Was at tonights BCHL game as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 2-1 in double overtime in front of 2,994 fans at the Wesbild Centre.
1st Period: Vernon got an early powerplay but it was Salmon Arm who got the best scoring chance as, Keenan Desmet & Zac Rasmussen went in two on one, Desmet kept and shot as Andrew Hammond made the save. The Silverbacks penalty kill was superb killing off the minor, the Backs defenders blocked all shooting lanes, keeping the Vipers to the outside, limiting there shots and chances. A fast paced period with loads of action coming at both ends of the rink. Mark Zengerle was stopped by Hammond in close. Captain Chris Crowell had a good chance, cutting towards the goal but Bryan Gillis kicked out the puck, making a nice pad save from in close. Very few whistles with back and forth action, both teams getting some good chances at either ends of the rink. Salmon Arm had a great scoring chance on a bad pinch by the Vipers, but Kevin Kraus showed lots of hustle, getting back into the play, sliding to knock away the puck, breaking up a two on one. The Silverbacks would open the scoring with four minutes remaining in the 1st, Travis Statchuk skated down the wing and ripped a wicked wrist shot from the top of the circle, going under the crossbar, knocking the water bottle off the net putting the Backs up 1-0. The Vipers come very close to tying the hockey game, just two minutes later, Cody Ikkala took a shot from the blueline, the puck was tipped in front but went off the post. The Silverbacks would get a late powerplay towards the end of the period. A very entertaining 1st period as Salmon Arm was up 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers outshot the Silverbacks 12-7.
2nd Period: The Vipers penalty killers looked very solid, killing off the minor as both teams were back to even strength. Vernon had some trouble getting things going to start the 2nd as the Backs held the edge in play, getting some chances in close. Vernon would get two powerplay chances but couldnt generate much of an offensive attack, as the Backs penalty kill was solid. The Silverbacks would kill off both minors. The Vipers seemed a little tired in the 2nd period as the Silverbacks seemed to have a bit more jump in there game, getting the extra stride in play. Just past the midway mark the Vipers would go to sleep as the Silverbacks aggresive forecheck and cycle down low paid off getting some glorious chances in front. Andrew Hammond had to be very alert, making some huge saves keeping Vernon in the game. Travis Statchuk would come down the wing and wire a shot off the crossbar as Salmon Arm come very close to going up 2-0. Mark Zengerle basically had the puck on a string cutting in and out of a few Viper players, and then getting a great scoring chance in close. Salmon Arm had some good presure in the Vipers zone for a good seven to eight minutes coming close but couldnt beat Hammond. Vernon couldnt seem to generate much offence getting just a few chances. The Silverbacks carried the better of the play in the middle frame and were up 1-0 after 40 minutes of play. The Silverbacks outshot the Vipers 11-10.
3rd period: Connor Jones had the Vipers best scoring chance, going in on a parcial breakaway but couldnt beat Gillis. Vernon would get a great chance to tie the game on the powerplay but once again the Silverbacks penalty kill did a great job at keeping the Vipers to the outside, killing off the minor. Cory Kane snuck inbehind the Backs defence, going in on a parcial breakaway but rang his shot off the post, beating Gillis blocker side. Kevin Kraus would get a two on one, keeping the puck but was stopped by Gillis. Vernon looked very strong dominating the play for the whole 3rd period. The Silverbacks would get a great chance to jump ahead 2-0 but couldnt capitalize on the powerplay. Salmon Arm would get just three shots in the early stages of the period and then wouldnt record a shot on net for the remainder of the period. The Backs one and only great scoring chance came when the Vipers left Travis Statchuk all alone, Statchuk wired a shot coming down the wing, but rang his shot off the far post. The Vipers breakout looked much better tonight, making some nice plays coming out of there own end. Bryan Gillis was solid in the 3rd facing a ton of shots. Steve Tresierra would hit the post after a shot from the point wich just about got through the maze in front. The Vipers poured on all kinds of presure most of the 3rd but couldnt beat Gillis who stood tall. Gillis robbed Mike Collins in front with a huge glove save, Gillis was down and out but Collins couldnt beat the Backs goaltender. Vernon would get a late powerplay but yet once again couldnt capitalize. With 1:54 remaining Cory Kane would beat Gillis upstairs just barley getting the puck under the crossbar as the Vipers tied the game 1-1. Vernon kept up the presure getting all kinds of shots from in close coming very close to getting the win with seconds remaining. With a mad scramble in front Vernon come very close to winning the game with just ten seconds left, but Gillis come up with a huge save down low. The game was tied 1-1 after 60 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 16-3.
Overtime: Adam Thompson would break his skate blade and would not return for overtime. The Vipers had the best chance with a three on one but the puck would get tangled up in skates, breaking up a great scoring chance. Vernon had the early edge in play, getting two good chances but couldnt score. In the final two minutes the Backs come very close to winning the game, Mark Zenergle was stopped in front, after Hammond had to be sharpe making a tough save. Two goal mouth scrambles late just about sent Salmon Arm home with another victory over the Vipers but Hammond was solid down low, making the two tough saves with a ton of traffic down low. The game was tied 1-1 after 65 minutes of play. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 5-2.
Double Overtime: The Silverbacks had a glorious chance to end it as Just Cseter made a nice move at the blueline, getting inbehind the Vernon defence but Hammond come up with the save. On the next play and just 46 seconds into the extra period Mike Collins got Gillis moving, going for the wrap around, and then roofing his shot over Gillis's shoulder as the puck dropped inbehind the Backs goaltender as the Vipers bench would pour onto the ice as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 2-1 in double overtime.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Kevin Kraus (1 assist) Played a solid defensive game, along with jumping into the rush on a few ocations. Kraus looked very solid on the Vipers blueline.
Cory Kane (1 goal) Played a good game up front. Kane was skating hard tonight, had some nice moves, and creating some chances. Was hard to fight off the puck for most of the night.
Braden Pimm (1 assist) Pimm had lots of jump, getting involved in the play. Was really skating well tonight, setting up a few nice plays.
Adam Thompson played a solid defensive game on the backend. Thompson played with lots of poise, looking very confident back there.
Andrew Hammond stood tall for most of the night. Hammond kept the Vipers in the game during a barage of shots and chances in the 2nd period. Looked very confident, got some help from his posts, as the Backs hit one post and one crossbar.
Top Players: (Salmon Arm)
Keenan Desmet looked very dangerous for most of the night. Desmet was flying, had some good chances, really creative with the puck. Very shifty, was hard to get off the puck.
Ashford McMaster (1 assist) Played another defensice game for the Silverbacks for the 2nd straight night. McMaster come up with some huge shot blocks while on the penalty kill. Overall looked very solid all game.
Jason Beatie also played very well on the blueline. Beatie played physical, and was always in the face of many Vipers.
Mark Zengerle didnt record a point tonight but still looked very deadly with the puck. The Vipers need to have someone always on this kid, very creative with the puck, a very smooth skater, soft hands. Had some very good chances. I did notice Zengerle shy's away from the corners or anywhere along the boards. Dosnt like the rough stuff.
Travis Statchuk (1 goal) Hit one goal post, coming close to scoring his 2nd of the night. Another dangerous player the Vipers have to keep there eyes on. This kid played a excellent game up front for Salmon Arm. Very dangerous with the puck at all times.
Bryan Gillis (39 saves) Gillis didnt have to stand on his head in the first two periods, but was there to make the saves when needed too. Gillis really shon come the 3rd making some outstanding saves robbing many Vipers. Gillis looked very solid in the 3rd and was 1:54 away from recording a shutout but was beat by a tough shot. Kept the Backs in tonights game, especially come the 3rd period.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
This was by far the best performance the Vipers have showen in any of the eight meetings between these two teams. Vernon finally come to play vs Salmon Arm, something they have had troubles with for most of there previous meetings. Other then a few mental lapses in the 2nd period, I thought the Vipers looked and played very good tonight. Tonight was a full team effort. Vernons aggresive forecheck looked very dominate for most of the game, wearing down the Backs d-men, creating lots of chances down low. Connor & Kellen Jones took a beating tonight, for the 2nd straight night. Both Jones boys didnt have much room to move, as Salmon Arm played a very tight checking game against the Twins. The Vipers looked a little tired in the 2nd period but really stepped up there play in the 3rd, playing with more jump. The Vipers didnt quit, pouring on all kinds of presure come the final frame, a very entertaining game and especially 3rd period. The Vipers still need to play physical, something they lacked tonight, get in the faces of guys like Desmet, Zengerle, Statchuk, etc. There allowing these kids to much room to dangle out there. You cant allow such skilled kids that much room, or they will make you pay. Anyone know why Bryce Kakoske & Ryan Santana wern't playing tonight?
Game Thoughts: (Salmon Arm)
The Silverbacks were 1:54 away from sweeping the home and home series but couldnt hold on. The Silverbacks once again looked very good tonight, but didnt play a full 60 minutes. The Backs played very well for the first two periods but were outplayed all 3rd period, getting outshot 16-3. Even though getting outplayed in the 3rd this team still had some great chances to win tonights game in either of the two overtimes. I was very impressed with the Silverbacks penalty kill. They dont give you much room, limit your shots and chances. Salmon Arm didnt play as physical as last night, but still took the body. Salmon Arm really paid alot of attention to the Jones Twins, not giving them much room to move, laid out some good checks on both Jones Boys. This was a fairly matched game tonight with both teams having nemerous chances to win. A very well played game coming from both sides. Both teams would end up splitting this mini four game series winning two games each. After watching all four games, I have to say it's too much vs the same team. I like the home and home series but not much of a fan of the four game mini series in the regular season. I would much rather have seen this two home and home series split up, not having four games all back to back.
1st Star: Travis Statchuk (1 goal)
2nd Star: Kevin Kraus (1 assist)
3rd Star: Keenan Desmet