Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Round 2: Game 1: Vernon 6 Quesnel 2

I was at tonights Game 1 as Vernon defeated Quesnel 6-2 in front of 1,900 fans at the Wesbild Centre.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon: Graeme Gordon
Quesnel: Kirby Halcrow

1st Period: During warmup Brandon Watson headed straight towards Graeme Gordon and started yapping away while Gordon was stretching. David Robinson then skated by and had words with Watson. Watson really gave a handfull to Gordon as the Vipers goaltender ignored the Mills forward. The Vipers took defence of their National Title trying to become the first team since the 1990-1991 Vernon Lakers to win back to back Centennial Cup-Royal Bank Cup Championships. The Vipers got to work early controlling the play but couldnt sustain any real solid pressure. The Vipers would get the games first powerplay but very little scoring chances Vernon would end up in the penalty box putting both teams four on four. Neither team would take advantage, as Vernon carried the better of the play as most of the play was in the Mills end early and often but Vernon couldnt generate much of an offensive attack. Quesnel did come out hitting, laying some good checks on the Vipers early. No real good quality scoring chances for either team as Vernon had the edge in play for the first six or so minutes before the Millionaires opened the scoring at 8:42. The Mills with some good puck movement in the Vipers zone, drove towards the goal, with a scramble in front of Graeme Gordon, Taylor Holst picked up the puck and beat Gordon giving the Mills the 1-0 lead. Trever Hertz with the lone assist. Under a minute later Rob Short would tip Kevin Kraus's point shot past Kirby Halcrow tying the game 1-1 at 9:29 with Kraus and Sahir Gill picking up the assists. Just after the Vipers goal both teams went back to playing four on four, once again no real quality scoring chances. Quesnel would then get their first man advantage of the night but couldnt generate any real offensive attack as the Vipers killed off the minor. Late in the period Cory Kane with great hustle beat the Millionaires d-man to the puck, Kane then fed Rob Short out front who beat Halcrow at 17:24 putting Vernon up 2-1 with Cory Kane & Adam Thompson with the assists. Vernon controlled the edge in play in the first half before both teams looked fairly even in the second half as the Vipers took a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Quesnel 10-5.

2nd Period: Off the opening faceoff a long shot from just past centre almost fooled Graeme Gordon, as he had to make an awkward save on the Mills long shot. Just 1:12 into the 2nd Braden Pimm & Kellen Jones went in two on one, Pimm decided to shoot wich beat Halcrow on a soft goal giving the Vipers an early 3-1 lead. Adam Thompson & Mike Collins collected the assists. Halcrow would like to have this one back. The Vipers then went to work early and often getting a ton of real good scoring chances. Cory Kane danced around two Mills before getting stopped by Kirby Halcrow. Kevin Kraus's point shot was stopped by Halcrow, and just shortly after Mike Collins shot from the point was tipped in front by wich looked to be a Quesnel player but somehow went just wide of the goal. Vernon was by far the better team in the middle frame dominating the play for the entire period. The Vipers on an odd man rush sent in Dan Nycholat in all alone for the parcial breakaway, but Halcrow come up with the huge blocker save. Kirby Halcrow was solid keeping the Mills in tonights game. The Mills were having all kinds of trouble with the Vipers strong aggresive forecheck. The Mills were losing most of the one on one battles and races to the puck almost the entire period. Quesnel with just two shots in the first ten minutes of the period. The Mills had a great chance to get back in the game, Taylor Holst and Trever Hertz went in two on one but Captain Kevin Kraus with a great giving poke check broke up the play. Curtis Gedig with a blast from the point couldnt beat Halcrow. Clayton Chessa come very close to making this a one goal game beating Gordon but hit the post. On the same shift, Chessa wired a shot from the circle as Gordon just got a peice of it to keep the puck out. The Vipers would get the only powerplay of the 2nd but were unable to generate much offence getting just two shots as the Millionaires penalty kill was good killing off the minor. Late in the period Trever Hertz missed the net from the slot and then with a minute and a half remaining Skyler Smutek's point shot was tipped in front but stopped by Gordon. In the dying seconds Cory Kane would go end to end with a great individual effort but couldnt beat Kirby Halcrow in the final seconds. Vernon dominated the play but only managed one goal, taking a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers outshot the Millionaires 20-3.

3rd Period: The Vipers started the 3rd right where they left off at the end of the 2nd. Vernon come out buzzing with loads of pressure in and around the Mills net. Rob Short with speed down the wing, got off a hard shot from the end of the circle but couldnt beat Kirby Halcrow who through up his arm at the last second to make the big save. David Robinson driving towards the front of the net was stopped down low. Braden Pimm would beat Halcrow at 6:12 giving Vernon the 4-1 lead with Cole Ikkala & Curtis Gedig picking up the assists. Quesnel responded just under a minute later, after Chriss Kerr beat Graeme Gordon high over the shoulder at 7:08 cutting the Vernon lead to 4-2. Brandon Watson with the lone helper. Just over a minute later Vernon would head to the powerplay, Adam Thompson with two big blast's from the point couldnt get past Halcrow as Quesnel would kill off the minor. Braden Pimm & Mike Collins went in on a parcial two on one, Pimm setup Collins who rang his long shot off the far post as the Vipers come oh so close to regaining their three goal lead. Just shortly after Kevin Kraus was stopped by Halcrow who couldnt hold onto the rebound, as Cory Kane jumped on the loose puck beating Halcrow upstairs at 10:58 giving the Vipers a 5-2 lead and now in full control. Kraus and Steve Weinstein with the assists. The Mills would get into penalty trouble taking three straight minors but were able to hold off the Vipers onslaught. Quesnel did get a great chance shorthanded as Mitch Galbraith & Chris Kerr went in two on one, but were denied by Graeme Gordon who made a nice save on the penalty kill. Quesnel would kill off all three minors. Bryce Kakoske was sent in all alone but went in too deep and was forced to shoot high and over the net after Halcrow gave him no where to shoot. Connor Jones & David Robinson went in two on one, but Jones couldnt control the puck as the Mills dodged another bullet. For the second straight period the Millionaires couldnt generate much offence having all kinds of troubles with the high powered Vipers. Late in the 3rd the Mills were getting frustrated as Kirby Halcrow gave a crosscheck to David Robinson who was standing atop the goal crease and then on Robinson's next shift Halcrow gave Robinson a shot to the face with his glove. With time winding down Curtis Gedig's point shot looked to be tipped in front wich beat Halcrow at 19:51 giving Vernon the 6-2 lead. The goal was awarded to Gedig (unassisted) The Vipers would defeat the Millionaires 6-2 taking Game 1. Vernon has now won eight straight while Quesnel's two game winning streak comes to an end. Vernon outshot Quesnel 16-6.

Top Players: (Vernon)

Dan Nycholat played a solid game on the Vipers defence.

Curtis Gedig (1 goal & 1 assist) Was by far Vernons best defenceman. Gedig looked very smooth at both ends of the rink, was skating hard, made some real nice crisp heads up passes, carried the puck well. Curtis looked to be in the zone all night.

The line of Connor Jones, Kellen Jones & David Robinson played very well up front for the Vipers. Both Jones Twins were hit or tried to be hit most of the night. This line was very good with the cycle down low, really moved the puck well, gave the Mills defence troubles all night.

The line of Cory Kane (1 goal & 1 assist), Rob Short (2 goals) & Sahir Gill (1 assist) Was another solid line for Vernon. What can you say about the play of Vernon product Rob Short. Short played a very strong game up front for the Vipers. It looked like Short tipped Curtis Gedigs point shot in the dying seconds of the 3rd period, but they gave the goal to Gedig. Short showed good hustle and physical play at both ends of the rink. Cory Kane sure has stepped up his game late in the season. Kane who was playing some of his best hockey late in the regular season, was a horse up front for the Vipers. Kane was very strong and smooth with the puck tonight, was skating hard, made some incredible moves at times. Was very hard to knock off the puck.

Braden Pimm (2 goals) When dosnt think kid have an off night. Pimm played very well defensively, scored the game winner on a soft goal early into the 2nd period.

Jonathan Milhouse played well at times. I thought Milhouse played his best in the games first two periods. Didnt see much of or notice Milhouse much in the 3rd. Milhouse was really skating hard in the 2nd period.

Kevin Kraus (2 assists) Played a strong game at both ends of the rink for the Vipers. Kraus made a great diving play to break up a Mills two on one scoring play in the 2nd period. Kraus really seems to step up his play come playoff time.

Adam Thompson (2 assists) Thompson was another Viper defenceman who played very well. Thompson with two good blasts from the point in the 3rd on the man advantage, really moved the puck well. Played very well defensively.

Top Players: (Quesnel)

Kirby Halcrow (40 saves) The Vipers seen this movie once before as Halcrow played very well in the first meeting of the season between these two teams. Halcrow made 35 saves keeping his team in the game but fell short 2-0 to the Vipers. Now again tonight the Mills keeper makes 40 saves in a 6-2 loss in Game 1 of the 2nd Round. Halcrow come up huge in the 2nd and 3rd periods making some big saves keeping his team in the contest. Without Halcrow this could have easily been a 11 or 12-2 score.

Taylor Holst (1 goal) Was another bright spot in the Millionaires lineup. Holst who has played well against the Vipers throughout the regular season scored the games opening goal in Game 1. Holst played well up front.

Terver Hertz (1 assist) Hertz with a few quality chances could have scored atleast one goal but missed on a great chance from the slot, a chance Im sure he wish he had back.

Chris Kerr (1 goal) I was impressed with what I saw from Chris Kerr. The Mills who were badly outplayed in the final two periods, still got a goal and a two on one shorthanded chance from Kerr.

Clayton Chessa looked fairly good tonight. Didnt get alot of chances or stand out but did hit the post once in the 2nd period. This kid has a wicked shot, should shoot alot more when given the chance. Played physical.

Game Thoughts: (Vernon)

After having the first round bye and not playing in 16 days, I was pretty impressed with the Vipers tonight. I expected alot more rust and it taking this team a good period or two to get going. Vernon dominated this game for atleast the final two periods and was by far the better team in the end. I was very impressed with the passing, very crisp, tape to tape passes coming from almost every Viper player. I thought the Vipers played very well at both ends of the rink, again if it wasnt for Kirby Halcrow the score could have been much higher. The Vipers dominated the play down low and with the cycle. Vernon won most of the one on one battles and races to the puck. I wasnt overly impressed with the teams powerplay (0-6) not enough shots, way too much passing around the perimiter. Great to see a pretty big crowd on hand for tonights game. Giving that it was a Tuesday night, and the Canucks were also on tv and they were playing Quesnel. Very nice.

Game Thoughts: (Quesnel)

I thought Quesnel was being outplayed in the opening period, atleast until the Mills opened the scoring, but give them some credit they battled back and I thought played fairly well to finish off the 1st period. Not sure what happened in the final two periods but this team couldnt compete or handle the Vipers in all areas. The Millionaires had trouble with the Vipers attack all night, Quesnels defence couldnt the strong forecheck and cycle down low. The Mills tried playing physical at times but that didnt seem to slow down the Vipers, who kept coming in waves. The Mills need to generate more offence, getting just three shots in the 2nd and six in the 3rd isnt going to win you hockey games.



Darrin Robak
Patrick McGillis
Trevor Fitzgerald


Anderson White
Sam Higgins
Tyson Price

3 Stars:

1st Star: Rob Short (2 goals)
2nd Star: Braden Pimm (2 goals)
3rd Star: Cory Kane (1 goal & 1 assist)

1 comment:

Loki said...

Good game tonight. Quesnel started off fairly decent I thought, but then they just fizzled out. Quesnel goalie looks a little weak on blocker side, have to see if they'll exploit it next game.

I agree with your post, in that I thought the Vipers would look more rusty after the layoff, but they looked pretty sharp most of the night! Back tomorrow again! Go Vipers.