Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snakes Snap SilverBacks’ Streak:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Snakes snap SilverBacks’ streak

Published: December 23, 2008 7:00 PM

The Vernon Vipers have made a habit of keeping pace with the Salmon Arm SilverBacks.
They did it again Saturday night at the Sunwave Centre, grounding the Gorillas 6-4 to split the first half of a four-game B.C. Hockey League miniseries.
The Snakes (26-9-1-2) bowed 4-3 to the Backs Friday at Wesbild Centre before rebounding on a 2+1 performance from Bryce Kakoske to snap Salmon Arm’s 11-game win streak.
The series continues Monday at Sunwave, and wraps up Tuesday at Wesbild.
Same as Friday, Salmon Arm (28-8-1-1) grabbed an early lead on goals by Mark Zengerle (24th goal) and Keenan Desmet (20th) at Sunwave.
“I was a little worried after the first 10 (minutes) because we were just standing around,” said Kakoske, a Vernon product. “But it turned around after that and we didn’t let up. The guys realized what was at stake, and they anted up.
“We knew coming in it wasn’t going to be an easy series, but we know we’ve got as much talent over here as they do.”
Less than two minutes into the second frame, the Vipers’ Sahir Gill (sixth) broke in on netminder Bryan Gillis (22 saves), snapping a low shot, five-hole.
At 3:46, Kakoske (ninth) skated in 3-on-1, opted to keep it, ripping one short side on Gillis.
Kakoske’s 10th came at 8:48 on the powerplay when third star Kellen Jones found him alone on the backdoor for a one-timer.
“Over the intermission, we went to the room and were able to regroup,” said Vipers’ head coach Mark Ferner. “We just had to stick to the game-plan, and over the next two periods we held them to 13 shots.
“It’s a grind – they’re a hard team to play against and we just played through it.”
Ferner was pleased with how his team responded to the SilverBacks’ physical brand of play before 1,600 fans.
“Being a tough player doesn’t always mean dropping the gloves,” said Ferner. “To me, being a tough player means going into those areas where you know you’re going to take a hit to make the play.”
A pair of fights erupted at 8:12 as the Vipers’ Kyle Bigos took on Jason Beattie, while Vernon’s Steve Tressiera and Bobby Lipsett also danced. Tresierra was sticking up for Jones, who took a high stick from Lipsett earlier in the shift.
Ashford McMaster (ninth) of the SilverBacks completed the second-period scoring.
Salmon Arm head coach Rylan Ferster also knew it was going to be an intense series.
“We’ve played two games and solved nothing,” chuckled Ferster.
“You want to win every game, but you’ve also got to be realistic. From the start of the season, I figured they (Vernon) were going to be a good team, and they haven’t disappointed. They’ve certainly lived up to their expectations.
“It’s (series) not something you can base your whole season on, but it’s a good benchmark.”
One of the linesmen should have earned an assist on Cory Kane’s 15th goal. Midway through the third, Kane one-timed a faceoff to catch Gillis flat-footed, going five-hole.
Goals by second star Connor Jones, on the powerplay, and an empty-netter from Mike Collins, iced the game for Vernon.
On Connor’s goal, Kakoske dove to keep the puck in at the blueline, and with several Gorilla defenders leaving the zone, he found Kellen, who set up Connor for a one-timer in the slot.
Salmon Arm’s Zac Rasmussen (seventh) scored a consolation goal with a second left.
The Snakes’ Kevin Kraus and Backs’ Mike Puddifant capped the game with a scrap at the buzzer.
Both coaches agree the second half of this series will be just as heated.
“It should be that much more exciting for the fans in these next two games,” said Ferner.
Added Ferster. “It’s good for the teams, and it’s good for the communities.”

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