Thursday, March 11, 2010

Vipers Frustrated By Halcrow:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers frustrated by Halcrow

by Don Klepp | Added 2010-03-10

Kirby Halcrow stopped 55 of 57 shots and his Quesnel Millionaire team mates took advantage of their limited scoring chances to shock the Vernon Vipers 4-2 in Vernon.

For the second night in a row, the big goaltender from Grande Prairie Alberta was simply sensational as the Vipers controlled much of the play, especially in the first two periods when they pounded him with 42 shots. His catching glove was particularly active as he robbed Dan Nycholat, Rob Short, Braden Pimm, Curtis Gedig, and Bryce Kakoske, among others.

He also benefitted from some luck. In the second period, Cory Kane’s strong backhand rang off the post with Halcrow beaten. In another sequence, Braden Pimm lifted the puck over Halcrow who had flopped on to his stomach, but the puck caught the back of Halcrow’s extended skate and stayed out.

The Vipers opened the scoring at 4:05 of the first period. With the Jones twins creating havoc in front of Halcrow, David Robinson fired a high shot that trickled in off Halcrow’s shoulder. However, Darick Ste-Marie equalized for Quesnel 45 seconds later. On the right wing, Trever Hertz was headed off at the Viper blue line, so he threw the puck on net. Ste-Marie streaked in and fired a one-time backhand past Graeme Gordon, who had no chance on the bang-bang play.

Tyler French then put Quesnel ahead for good at 17:35 when he converted a centering pass from Clayton Chessa. Soon after, the Vipers had an excellent chance to even the score when Rob Short sent Sahir Gill on a breakaway. Halcrow read Gill’s attempted backhand 5-hole move and made a fine right pad save.

Despite constant pressure and 22 shots in the second period, Vernon was unable to dent Halcrow’s armor. Then against the run of play, second game-star Taylor Holst gave the Mills a two-goal lead. Justin Hogan beat Adam Thompson wide, swept behind the Viper net and fed Holst in front.

For the first half of the third period, the Mills played as well as the Vipers and they vaulted into a three-goal lead when AP call-up Branden Redschlag fired a shot that deflected off a Viper skate and through Gordon’s pads at 1:40.

Desperate for a goal, the Vipers poured on the pressure in the last 10 minutes and were finally rewarded with Rob Short’s back hand past Halcrow at 16:34. That pressure was whipped to a fever pitch for the remaining 3:26, but the Mills collapsed to the net and were fortunate on several Viper near misses.

In a rarity, the Millionaires did not have a power play chance in this game, while the Vipers were stymied on their six chances with the man advantage. Part of their frustration stemmed from Halcrow’s puck stopping, but also the Vipers seemed to be looking for the perfect pass at the door step, or the quick one-timer from a cross-ice pass.

The Mills’ penalty killers maintained a tight box and filled shooting lanes, so the Vipers were reluctant to pull the trigger. Their best effort came when Clayton Chessa was sent off for high sticking at 12:56 of the third period. Looking more desperate, the Vipers found some narrow shooting lanes and got pucks through to Halcrow, but again the defenders were able to get their sticks on pucks when the Vipers looked certain to poke in a loose puck.

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