Was at tonight's BCHL game as Salmon Arm defeated Vernon 7-3 in front of 1,650 fans at the Sunwave Center.
1st Period: Off the opening draw the Backs got the puck in the Vernon zone, and with a screened shot from the point wich just missed the net as Salmon Arm come very close to scoring just seconds into the game. On the next rush, Kellen Jones with a parcial brekaway in close, but lost the puck and couldnt get a shot off. Colin Lidster come very close to putting the Silverbacks up 1-0 early on a funny bounce in front of former Silverback Graeme Gordon. The Vipers would get an early powerplay but couldnt get a shot on net, as Salmon Arm's penalty kill was super doing a great job at challenging the Vipers, forcing them to make the quick pass or lose the puck. The Backs would kill off the minor. Alot of whistles in the early goings with the puck going out of play on several ocations stopping the play. The play would eventually pick up with both teams going back and forth but it was Salmon Arm who was up in shots 4-0. Vernon would record there first shot on net almost nine minutes into the period. Connor & Kellen Jones didnt have much room to move tonight, after getting six pts between the twins in the last meeting, both Jones brothers took a pounding in the 1st, as the Backs played a physical period. The Vipers would finally get control of the play and record five straight shots, including Mike Collins shot wich beat Bryan Gillis high to the gloveside with just over eight minutes remaining, putting the Vipers up 1-0. Braden Pimm won the draw, feeding Captain Chris Crowell who then fed a wide open Collins in the slot. The roof would then cave in on the Vipers as the Silverbacks would score four goals within the next four or so minutes. Off the faceoff after the Vernon goal, a turnover just outside the Vernon zone costed the Vipers as some nice three way passing from Keenen Desmet, Mark Zengerle & Greg Noyes, as Desmest would find the back of the net, beating Gordon tying the game 1-1 within a minute after the Vipers goal. Off the faceoff and seconds later Salmon Arm would get the play in deep, a shot would hit someone in front, as Gordon went down the puck went straight up in the air, and would bounce at the side of the Vernon net, where Travis Statchuk was all alone, sliding the puck into the empty net. David Killip & Colin Lidster would get the assists, as the Silverbacks went up 2-1 scoring two quick goals just seconds apart. On the play the Backs were rewarded with a powerplay, and it didnt take long for them to take advantage. Ashford McMaster fed Mark Zengerle who beat Gordon as Salmon Arm jumped ahead 3-1. Shortly after the Silverbacks would strike again, Travis Statchuk fed Captain Matt Walters who beat Gordon with a soft one shortside, as Salmon Arm was up 4-1 and in full control. Vernon would call a timeout to try and rally the troops but it didnt seem to help as the final minutes of the 1st was all Silverbacks, Salmon Arm was in full control moving the puck well, getting some chances in close. Steve Tresierra would get caught on a bad pinch, as Mark Zengerle, Travis Brisard and Keenan Desmet would cut in across the Vernon line three on one, Zengerle would keep and shoot the puck, but Gordon come up with the save. Salmon Arm was up 4-1 after 20 minutes of play. The Silverbacks outshot the Vipers 10-9.
2nd Period: John Digness had the Vipers best scoring chance early, cutting down the wing, and then hitting the crossbar as the puck went into the crowd. Salmon Arm would get an early powerplay but it was Vernon who did an excellent job on the penalty kill, the Vipers would get control of the puck and create some chances while on the penalty kill. James Kerr picked up the loose puck and would come down the wing, and snap a low shot fivehole on Gillis as Vernon was back in the game, but still down 4-2 just five minutes into the middle frame. Vernon couldnt hold the fort as just over a minute later Salmon Arm would regain the three goal lead as another turnover would cost the Vipers. Kevin Kraus with a poor clearing attempt, couldnt get the puck out, as Colin Lidster and Jason Beatie set up David Killip as the Backs went up 5-2. Just over a minute later Cody Ikkala made a nice pass up ice to Kellen Jones, Jones would sneak in behind the Backs defence, cutting towards the net, when Jones was hit into Gillis, sending Jones and Gillis to the ice, the puck would come back out front, where Sahir Gill was there to tap the puck into the empty net, as the Vipers were back in the game down 5-3. Salmon Arm's physical play was very noticable as once again Kellen Jones took a huge hit in the nuetral zone, Kellen was caught a few times with his head down. Matt Walters laid out a big hit on Sahir Gill in front of the Vipers bench, Adam Thompson didnt seem to like the check, as Thompson jumped in and would drop his gloves with Lidster, who didnt drop his mits. Vernon and Thompson were lucky as Thompson was called for roughing and not fighting on the play. Shortly after the rough stuff would continue as Kyle Bigos and Mike Puddifant started pushing and shoving in the Vernon zone, both players dropped the gloves, when Matt Wray would come into the scrum and get involved in the altercation. Tempers started to heat up with both teams not liking one another. The Vipers were struggling getting shots towards the goal, but at this point scored both goals on there only two shots of the period. Vernon would get a four minute powerplay in the second half of the period but couldnt capitalize having all kinds of trouble keeping the play in the Silverbacks zone, the Vipers couldnt generate any kind of an offencesive attack going, as Salmon Arm would kill off the double minor. The Silverbacks had a great chance with a late powerplay, Matt Walters wired a screened shot from the point, but somehow Gordon kicked out the left leg with a nice save and then Travis Briard was stopped in the slot as Gordon come up with another big pad save. The Silverbacks were up 5-3 after 40 minutes of play. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 13-7.
3rd Period: The Vipers would get an early powerplay but this time it was the Silverbacks who would take advantage of some careless passing by the Vipers. Vernon couldnt seem to break out of there own end and after a bad turnover Graeme Gordon come way out of his crease to pokecheck the puck, but Gordon wasnt so lucky, Gordon wasnt even close to the puck as Travis Briard would steal the loose puck and slide it into the empty goal putting Salmon Arm up 6-3 just three minutes into the 3rd. This was the end of the night for Vernon as Salmon Arm carried most of the play for the remainder of the game. The Vipers couldnt stay away from the penalty box as the Silverbacks would get powerplay after powerplay, but couldnt find the back of the net, give the Vipers credit as they looked very good on the penalty kill. Zac Rasmussen and Bryce Kakoske would decide to the drop the gloves after Cory Kane was sent off four minutes for highsticking. Vernon would excape anymore damage, by killing off Kane's penalty. Shortly after Rob Short left the game after being called for checking to the head and also getting a ten minute misconduct, this was the end of the night for Short. Late in the game Kevin Kraus dropped the gloves with Colin Lidster. This was a rough 3rd with a parade to the penalty box for the Vipers, as the Silverbacks played most of the period on the powerplay. In the final few minutes Matt Wray tried dropping the gloves with Kyle Bigos, but Bigos didnt want any part of Wray, skating away. Captain Chris Crowell then tried getting Wray to drop the mits, Wray skated away, as Crowell followed him, beaking away at the Backs tough guy. Crowell then laid a hit on Wray, still trying to get Wray to drop the gloves but Wray skated away. The Vipers were down two men for most of the final few minutes but the Backs couldnt get the powerplay clicking. Cody Ikkala was tossed from the game with seconds remaining and with a two man advantage Salmon Arm would finally find the back of the net as Christoper Hoe & Jason Beatie set up Ashford McMaster. Alot of pushing and shoving after the whistles and during the play in the final minutes of the 3rd, alot of physical and rough stuff going on. Salmon Arm come very close to adding a late goal while on the powerplay, but the buzzer had gone before the pucked crossed the line. The Silverbacks would defeat the Vipers 7-3 moving 5 pts up on Vernon in the race for first place in the Interior. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 9-5.
Top Players: (Vernon)
James Kerr (1 goal) Showed lots of energy for most of the night. Kerr had a few chances playing with some good jump.
Top Players: (Salmon Arm)
Matt Walters (1 goal) Played a solid game on the Backs blueline. Walters played a physical game, and looked good with the puck while on the powerplay.
Keenan Desmet (1 goal) This kid is very dangerous with the puck at all times. A very slick skater who reads the play well, likes to set up Mark Zengerle.
Ashford McMaster (1 goal & 1 assist) Played another strong game against the Vipers. McMaster looked veryy good on the backend. Seems to play well against Vernon.
Christoper Hoe (1 assist) Had some good energy, had a few chances in close. Seemed to be always involved in the play.
Jason Beatie (2 assists) Another d-man who played well. Made a few nice setup plays on the two goals.
David Killip (1 goal & 1 assist) Looked very strong up front for the Backs.
Zac Rasmussen once again played with that edge, was in the face of many Vipers for most of the night. This kid plays fiesty and dosnt back down from the rough stuff.
Mark Zengerle (1 goal & 1 assist) who now has 16 pts against Vernon this season, is a Viper killer. This kid is very dangerous and nice to watch. Zengerle stays away from the corners and in front, but really reads the ice well.
Travis Statchuk (1 goal & 1 assist) Made his return to the Silverbacks lineup tonight, and didnt dissapoint. Statchuk has some wheels and looked very strong up front. Another very dangerous player Vernon has to watch.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
The Vipers got off to a good start, getting the 1-0 lead but then fell apart within a span of about three or four minutes, as Salmon Arm would score four quick goals and never looked back. Anytime Vernon would score to get back within two goals, the Backs seemed to score just minutes later, to regain the three goal lead. This wasnt a good night for Vernon, a few bad turnover's in there own end, cost them two goals. The Vipers just couldnt seem to get much of anything going for most of the night, had troubles getting shots on net, creating chances down low and didnt play with that aggresive forecheck. The Vipers stayed away from the physical battle for most of the night, getting outhit and outplayed for most of the night. The Vipers looked tired at times through out tonights game. Struggled on the powerplay but on a bright side, looked very good on the penalty kill. Vernon need's to be more aggresive, play with an edge, get in the face of guys, and need to keep an eye on Zengerle, Desmet and Statchuk. These three kids will make you pay anychance they can. The Vipers need to get physical against these three. Too many mistakes and penalties isnt going to win you hockey games. The Vipers need a much better performance tomorrow night.
Game Thoughts: (Salmon Arm)
Four quick goals just three-four minutes apart set the pace as Salmon Arm looked very strong for most of the night. The Silverbacks are a very strong club who have a very well coached team. You need to play a full 60 minutes if you expect to defeat this team. They move the puck quickly, with some nice passing plays. Give the Backs defence credit, they did a great job at keeping the Vipers to the outside, limiting there shots along with scoring chances. This was by far the most physical play I have seen from the Silverbacks, laid some big hits on the Jones twins, not giving them much room to move. This score could have been alot worse if the Backs powerplay was clicking. Salmon Arm looked hungry and looked like they wanted this one more, a much deserved win.
1st Star: Travis Statchuck (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Matt Walters (1 goal)
3rd Star: David Killip (1 goal & 1 assist)