth but with very few scoring chances. Matt Walters dove in front of a Viper shot from the point, Walters with the big shot block, skated off in pain. Walters headed to the Silverbacks dressing room, but did return to the game minutes later. The Silverbacks had a great chance to go up 3-1 as Justin Cseter was left all alone at the side of the goal, with Hammond down and out, Cseter couldnt raise the puck as Hammond made the crease save with the paddle of his stick. Just before the midway mark after some nice passing by Salmon Arm, Ashford McMaster with a quick shot from the point, Andrew Hammond had to be quick to make the pad save, but couldnt control the rebound as the puck come out to a wide open Mark Zengerle who tapped in his second point of the night sliding the puck into an empty net as the Backs jumped ahead 3-1. The Silverbacks once again had way too many odd man rushes, as the Backs were looking for the long stretch pass all night. The Vipers were caught standing still on a few plays as the Backs were skating circles around the Vipers, as they were by far the more quicker and hungrier team. Salmon Arm had the edge in play, once again outskating and simply outworking the Vipers. Kevin Kraus took a shot off his foot, late in the period after a shot block down low. Kraus had troubles skating off, favoring his one foot. Kraus was trying to walk it off behind the Vipers bench, but managed to stay in the game. Salmon Arm was up 3-1 after 40 minutes of play. Shots were even 13-13.
3rd Period: The Silverbacks got off to a quick start, starting the 3rd on a powerplay, it took just over thirty seconds for the Backs to find the back of the net. Some nice passing down low as McMaster & Zengerle found veteran Travis Briard out front who beat Hammond as the Silverbacks went up 4-1. A few minutes later with Vernon on a powerplay the Vipers didnt waist anytime as Braden Pimm set up Kyle Bigos who wired a shot from the point wich beat Gillis high just seconds into the man advantage as Vernon cut the lead to 4-2. This goal seemed to give the Vipers life as they seemed to generate some much needed offence. Vernon started moving the puck quickly out from there own end, trying to get the play in deep. The Vipers had some chances but once again didnt get many quality shots. Vernons best scoring chance came when Cory Kane was in front all alone but fired wide. The Backs seemed to have let off the gas a little, sitting back playing more of a defensive style of game come the midway mark of the 3rd. Rob Short was tossed from tonights game after being called for checking from behind. Salmon Arm was really forcing the Vipers defence, coming at them with a strong attack forcing the Vipers to make that quick pass, from there own end. The Silverbacks did get the puck in deep, getting some shots but no real solid scoring chances. Vernon seemed to step up there game, and finally got there legs going, playing with some emotion in the second half of the final period. Vernon looked very good in the final seven to eight minutes, buzzing around the Backs goal, getting some chances in close. This was the Vipers best performance of the night, as they finally seemed to wake up. Steve Tresierra & Bobby Lipsett went into the boards as Tresierra went for the hit, Lipsett went down in pain, and was down on the ice as the play continued, the Silverbacks bench was screaming towards Tresierra for the check on Lipsett. Lipsett would finally crawl to the Backs bench, and head to the teams dressing room, before returning to the bench minutes later. Braden Pimm & Chris Crowell come in two on one late in the 3rd, Pimm made an unreal behind the back pass over to Crowell who beat Gillis glove side, as the Vipers were down 4-3 with just over three minutes remaining. Vernon poured on the presure, getting the puck in deep, really forcing the play down low. Both teams would call a timeout late in the game as Andrew Hammond would head to the Vernon bench for the extra attacker, Salmon Arm would win the draw, get the puck and feed Colin Lidster, Lidster skated up ice and with an empty goal missed on a shot from just passed center, this play just about cost the Backs as back come the Vipers, the puck would come out to the slot, where Kellen Jones took a quick shot but Bryan Gillis made the save of the game, just getting a peice of the puck with his glove. In the dying seconds Vernon would get a late powerplay with just 34 seconds remaining, Salmon Arm won all three draws in the final plays of the game as the Vipers couldnt set up a play, with just a few seconds remaining the puck come back to the point, where Kyle Bigos wired a lazer from the point, just missing the net as the buzzer went, the Backs bench poured onto the ice to celebrate there 11th straight win. At the final buzzer Kyle Bigoes gave Justin Cseter a slash to the leg, as Cseter tried to get back at Bigos but the linesmen got between the two players. The Silverbacks were overly pumped getting the win, as Mark Zengerle was banging his stick on the ice, in the teams celebration in the Backs zone. Zac Rasmussen was waiving his arms in the air at the Vernon crowd. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 15-4. The Silverbacks own the Vipers with a 4-1 record against there Okanagan rivals with a rematch tomorrow night in Salmon Arm.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Braden Pimm (2 assists) Pimm played well for most of tonights game.
Top Players: (Salmon Arm)
Bryan Gillis had a fairly easy 1st and 2nd period with most of the Viper shots coming from the outside. Gillis had to be ready in the 3rd and looked good. Gillis made a few nice quick glove saves in the final period, but come up with the save of the game late in the 3rd with a huge parcial glove save off Kellen Jones, from the slot.
Matt Walters got into some penalty trouble, but played fiesty, getting in the face of many Vipers. Walters played with alot of emotion, trying to get under the skin of any Vernon players. Come up with a huge blocked shot in the 2nd period.
Keenan Desmet (1 goal) looked good up front. This kid can skate and handle the puck well down low.
Ashford McMaster (2 assists) McMaster played a solid game at both ends of the rink. Really reads the play well, made a few nice plays to keep the puck in while on the powerplay.
Justin Cseter had a strong game for the Silverbacks. Had some good scoring chances but couldnt find the back of the net. This is the second straight game Cseter has played well against Vernon.
Bobby Lipsett (1 goal) Played well up front for the Backs. Lipsett scored a nice goal shorthanded. Always buzzing around the goal.
Zac Rasmussen was getting under the skin of many Vernon players. Didnt get many solid scoring chances, but played with that in your face style of game. Didnt shy away from the rough stuff, was always involved in the after the whistle activities.
Mark Zengerle (1 goal & 2 assists) Zengerle is a Viper killer, this kid seemes to always play strong against the Vipers. Very dangerous with the puck, showed that tonight. Has some soft hands, very good down low, likes to dangle. Very smooth skater.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
Its too bad Vernon didnt play the final seven-eight minutes for the whole game. The last three games now the Vipers seem to have troubles getting off to a good start against the Silverbacks. Vernon just cant seem to play a full 60 minutes against this team, other then the first two meetings. The Vipers looked flat for most of the night, no jump, no emotion, didnt have the legs going, and didnt play with that spark or aggresive forecheck they have been playing with the last 10-12 games. It wasnt until the final seven-eight minutes where Vernon stepped up there play, started skating and played very well. The Vipers were outworked and outskated for most of the night, very little contact, and played very soft. Salmon Arm played very aggresive, was hitting guys, getting the gloves up in faces after whistles, as where the Vipers just stood there, very soft tonight. Mark Ferner juggled his lines wich I wasnt much of a fan of, Im not sure why the team would mess with the lines when it has been playing its best hockey of the year. With the new lines, this wasnt the same Vipers team that had just one loss in its last 11 games. They didnt play with that aggresive forecheck, wich where they are very effective with. Vernon struggled on the powerplay, way too many passes, not enough shots. Lost most of the draws all game. Lost most of the battles and the races. Lets hope Vernon plays the final seven-eight minutes like they did tonight, for most of the game or if not the entire game tomorrow night. Vernon needs a better performance tomorrow night.
Game Thoughts: (Salmon Arm)
With the win, the Silverbacks move 7 pts up on Vernon for 1st in the Interior. Tonight was a big game and the Backs showed everyone tonight who was the better team. The Backs carried the better of the play for most of tonights game, Salmon Arm is a very well coached team, wich is very quick, moves the puck well, looks for the long stretch passes, and has a ton of firepower. The Backs worked hard, showed lots of hustle and seemed to be the more hungrier team. Salmon Arm seemed to want this game more, a very strong looking hockey club. This team had a ton of odd man rushes, really moves the puck well, some very nice passing. This team isnt afraid of the rough stuff, always involved in the after the whistle stuff, getting under the skin, trying to get guys off there game. A very well rounded, very focused looking team. Vernon is going to have to be ready for tomorrows game, any team that wins 11 games in a row, is going to be hard to stop.
1st Star: Mark Zengerle (1 goal & 2 assists)
2nd Star: Justin Cseter
3rd Star: Ashford McMaster