I was at tonights Game 2 as Quesnel defeated Vernon 4-2 in front of 1,637 fans at the Wesbild Centre.
Vernon: Graeme Gordon
Quesnel: Kirby Halcrow
1st Period: Just 40 seconds into the 1st Vernon went on the games first powerplay, with very little chances or shots Braden Pimm with the lone chance was stopped in close by Kirby Halcrow as Quesnel would kill off the minor. Just minutes later Graeme Gordon made a big pad save off Tyler French, back come the Vipers after Vernon product David Robinson beat Halcrow at 4:05 giving the Vipers the early 1-0 lead. Connor & Kellen Jones with the helpers. The Millionaires responded quickly just 45 seconds later Darick Ste-Marie beat Graeme Gordon at 4:50 tying the game 1-1. Trever Hertz with the lone assist. Back come the Vipers getting some good chances at the other end of the rink. Rob Short & Sahir Gill went in two on one, Short ended up setting Gill in all alone but couldnt beat Kircy Halcrow who come up with a huge toe save keeping the puck out. Halcrow then showed the Vernon fans his quick glove hand. Halcrow made two big glove saves off Bryce Kakoske and Garrett Noonon. The play then slowed down a little as both teams looked a little slow, before Quesnel turned up the pressure creating some chances in the Vernon zone. Former Vernon Vipers defenceman, Eliot Raibl's point shot was tipped in front, but somehow Gordon made the save and then with a scramble in front, Joshua Desmarais beat Gordon but hit the post. Vernon would get its second powerplay of the night but again struggle as the Mills killed off the man advantage. Late in the 1st Tyler French beat Gordon at 17:35 putting Quesnel ahead 2-1. Clayton Chessa & Spencer Graboski with the assists. The Mills took a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play. I thought the Mills had some chances and played well at times but Vernon with the better chances couldnt beat Halcrow. The Vipers outshot the Millionaires 20-10.
2nd Period: Trever Hertz with a great chance early to put the Millionaires ahead by two was stopped in close. The Vipers with an early powerplay again struggled as the Mills would kill off another man advantage. Shortly after Vernon fans got a bit of a scare as Graeme Gordon come way out of his net to play the puck back to his defenceman, Gordon misshandled the puck and just about put the puck into his own net, as the puck slid through the crease. Vernon seemed to get the play in deep and over the next several minutes get some good chances. Rob Short in close just missed the net, Braden Pimm from the edge of the circle somehow missed an empty net as Kirby Halcrow was going down. Cory Kane turned up the jets with a nice move ripped a quick wrist shot from the circle but couldnt beat the quick glove hand of Halcrow. The Vipers then with another powerplay looked very disorganized as the Mills killed off yet another powerplay. The Vipers then struggled for the next several minutes, taking three straight icing plays. Vernon looked disorgaized at times throughout the 2nd period. Cory Kane with another great chance beat Halcrow but hit the post-crossbar as the Vipers come oh so close to tying the game. Jacob Verheyden & Justin Hogan on a two on one, Hogan ripped his hard shot high and over Graeme Gordon and the Vipers net. The Vipers carried the edge in play, but couldnt burry their chances. Late in the period Justin Hogan carried the puck through the Vernon zone, going by Adam Thompson, Hogan went all the way around the Vipers net, feeding a nice pass out front to a wide open Taylor Holst who beat Gordon at 17:10. Holst with the lone helper. The Millionaires now with two late goals in each of the first two periods. Quesnel was up 3-1 after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers outshot the Mills 22-6.
3rd Period: Off the draw the Vipers got the play in deep, Mike Collins then walked into the slot, and wired a shot that just missed the net, the puck hit the backboards shooting back hitting Kirby Halcrow in the skates, the puck was in the crease between the legs of Halcrow as several Viper players jammed the crease but couldnt get the puck past Halcrow as the big netminder covered up the puck and stopped the play dead. Back come the Millionaires, Branden Redschlag would score his first career BCHL goal beating Graeme Gordon at 1:40 putting Quesnel up 4-1 and in full control. Taylor Holst and Trever Hertz with the assists on the play. When the Vipers needed a big save, they didnt get it tonight. Off the draw the Mills now started putting pressure on the Vipers defence, forcing them to make the quick play. Quesnel started laying the body, and getting the puck in deep, trying now to just wind down the clock. The Mills did a great job at just dumping and chasing the puck for the next few minutes killing some good time off the clock as Vernon couldnt seem to get much of anything going, looking very frustrated. The Vernon crowd now started getting on Graeme Gordon, cheering him everytime he made a save. Give credit to the Vipers they didnt quit, as Vernon got the puck in deep and come up with a few good chances. The game started to get a little chippy now as after each whistle a scrum broke out in front of the Quesnel net with some pushing and shoving. Curtis Gedig's point shot was stopped by Halcrow who once again made another glove saves. Vernon would get yet another man advantage and once again was unable to generate much of an offensive attack. Quesnel would kill off the minor. The Vipers now running out of time were trying to throw everything towards the net, but Halcrow stood his ground standing tall between the pipes. The Mills wouldnt muster much offence as they really tried clogging up the front of the Quesnel net coming up with some big blocked shots. Rob Short would get Vernon to within two goals at 16:34 after Cory Kane & Dan Nycholat collected the assists. Vernon now poured on the pressure late. The puck would come back to Dan Nycholat who stepped into his shot but once again Kirby Halcrows glove hand was their to make the huge save with about two and a half minutes left. The Vipers would get a late powerplay and pull Gordon for the extra attacker, Steve Weinstein's point shot somehow got through a ton of traffic in front of the Mills net but still couldnt get past Kirby Halcrow. Halcrow then made a big save off the rebound to stop the clock. Trever Hertz come up with a huge block late in the game. After both teams called timeouts in the dying seconds Quesnel would defeat the Vipers 4-2 to tie the series 1-1 now heading back to Quesnel for Games 3 & 4. Vernon outshot Quesnel 15-6.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Cory Kane (1 assist) For the second straight night Kane played a very strong game for the Vipers. Hit the post-crossbar in the 2nd period, again was skating strong.
Braden Pimm I thought played a hard fought game. Pimm had several good chances but couldnt find the back of the net.
Rob Short (1 goal) Had some good chances tonight, again battled and played hard.
Garrett Noonan I thought was one of Vernons better d-men tonight.
Top Players: (Quesnel)
Kirby Halcrow (55 saves) What can you say about this kid. For the second straight night Halcrow comes up making some huge saves and well over 40 plus shots in back to back games. The difference tonight was he gave his team a chance to win and they did just that. Halcrow made some big saves early in the 2nd period and late in the 3rd. Quesnel got the big save when needed, again I think you take away Halcrow and this may be a bit of a different score.
The line of Trever Hertz (2 assists), Justin Hogan (1 assist) & Taylor Holst (1 goal & 1 assist) was by far the Millionaires best line. Trever Hertz come up with several big blocked shots through out tonights game, had some good chances as well. Justin Hogan made a real smart heads up play to setup the 3rd Quesnel goal. Taylor Holst played his second straight solid game for the Mills. Holst was left wide open on the 3rd Quesnel goal.
Joshua Desmarais played a physical-In your face style of game. This kid was getting in the faces or under the skin of any Viper player he could.
Tyler French (1 goal) I thought French looked very good on his first few opening shifts last night in Game 1 but then wasnt much of a factor for the remainder of the hockey game. Tonight was a different story. I was very impressed with Tyler French. This kid has some quick wheels and can handle the puck, skates well.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
Anytime you outshot your opponent 57-22 and lose is going to be hard to take. The Vipers didnt look as sharp as they did in Game 1 last night, I didnt think they played bad, like alot of fans were saying. I think they just didnt play great. At times they struggled with and without the puck, I didnt see that crisp tape to tape passing like I did last night. I also didnt see that strong forecheck and cycle down low as well as last night. For the second straight night the Vipers struggled on the man advantage and have yet to score on the powerplay in this series. Vernon moved the puck around the perimiter for most of the powerplay, without any shots. When you get six powerplays in a Playoff game and give the other team no powerplays, this is where you have to make the other team pay. Id like to see a few more guys drive to the net and get in the grey area's. Vernon also has to be a little more physical. Dont get me wrong the Vipers had several good chances but ran into a hot goaltender. On the other end, I think the Vipers would have like to have gotten a big save from Graeme Gordon when needed. This is just the third time all season the Vipers have given up four or more goals in a game.
Game Thoughts: (Quesnel)
Well the Mills got the split, Im sure something they talked about before Game 1. Quesnel now improves to 2-3 on the road and heads home for Games 3 & 4 where they are 3-0 at the Vault. Again the Millionaires relied on Kirby Halcrow to bail them out, but unlike last night Quesnel managed a little more offence, getting just a few more chances and what counted most, is burrying their chances. The Mills may have not had a ton of good chances but scored on them when they had them. Quesnel played a fairly physical-In your face style of game, lots of pushing and shoving after whistles, getting in Vipers faces, little jabs or shots after the whistle, anything to try and get the Vipers off their game. The Mills did a great job at clogging up the middle in front of the Quesnel goal, also come up with some huge blocked shots. The Mills now have to take advantage of the smaller ice surface at the Vault and use home ice to their advantage.
1st Star: Kirby Halcrow (55 saves)
2nd Star: Taylor Holst (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Cory Kane (1 assist)