Was at tonights BCHL game as Vernon defeated Penticton 5-4 in front of 2,201 fans at the Wesbild Center.
1st Period: Just 6 seconds off the opening faceoff, Braden Pimm & Vees Captain Denver Manderson dropped the gloves. Penticton got the early jump, getting the puck in deep, controlling the play deep in the Vernon zone with some good cycle and puck movement, but couldnt manage any scoring chances. The Vees got an early powerplay just a few minutes into the 1st but the Vipers did a great job on the penalty kill, killing off the minor, not giving up a single shot. Shots were 2-1 Vernon in the early few minutes and then neither team would record a shot on net for the next 5-6 minutes. The Vees carried the better of the play with a good breakout along with quick skating and good hustle, on the other side, the Vipers didnt seem to have there legs going, couldnt connect a pass, and seemed to be a step behind the Vees for most of the period. Vernon did get the first good scoring chance when Cole Ikkala and Rob Short went in two on one, Ikkala made a nice pass over to Short, who was robbed by the glove of Sean Bonar. The Vees would get another chance on the powerplay but couldnt find the back of the net. Just before the midway mark Steven Weinstein & Kevin Kraus laid off the gas, and allowed Logan Johnston to get by the two d-men, going in on the parcial breakaway, beating Andrew Hammond putting Penticton up 1-0. Vernon couldnt seem to get much going as both teams didnt have many real great scoring chances. Late in the period with the teams playing four on four and 3:40 remaining, Cory Kane & Rob Short with some nice passing, set up a wide open Kevin Kraus who scored his first goal of the season, beating a down and out Bonar tying the game 1-1, with it being teddy bear toss tonight, there was a minor delay to clean up all the teddy bears on the ice. Just over a minute after the Vipers tied the game, Penticton would re-take the lead on the powerplay, Derik Johnson fed Zac Josepher at the top of the circle who wristed a shot past Hammond as the Vees took a late 2-1 lead. Penticton was up 2-1 after 20 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Penticton 9-5.
2nd Period: The Vees got the puck in deep off the draw, showing alot of jump to start the middle frame. With some strong forecheck and good hustle down low the Vees would jump ahead two goals early Garrett Milan beat Hammond down low, in close on a rebound as Penticton went up 3-1 and in control. The Vipers were caught standing around on the play, watching the Vees skate circles around them. Vernon seemed to finally get control of the play and get some play in the Vees zone. Mike Collins had a great scoring chance in the slot but hit the post. Vipers with some good puck movement down low, were buzzing around the Vees net, get some chances in close. Vernon would pull to within one goal after Sahir Gill through the puck out front, the pass was intended for Kellen Jones but Zac Josepher tipped the puck into his own goal, wich beat Bonar making it 3-2 Penticton. Jones was rewarded with the goal. Some good energy and physical play seemed to turn the tables a little as the Vipers seemed to have some life, and now were the ones carrying the play. The Vipers didnt quit there, just shortly after the Vees killed off a Vipers powerplay, Chris Crowell & Mike Collins fed Braden Pimm who tied the game 3-3. Pimm showed alot of hustle and determination on the play, to score the game tying goal. After being down two goals, Vernon battled back playing there best hockey of the night. Penticton didnt back down, the Vees turned the game around minutes later and once again got back control of the play. Kevin Kraus lost an edge at the Vipers blueline, & Brodie Reid (unassisted)scooped up the loose puck, skating in over the line and then wristing a shot from the circle wich beat Hammond, as the Vees re-gained the lead, going up 4-3. Hammond looked average tonight, Two of the four Vees goals were shot from the circle. Hammond was also having trouble with his rebound control, letting out some big rebounds in the 2nd period. Penticton scored four goals on just nine shots. The Vipers were having alot of trouble breaking out of there own end all night, along with there passing game. Some very poor passes all game. Penticton looked like they wanted this one just a little more, seemed to have that extra jump in there game tonight. Won alot of the draws, & come out of the corners with the puck more. At the buzzer some pushing and shoving took place in the Vipers zone. Penticton was up 4-3 after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers outshot the Vees 13-7.
3rd Period: Both teams started the 3rd four on four after minors were handed out after the results of the pushing and shoving at the end of the 2nd period. The Vipers would once again tie the game 4-4 just over three minutes into the period on a funny bounce. Kevin Kraus made an unreal move after stepping over the Vees blueline, Kraus then made a nice pass over to John Digness who wired a shot from the slot, the puck went off the post, come back out going off the back of Bonar and into the net. A very tight checking game with very little room to move out there, both teams didnt have many great scoring chances nor get as many shots on goal. Chris Crowell had a chance in close but was stopped by Bonar. Vernons shots seemed to be coming from the outside for most of the period. Penticton looked very good on the breakout, getting some chances in close. Cory Kane & John Digness went in two on one, Kane decided to keep the puck and shoot in close but wired his wrist shot high and two feet wide. Vernon couldnt seem to generate much of an offensive attack as the Vees were really clogging up the neutral zone, not giving the Vipers any room to breakout. Cody Ikkala & Curtis McKenzie decided to drop the gloves after Connor Jones went head over heels in front of the Vees bench with an unreal hit laid out by a Penticton player. Ikkala must have not liked the hit and went straight after McKenzie. After both teams had very few chances, with just under five minutes remaining a scramble took place in the Penticton crease, with both teams fighting for the loose puck, Rob Short come out on top with the puck, just sneeking the puck past and through Bonars pads, giving the Vipers the 5-4 lead and there first lead of the game. The final four and a half minutes was very tense as Penticton stepped up the play, pouring it on, going for the tying goal. The Vees were flying, getting the puck in deep and then looking for the play out front. Vernon did a good job at clearing the zone and getting the puck out and into the neutral zone, killing more valuable time off the clock. With just over a minute remaining, Sean Bonar would head to the bench for the extra attacker. Penticton got the puck in deep and had a great chance in close, the puck was fed out front, Hammond was down, the Vees had a wide open net but Steve Tresierra got to the loose puck, clearing the zone, saving the Vipers from a very close call. The Vees couldnt pull the trigger in the final few seconds as the Vipers got the puck in deep as the clock winded down, giving Vernon the 5-4 win and there seventh straight win. The Vipers are now 4-0 against the Vees this season.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Kevin Kraus (1 goal & 1 assist) Played an excellent game on the Vipers backend. Kraus played well at both ends of the rink, joining the rush on many occasions.
Cody Ikkala played a solid game on the Vipers blueline. Ikkala was solid all night.
Sahir Gill (2 assists) Had a good 1st period, showing lots of jump. Had his wheels going, skating well.
Cole Ikkala (1 assist) Played with an edge, has played well as of late. Very fiesty tonight.
Mike Collins (1 assist) Looked very good up front. Collins hit the post once, had some nice moves in close, seemed to be at the right place and the right time.
Connor Jones (1 assist) & Kellen Jones (1 goal) Both Jones twins played well down low, cycled the puck, creating all kinds of chances. Both brothers played physical, taking the body all game. Kellen laid out a huge hit in the 1st on Vees Matt Paltridge.
Rob Short (1 goal & 1 assist) Played with alot of energy and hustle. Short has really stepped up his game this past month. Short was robbed by the glove of Bonar on a two on one play early in the first period.
Top Players: (Penticton)
The line of Curtis McKenzie (1 assist) Brodie Reid (1 goal) & Denver Manderson was Pentictons best line. This line saw a ton of icetime and played most of the 3rd, Fred Harbinson was double shifting this line alot tonight. McKenzie looked very good up front. Reid is a very smooth skater with good puck skills down low. Was by far the Vees best player. Manderson was involved in the early fight, played physical, won alot of draws.
Garrett Milan (1 goal) This kid is one of the smaller kids in the league but was buzzing all game. Smmoth skater, always around the net, had some chances.
Matt Paltridge played a solid game on the Vees backend. Another player who saw alot of icetime.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
Off the opening faceoff, the Vipers didnt seem to have that jump they usally have. Seemed to be a little slow at times, almost one step behind the Vees for most of the night. Vernons passing was very poor, this resulting in a poor breakout. The defence made some poor decisions, causing a few turnovers in there own end. Kraus & Weinstein should have never allowed Johnston to get by them and score the first goal of the game. Vipers seemed to lose alot of draws and the one on one battles. I didnt think the Vipers looked or played all that well tonight, but give them credit they battled back down 3-1 and 4-3 and come out with a very lucky 5-4 win. A very tight checking game, not many great scoring chances at times. I think the Vipers were missing Ryan Santanas hustle and hard work. Santana adds alot to the Vernon roster. Vipers now on there longest winning streak of the year, at 7 games.
Game Thoughts: (Penticton)
Penticton played and looked much better tonight over the last three meetings I have seen them in. The Vees played with some good jump, showed alot of hustle, had some good chances in close. The Vees moved the puck well tonight, were deadly around the net, but couldnt hold on to a lead. This team is quick up front. Harbinson played three lines for most of the game, was double shifting the line of Reid, Manderson and McKenzie alot tonight, played most of the 3rd period. Vees are very good on the facoffs, won most of the draws tonight. I didnt think Andrew Hammond looked all that great tonight, I was surprised you didnt see the Vees fire more long shots towards Hammond, or tried getting in his face.
1st Star: Sahir Gill (2 assists)
2nd Star: Brodie Reid (1 goal)
3rd Star: Connor Jones (1 assist)