Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Snakes Surge In Overtime:

This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:

Snakes surge in overtime

By Graeme Corbett - Vernon Morning Star

Published: March 23, 2010

The Vernon Vipers knew the Penticton Vees would redouble their efforts after their dismal performance in Game 1 of their best-of-seven B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference finals. But they didn’t flinch, even when Vees’ defenceman Bo Dolan pegged Penticton to an early lead with a point shot through traffic in Game 2 Saturday night at Wesbild Centre.

Instead, the Vipers turned to their relentless forecheck, plugging up the Vees’ zone and wearing down their defenders. Proving that the series opener was more an aberration than anything, the two talented teams needed overtime, with veteran Robbie Short pocketing the winner as the Vipers clipped Penticton 3-2 before 1,850 fans.

The Vipers’ Jonathan Milhouse orchestrated the play, making a clever chip pass to send Short in behind Penticton’s defence, after which the stocky Vernon product beat netminder Sean Bonar with a quick shot, blocker side.

“They’ve got smaller defencemen than our forwards, so the more we get it down low and work their defencemen, the more tired they’re going to get,” said Short.

“We knew they were going to come out hard tonight. We knew we’d have to win all those battles against the boards and get lots of shots on Bonar. He’s been playing lots in playoffs.”

Penticton agitator Garrett Milan liked the Vees’ effort Saturday, but knows it will be desperation time as the series heads to Penticton. Game 3 went Tuesday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton. Game 4 is tonight.

“We needed this game to come back and show we could play with these guys and we did a great job from start to finish in this game,” said Milan, who got his 150-pound frame in front of netminder Graeme Gordon to screen Dolan’s goal.

“We just need to regroup over the next few days and focus on what we’re doing.”

Vipers’ assistant coach Jason Williamson says the game-plan for Saturday was pretty straightforward – play simple, get pucks deep, don’t panic.

“Yah, they were better but we were still pretty good tonight. We just had to wait for our opportunities. We’re a pretty veteran bunch and they’re not going to panic too much,” he said, crediting the Viper point men for getting pucks through to the net.

Both netminders were sharp in Game 3, with Bonar collecting third star with a 33-save showing. While not as busy, Gordon, who earned BCHL Player of the Week honours for posting three straight shutouts, looked focussed in facing 20 Penticton shots.

The recently reunited line of Sahir Gill and twins Connor and Kellen Jones accounted for the rest of Vernon’s offence. Gill put Vernon on the board midway through the first period, finishing a gorgeous three-way passing play that could have come from EA Sports’ NHL 10 video game.

Gill’s hit on Andrew Pickering in the corner was the catalyst for the other goal, as Kellen scooped up the loose puck, wheeled behind Penticton’s net and spotted Connor in the slot for a one-timer later in the period.

“It’s been a while since we played together... it does take a little while but we had some good success tonight,” said Gill.

“Game 1 went perfectly according to game-plan. We know they’ve got a lot of pride over there and that they were going to come out hard and compete for those battles.

“I think we did a pretty good job of staying consistent over 60 minutes.”

The Vees responded 39 seconds into the second period as Derik Johnson one-timed a quick feed from Eric Filiou to silence the Wesbild crowd.

Said Vees’ head coach Fred Harbinson: “We were embarrassed last night (6-0 loss in Game 1), but I thought we showed a lot more tonight. We were one shot away from getting the series 1-1.

“We’ve been good on home ice as well, and the boys will be ready to get after it and even the series.”

Harbinson noted the loss of key blueliners Ben Sexton and Matt Paltridge has hampered Penticton’s back end.

“We need these next few days to try to get healthy. Our depth has been hurting us a bit in the playoffs here and we need to find a way to get guys back in the lineup.”

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