Was at tonights BCHL game as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 6-4 in front of 1,592 fans at the Sunwave Center.
1st Period: The Backs got off to a quick start, winning the draw and then just 27seconds into the opening period feeding Mark Zengerle who went in for the breakaway, but was stopped by former Silverback & Centennial Graeme Gordon, who kicked out his right pad for the big save. On the play Adam Thompson was given a minor for hooking Zengerle. Salmon Arm sustained some good presure deep in the Vipers zone, getting some good shots off from the point, but most of there shots missed the net. The Silverbacks had troubles hitting the net and couldnt take advantage of an early powerplay as Vernon killed off the minor. The Backs had the early jump, having the edge in play as Salmon Arm was up early in shots 5-1. The Vipers couldnt generate any offence having all kinds of troubles breaking out of there own end. Just over five minutes into the 1st the Silverbacks got on the board first, a bad line change by the Vernon defence, allowed Bobby Lipsett to break in two on one with Mark Zengerle with Mike Collins the lone man back, Lipsett snapped a quick shot from the circle, Gordon made the save but couldnt handle the rebound, as Zenergle was there to tap the puck into the empty net as Salmon Arm went up 1-0. It was teddy bear toss in Salmon Arm tonight, as the stuffed bears hit the ice, the Vipers headed back into the dressing room, while the minor delay took place to clean up all the stuffed animals off the ice. Just over four minutes later on another powerplay Matt Grassi & Ashford McMaster moved the puck back and forth before setting up Keenan Desmet who beat Gordon and the Backs were up 2-0 and in full control of the play. Vernon got off to a bad start, and with seven minutes remaining, the Vipers only had one shot on net. Zac Rasmussen bursted down the wing, and snapped a quick shot low from the circle wich beat Graeme but hit the post. Late in the period with five minutes left, the Vipers would get a great chance to get back into the game with a two man advantage powerplay, but like last night Vernon struggled on the man advantage, recording just two shots on goal, as the Silverbacks would kill off the two man advantage. Vernon did get control of the play late in the final few minutes of the 1st, getting some play deep in the Backs zone, but didnt generate any real great scoring chances. Salmon Arm carried the better of the play and was by far the better team, up 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Silverbacks outshot the Vipers 12-7.
2nd Period: Off the opening draw the Vipers got the play in deep, and come out hitting, Cory Kane led the way, starting off the 2nd with three big hits behind the Silverbacks goal, this causing a turnover. Vernon moved the puck well down low, generating some offence and just under two minutes into the middle frame, Kellen Jones setup Sahir Gill who beat Bryan Gillis with a soft goal, as the Vipers cut the lead to 2-1. Two minutes later the Vipers got the play in deep and really forechecked the Backs defence, Vernon was really forcing the play, with an aggresive forecheck. Braden Pimm setup Vernon product Bryce Kakoske who roofed a high shot over Gillis as the game was tied 2-2. The Vipers looked like a different team to start the 2nd having all kinds of jump, playing physical and now were skating, showing all kinds of speed. Vernon kept up the physical play, and strong forecheck down low, really dominating the play in the Backs zone. Salmon Arm's defence were being beat down low to the puck and along the wall, where the Vipers really controlled the play for most of the 2nd period. Just before the midway mark, Steve Tresierra & Bobby Lipsett collided in the corner, Tresierra dropped the gloves with Lipsett. On the same play Jason Beatie slashed Kyle Bigos, as Bigos and Beatie decided to drop the mits. Both Beatie and Bigos were tossed from the game. Vernon was rewarded a powerplay after the two fights, and on the powerplay the Vipers didnt waist much time. Some nice passing down low by Connor & Kellen Jones setup Bryce Kakoske for his 2nd goal of the game putting Vernon ahead 3-2 as the Vipers scored three straight goals. Some good action at both ends of the rink followed the Vernon goal, as both teams went back & forth. Zac Rasmussen went in for a breakaway as the Vipers defence got caught offguard, Rasmussen went in for the breakaway but Adam Thompson hustled back into the play, just getting his stick in the way for a quick second as Rasmussen was stopped by Gordon, Rasmussen went crashing into Gordon and both went into the back of the goal, but the puck stayed out. Some good end to end action but with very little scoring chances as both teams were playing a tight checking game. With 1:17 remaining Travis Briard setup Ashford McMaster at the point, where he wired a blast from the point, wich beat a screened Gordon and somehow found the back of the net. Gordon complained to the ref on the play, about goaltender interference but the goal stood. Salmon Arm tied the game 3-3 late in the 2nd. Vernon would get a late powerplay wich would continue into the 3rd. It would stay tied after 40 minutes of play. Vernon outplayed and carried most of the play as the Vipers outshot the Silverbacks 10-7.
3rd Period: The Vipers started the final period with a powerplay wich was left over from the end of the 2nd period. Salmon Arm did a great job on the penalty kill and would kill off the minor. The Silverbacks got off to the quick start after the penalty kill, as the Backs were going for the long stretch pass. Zengerle, Desmet and Cseter were all floating in the neutral zone, looking for the long stretch pass. Salmon Arm had good control of the play in the early goings, having the edge in play for the first five to six minutes, coming close to taking the lead. Gordon had to be sharpe coming up with some quick saves down low. Christoper Hoe had a great chance, going in for the breakaway, but couldnt get off a clear shot, as Gordon made the save. Vernons defence played well for most of the night, and looked very good come the 3rd keeping the shooters to the outside, tying up sticks, blocking shots. Vernon managed to keep the Backs off the scoreboard and just before the midway mark Cory Kane scored a quick soft goal off the faceoff, deep in the Salmon Arm zone. Kane shot the puck off the draw, wich beat Gillis fivehole. The Vipers jumped ahead 4-3 with just over ten minutes remaining in the game. The Vipers were now dropping three guys back, and trying to hit center and get the puck in deep, trying to wind down the clock. The Silverbacks really moving the puck well, had some good chances but couldnt beat Gordon. The Backs put some good presure on the Vipers but couldnt get the tying goal. Captain Matt Walters was robbed by Gordon on a great scoring chance. Vernons defence come up huge at times, lifting a stick at the last minute, or making the extra effort to beat the player to the puck. The Silverbacks with some good presure, took a very undisplined penalty with five minutes remaining. McMaster would cost his team a chance at tying the game, with the Vipers on the powerplay, Bryce Kakoske made an unreal diving play to keep the puck in at the line, Kakoske then gathered up the puck, fed Kellen Jones down low, who fed a wide open Connor Jones in front who roofed his shot over Gillis's glove as Vernon got the insurance goal they needed going up 5-3 with 3:58 remaining. Salmon Arm poured on the presure late in the game, as Gillis went to the Backs bench with 1:49 left. Travis Briard had a glorious scoring chance, Briard was left all alone at the side of the goal, but was stoned by Gordon who slid across the crease to make the huge pad save, keeping the score 5-3 and shortly after Mike Collins picked up the puck, and then fired it into the empty goal putting Vernon up 6-3 with under a minute remaining. With time winding down, Zac Rasmussen put a nice move around Kevin kraus, cutting towards the Vernon net, and then beat Gordon who was down and out, sliding the puck under Gordon and into the goal. The buzzer had gone off before the red light, but the 4th Salmon Arm goal stood, on the play, Mike Puddifant pushed Kevin Kraus, some pushing and shoving took place and then Puddifant dropped the gloves with Kraus inbehind the Vernon net. As the Backs were skating off the ice, Matt Wray was beaking with Chris Crowell at center ice. The final buzzer had already sounded as the Vipers snapped the Silverbacks 11 game winning streak defeating Salmon Arm 6-4. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 10-7.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Kellen Jones (3 assists) Come to play tonight, Kellen was all over the ice, buzzing around the Backs goal. Jones looked very good in and around the Salmon Arm net, creating all kinds of chances down low. Kellen was being tied up or held up all night, but battled his way through it.
Connor Jones (1 goal & 2 assists) Played a heck of a game. Connor just like Kellen looked very good down low, splayed with alot of jump, really looked good with the puck down low. Hard to fight off the puck. Had guys all over him all night.
Bryce Kakoske (2 goals & 1 assist) Bryce played one if not his best game as a Viper. Scored two nice goals, and made the play of the night, making a 3rd baseman like dive to keep the puck in at the line, on the powerplay, wich resulted in the Vipers 5th goal. Played with alot of hustle and determination all night. Made two big defensive plays as well. Played very well at both ends of the rink. Former Viper & Bryce's older brother Ryan Kakoske was at tonights game.
Cory Kane (1 goal) Really stepped up his play come the 2nd period. Kane started off with three big hits early in the middle period wich seemed to get Vernon going. Kane was hard to get off the puck all game. Had some nice moves in close.
Adam Thompson (1 assist) Thompson played a very solid defensive game for the Vipers. Thompson broke up a few big plays in his own end, made a few nice moves with the puck offensivly. Showed alot of hustle and determination all game, come back into the play, twice to break up two Backs scoring chances. A solid defensive game.
Graeme Gordon (27 saves) Gordon is now 9-0 as a Viper since coming over from Merritt in a trade. Gordon looked very confident between the pipes, playing one of his former teams for the first time as a Viper. Really controls his rebounds and is solid down low.
Top Players: (Salmon Arm)
Mark Zengerle (1 goal & 1 assist) Looked very deadly in the first period but wasnt very noticeble in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Vernon really has to keep an eye on Mark, a very skilled player, who can change the game on a single shift.
Ashford McMaster (1 goal & 1 assist) Played well for Salmon Arm. Took a very undisaplined penalty late in the game wich cost his team a chance at tying up the hockey game.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
Vernon didnt get off to a good start, not the start they were looking for. Giving up a breakaway to Zengerle just 27 seconds in, and then having to kill off an early powerplay didnt help. The Vipers looked flat to start the game for the second straight night. Vipers couldnt seem to generate any kind of an offensive attack, getting just one shot on net in the first 13 minutes. A much better performance and effort come the 2nd and 3rd periods. Vernon looked very good in the final two periods, finally playing with some emotion and intensity. A very physical 2nd period with some solid defensive play. Give the Vipers credit, they played a poor opening period but battled back down 2-0 scoring three straight goals. I was very impressed with the teams hustle and extra effort tonight, overall a much better performance. Vipers did much better on the draw, winning a fair amount. Vernons defence really stepped up there defensive play, compared to last night, where they allowed the Silverbacks to dangle in the Vipers zone for most of the night. Vernons defence played a tight checking game, not giving the Backs much room to move or setup. With the win, Vernon moves back to within three pts of the Silverbacks for 1st in the Interior. This was just the 2nd win against Salmon Arm after lossing the last four meetings.
Game Thoughts: (Salmon Arm)
Salmon Arm looked very good in the opening period, just as good as they looked and played last night in Vernon. Got off to quick start, scoring two goals in the first half and really dominating the play. Not sure what happened between periods but this was a different Silverbacks club, lost most of the battles, coughed up the puck a few times in there own end. Took a few undisaplined penalties. Once the Vipers started hitting and playing physical, seemed to get Salmon Arm off there game a little. Last night & tonight the Silverbacks were going for the long stretch pass up ice, as the game went on, the Vipers were aware of it and dropped back a third man. Not scoring on three breakaways dosnt help either. Salmon Arm had some chances but didnt have alot of room to move the puck and create chances like last night up in Vernon, the Vipers played a much more tight checking game, not giving the Backs as much open space like last nights game. Bryan Gillis looked a little shaky at times, giving up two soft goals.
1st Star: Bryce Kakoske (2 goals & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Connor Jones (1 goal & 2 assists)
3rd Star: Kellen Jones (3 assists)