Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vipers Dispose Of Vees:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers dispose of Vees

by Don Klepp | Added 2010-03-28

A solid defensive effort and a potent power play fuelled the Vernon Vipers’ 4-1 defeat of the Penticton Vees on Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The win eliminated the Vees in six games and advanced the defending RBC champions to the Fred Page Cup versus Powell River.

The Vees power play had led the BCHL all year at around 30 percent efficiency, but it paled in comparison to the Vipers in this series. Penticton’s “death squad” was nullified by the Viper penalty kill in 18 opportunities, including three in this game.

Meanwhile, the Vipers converted three of four power plays, much like their last visit to the SOEC, when three of their five goals came with the man advantage. In the six-game series, the Vipers went 8 for 24.

In addition, they scored twice short handed, a further indicator of their dominant penalty kill.

On Saturday, the Vipers started well, with three early scoring chances, but the Vees regrouped and scored first. At 4:05 of the first, Eric Filiou re-directed Garrett Milan’s shot past Graeme Gordon. The goal followed strong pressure by the Filiou line, which Milan had joined on a partial line change.

The Vipers equalized on the power play 1 minute 34 seconds later. Dan Nycholat’s slap shot from the point beat Sean Bonar with Logan Johnston in the sin bin for elbowing. Braden Pimm and Mike Collins drew assists on the play after controlling play in the Vee zone.

The game’s defining moment came from a moment of brilliance orchestrated by Mike Collins. Just outside the Vee blue line, he deftly dispossessed Luke Curadi. Then, he coolly waited for Braden Pimm to clear the zone before feeding his centre man. Pimm took two strides before beating Bonar cleanly.

Collins earned his third straight assist at 4:24 of the second period when he and Pimm set up Adam Thompson for a wicked slapper that Bonar couldn’t handle. Once again, Logan Johnston was serving a two-minute penalty.

Undisciplined play by Ryan Viselli and Matt Paltridge gave the Vipers a 5 on 3 advantage, which they converted at 9:04. Kellen Jones was credited with an unassisted goal, although he and his brother Connor affirmed that Connor had tipped in Kellen’s centering pass. The play developed when Dan Nycholat’s precise stretch pass helped free Kellen on the left wing.

From that point, the Vipers basically focused on defence. Remembering the previous night’s Vee comeback, said Viper defender Garrett Noonan, “there’s absolutely no way we were going to allow that to happen again.”

So, although the Vees managed 12 shots in the third period, only two of those shots sorely tested Graeme Gordon. Named the game’s first star, Gordon excelled at controlling rebounds and at staying square to the shooter.

In the Fred Page Cup, the Vipers will face Powell River for the second year in a row, after the Kings rebounded from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in seven games. Josh Watson, who pitched a 41-save shut out on Saturday in Port Alberni, allowed just two goals in the last three games of that series, so it looks like the Vipers will face another hot goaltender.

During the regular season, the Vipers defeated the Kings 5-2 in Vernon and dropped a 3-2 overtime decision in Powell River. The series will begin April 2 and 3 in Vernon.

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