I was at tonights BCHL Exibition game as Vernon defeated Trail 4-2 at the Wesbild Centre.
Vernon: Kirby Halcrow
Trail: Matt Larose
1st Period: John Knisley in the opening minute had a parcial three on one with Mike Zalewski and Darren Nowick. Knisley decided to shoot but was stopped by veteran goaltender, Matt Larose. The Trail Smoke Eaters come out hitting early and often as both teams played a very physical opening period. The Vipers would open the scoring after Jarryd Ten Vaanholt with a nice move at the Smokies blueline passed to Alex Hagen who setup Vernon product, Jedd Soleway in front who beat Larose at 2:40 giving Vernon the early 1-0 lead. Hagen and Ten Vaanholt collected the assists. Both teams looked a little tenative early but as the period went along it was the Vipers who looked like the stronger club. The Smoke Eaters would get the games first powerplay, moving the puck around Trail was unable to generate much offence as Vernon would kill off the minor. Darren Nowick with some hard work, battled hard and kept the puck inside the Trail blueline before dishing off to Alex Hagen who setup Adam Tambellini who beat Matt Larose shortside with a wicked wrist shot giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 6:15, Hagen and Nowick with the helpers. The Vipers would get there first powerplay of the night, Brett Corkey with a nice rush through the neutral zone made a nice play inside the Smokies blueline dishing off to Alex Hagen who was stonned by Larose who made a quick glove save at the side of the net. The Smoke Eaters powerplay was very good, forcing the Vipers with a very aggresive attack killing off the minor. Vernon would get three straight powerplays but it was Trails penalty kill that was very solid keeping this a two goal game. The Smoke Eaters with very little offensive pressure in the 1st come close at the buzzer, after Brandon Egli's point shot was tipped in front just before the buzzer as Kirby Halcrow just got a piece of the puck to stear it wide off the end glass as the buzzer sounded. The Vipers were the better, more skilled team in the opening period up 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Trail 11-6.
2nd Period: Off the opening draw Brendan Long and Erik Cooper on a two on one, Long decided to shoot but was stopped by Kirby Halcrow who stood his ground making a nice save. Trail looked much better in the middle frame creating and generating some good chances. A quick shot from the point caught Halcrow off gaurd, after the puck hit the end boards before shooting right back out front as Halcrow had to be alert and cover up the loose puck. The Vipers would get an early powerplay but again it was the Smokies penalty kill that was strong killing off the minor. Trail with some good pressure inside the Vipers zone, had some real close calls after getting some good chances in close but couldnt hit the net on a few opportunities. Kirby Halcrow also was sharp making two or three saves in tight. Just before the midway mark, Kyle Horsman and Luke Bertoluucci had a two on one, Horsman tried feeding Bertoluucci in front but couldnt collect the pass on a great scoring play. The Smokies would get a powerplay but it was the Vipers penalty kill that did a good job killing off the minor. Just as the penalty expired Vernon caught Trail napping as Mike Zalewski was sent on a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box, Zalewski with a move in front couldnt beat Matt Larose who made a nice pad save on the second year Vernon Viper. The Vipers would then get another shot on the powerplay but it was the speedy Luke Bertoluucci who thought he had a breakaway but was stopped after Brett Corkey with some good hustle come back clearing the puck away from Bertoluucci to stop the breakaway. Trail would kill off the minor. Both teams kind of switch powerplays but no team was able to find the back of the net. With Trail on another man advantage, it was Viper captain Patrick McGillis who would come in shorthanded but fired wide, on the same play McGillis stuck with the play, picked up the puck before trying a wrap around in front but Matt Larose stayed low to the ice making a big pad save. Vernon with some good penalty kill killed off the minor. The play really started to open up, as Mike Zalewski would get another shot on his second breakaway of the night but again would get stopped by Larose who played well for the Smokies. Nick Wong come very close to getting Trail on the board after stepping over the Vernon blueline and ripping a hard shot that beat Kirby Halcrow but hit the post on a close call. Adam Tambellini with a chance at the other end of the rink was stopped by Larose. Both teams with some good chances couldnt capitalize as Vernon held a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. A much more balanced period as both teams were fairly even getting chances at both ends. Vernon outshot Trail 11-8.
3rd Period: The Vipers come out strong to start the 3rd getting some great chances early. Jedd Soleway and Geoff Crisfield on a two on one just two minutes into the 3rd couldnt captialize. On the next shift, Jarryed Ten Vaanholt and Alex Hagen on a two on one couldnt beat Larose who made a big save. Just shortly after on a Vipers powerplay, Brett Corkey with a nice end to end rush, beat Matt Larose but graized the post after some slick moves skating up ice. Trail would kill off the minor. Both teams played most of the period shorthanded as several penalties were handed out in the final frame. Trail with a two man advantage struggled getting pucks towards the net as the Vipers penalty kill was solid killing off the two minors. Just shortly after the Smoke Eaters would eventually get on the board after some nice passing. Dallas Calvin setup a wide open Brent Baltus in front who beat Kirby Halcrow at 7:03 making this a one goal game. Calvin with the lone assist. Just over a minute later the Vipers would get another shot with the man advantage and this time finally capitalize. Connor Hartley and Riley Hunt with some nice give and go passing setup Marcus Basara in front who beat Larose at 8:20 giving Vernon a 3-1 lead. Hunt and Hartley collected the assists. Just shortly after Darren Nowick setup Mike Zalewski who beat Matt Larose in front giving Vernon a 4-1 lead. Nowick and Jedd Soleway with the helpers. On the next shift Kirby Halcrow made a big glove save with traffic in front robbing Josh Roberts from the slot. The Vipers with another three way passing play setup Jedd Soleway in front who bumped into Larose couldnt find the back of the net on a great scoring chance. The Smokies would get a late two man advantage, Vernon would kill off one minor before Logan Proulx beat Hacrow drving towards the net at 16:55, Brent Baltus and Adam Boytinck collected the helpers. Trail would get two late flurries in front but couldnt get the puck past Halcrow who played very well. A penalty filled 3rd period gave Trail most of the play but in the end Vernon would finish the pre-season with a 4-2 victory and a 3-1 record in their final exibition game of the year. Trail outshot Vernon 18-5.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Brett Corkey played very well on the Vipers backend this evening. Had a real nice end to end rush setting up a great scoring play in front.
Turner Lawson played very well with the Vipers tonight. Wasnt afraid to battled and play physical, played very well defensively.
John Knisley was a work horse tonight, especially in the opening period. Played with alot of jump and good hustle. Played physical and didnt back away from the physical play. Knisley was probally one of the hardest working Vipers tonight.
Darren Nowick (2 assists) Another hard worker tonight. Nowick competed and played very hard collecting two assists in the Vernon win.
Patrick McGillis also had a fairly strong game up front for Vernon. Had two great scoring chances shorthanded in the 2nd period.
Jedd Soleway (1 goal & 1 assist) I thought played very well up front for the Vipers. Played physical, took a stick to the face midway through the 3rd period, but stayed in the game.
Alex Hagen (2 assists) This kid is going to be nice to watch all season, has alot of skill and always seems to know where his linemates are at all times. Really sees and reads the ice well. A very smart playmaker.
Kirby Halcrow (30 saves) Halcrow played his first full game of the pre-season and played very well. Didnt see alot of action-pucks in the 1st but come up with some key saves in the 2nd and even in the 3rd. Didnt have a chance on either of the two Smoke Eater goals.
Top Players: (Trail)
Nick Wong was one of if not Trails best d-man tonight. This kid can skate, move the puck and likes to jump up into the play, looked very solid for the Smokies tonight.
Brandon Egli also played fairly well on the Smoke Eaters blueline.
Josh Roberts played very well up front for the Smokies, was always in and around the net. Had a great chance in the 3rd but was stopped by the nice glove hand of Kirby Halcrow.
Adam Wheeldon isnt the biggest kid but played very aggresive, physical and was in the face of the Vernon Vipers most of the game. Wheeldon always seemed to get involved in any action or scrums after the stopages in play.
Brendan Long was another kid who played well for Trail. Has some decent speed, was another kid who was involved in the play and always in and around the net.
Matt Larose (23 saves) The veteran goaltender come up with some big saves through out tonights contest. Played very well between the pipes for the Smoke Eaters.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
Overall the Vipers were the better of the two clubs tonight. Vernons speed, skill and overall depth was just too much for the Smokies. With the Vipers down to just a few kids left in camp Vernon fans got a real good look at what looked to be a lineup other then a few kids, we could see come opening night. I was very impressed with the speed, skill and depth of this years team so far. The Vipers really moved the puck well tonight, creating and generating some real good scoring opportunities. I thought the Vipers penalty kill looked fairly good but couldnt get much going on the powerplay. Give credit to Trails penalty kill who was in the face of the Vipers most of the night.
Game Thoughts: (Trail)
The Smokies didnt show much in the 1st period but played and looked much better in the 2nd and 3rd. Trail who didnt carry the play much, had spurts of offence and chances. The Smoke Eaters have a very physical team, and aggresive team that isnt afraid to get involved in any kind of scrum after the whistle. Trail was very vocal all night, on the bench and on the ice as well. The Smokies were driving hard towards the net on several occasions, bumping into Kirby Halcrow on atleast two or three times. I really liked the Smokies penalty kill, very aggresive, attacked the Vipers most of the night. Trail struggled with the man advantage having several powerplays in the 3rd. If Trails powerplay was clicking, things could have got interesting. Smokies assistant coach, Bob Dever made his first return to Vernon since being an assistant coach with the Vipers (2001-03).
They didnt announce any scratches for either of the two teams tonight
They didnt announce any three stars from tonights game
Here's a look at both teams lineup-roster:
Brett Corkey (92)
Max Mowat (93)
Marc Hetnik (93)
Geoff Crisfield (93)
Turner Lawson (94)
Connor Hartley (93)
Adam Tambellini (94)
John Knisley (92)
Jarryd Ten Vaanholt (91)
Mike Zalewski (92)
Darren Nowick (91)
Marcus Basara (93)
Patrick McGillis (91)
Riley Hunt (95)
Jedd Soleway (94)
Alex Hagen (92)
Ryan Renz (93)
Kirby Halcrow (91)
Danny Todosychuk (94)
Clayton McEwan (91)
Chris Romanchuk (92)
Nick Wong (91)
Daniel Belbianco (94)
Brandon Egli (94)
Brent Baltus (92)
Logan Proulx (91)
Luke Bertoluucci (95)
Josh Roberts (92)
Rajan Sidhu (91)
Kyle Horsman (94)
Clayton Chessa (91)
Dallas Calvin (94)
Erik Cooper (91)
Adam Wheeldon (94)
Brendan Long (93)
Adam Boytinck (92)
JJ Beitel (93)
Reed Vogt (93)
Matt Larose (92)