I was at tonights BCHL game as Vernon defeated Westside 2-0 in front of 1,334 fans at the Wesbild Centre.
Vernon: Danny Todosychuk
Westside: Steven Racine
1st Period: Luke Juha with a long pass up ice tried hitting Vipers captain, Patrick McGillis for the breakaway just thirty five seconds into the contest but McGillis couldnt keep up to the puck. Both teams got off to a good start as the play went back and forth early in the opening few minutes. The Vernon Vipers would get a little pressure deep in the Warriors zone and create some good chances just three minutes into the hockey game. Moving the puck well, the Vipers were buzzing in and around the Westside goal. The Vipers tried setting up John Knisley in the slot, Steven Racine made the pad save, on a shot that Knisley fanned on. The Warriors would get the games first powerplay, moving the puck around well Westside controlled most of the man advantage but Vernon's defence did a good job at keeping the Warriors to the outside limiting their scoring chances as Vernon killed off the minor. Just after the powerplay Mx French and Seb Lloyd on a two on one in close, French was stopped by Vernon product, Danny Todosychuk who made the first save and then come up with an even better save robbing Lloyd in the crease. A very even played period with the play going back and forth. Darren Nowick with a great chance from the slot was stopped by Racine who made a quick pad save. The Warriors tried sending veteran forward, Dru Morrison in for the breakaway but Morrison was called offside at the Vipers blueline on a close call. The play really slowed down in the final minute as both teams couldnt seem to get much of anything going with several stopages in play. A fairly even played period with some good play at both ends of the rink, the Vipers with the better scoring chances headed into the 2nd period 0-0. Westside outshot Vernon 10-9.
2nd Period: Just over two minutes into the middle frame Marcus Basara with a nice drop pass setup Vernon product, Jedd Soleway who ripped a hard low shot that was stopped by Steven Racine who made a nice save with traffic driving towards the goal. Racine was then forced to make a tough toe save on the next shift after stopping Mike Zalewski from the top of the circle. Vernon got off to a good start buzzing in the Warriors zone. Luke Juha's point shot beat Racine but went off the post as the Vipers come very close to opening the scoring. Westside would get an early powerplay and come up with just a single shot on the man advantage as the Vipers killed off their second penalty of the night. On the next play the Vipers would get a long two man advantage after the Warriors got into some penalty trouble. Just fifteen seconds into the powerplay, Mike Zalewski's shot was tipped in front by Darren Nowick who beat Steven Racine upstairs giving Vernon the 1-0 lead at 7:09, Zalewski and Ryan Renz collected the helpers. With Vernon still on the man advantage the Vipers couldnt seem to get much going, as the Warriors penalty kill was very good keeping the Vipers to the outside and killing off the penalty. The Vipers who looked very good in the 2nd period were outplaying the Warriors who had recorded just two shots on goal in the first half of the period. Jedd Soleway with his second scoring opportunity of the night was stopped in close by Steven Racine who played very well this evening keeping Westside in the hockey game. Danny Todosychuk then made his biggest save of the night, robbing the Warriors on a two on one, sliding across the crease to make the huge save keeping this a one goal game. Westside would get their third man advantage of the night after the Vipers were caught with too many men on the ice. The Warriors again were unable to capitalize after Vernon killed off the minor. Westside come close to tying the game on a funny bounce, the Warriors with a routine looking dump in caught Danny Todosychuk off gaurd when the puck took a weird bounce in the crease and then dissapeared. Todosychuk fell to the ground and waited for the whistle as the puck somehow stayed out of the goal. Late in the period, the Vipers would get a powerplay but Vernon with some carless turnovers looked sloppy with the man advantage. Just as the penalty expired Westside just about caught the Vipers defence napping, as Max French jumped out of the box with the parcial breakaway but Vernon's defence got back in time to breakup the breakaway. Vernon got real sloppy in the final minute as the Warriors couldnt capitalize on some Viper turnovers. Vernon dominated this period outplaying Westside for most of the 2nd. The Vipers were really buzzing and creating chances while Westside couldnt generate any offence, playing most of the middle frame in their own end. The Vipers were up 1-0 after 40 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Westside 13-6.
3rd Period: Off the opening faceoff the Warriors with an odd man rush setup veteran, Tyler Krause in front who was stopped by Todosychuk but ran over the Vipers rookie goaltender in the process. Todosychuk was slow getting up but stayed in the game. Westside come out hungry, having lots of jump pouncing on the Vipers often and early. The Warriors were winning all the puck battles and beating Vernon to the puck, buzzing in and around the Vipers goal early. The Vipers would get an early powerplay, Darren Nowick with two great chances from the slot decided to pass instead of shooting as the Warriors penalty kill would kill off the minor. Max French and Tyler Krause were both very dangerous in the final frame creating some chances in and around the Vipers net. Give credit to the Vernon defence who kept the Warriors to the outside, limiting Westside's scoring opportunities. Brett McKinnon was stopped by Danny Todosychuk who played well between the pipes for the Vipers. Westside who looked very good had the Vipers back on there heels. The Warriors slowly tried getting under the skin of Vernon exchanging words, giving little jabs after the whistle, anything to try and sucker the Vipers into taking a penalty. Marcus Basara was lucky he didnt give the Warriors a powerplay after giving a shot to a Westside player just outside the Vernon blueline. Just before the midway mark Geoff Crisfield dropped the gloves with Shawn Hochhausen. Hochhausen left the game to get some repairs. Westside with another shot on the powerplay moved the puck well, but couldnt get any real chances in close as Vernon killed off the minor. "AP" Zachery Lindsay turned the puck over just outside the Vernon blueline, but Danny Todosychuk made a nice glove save. Max French one on one beat the Viper d-man before getting in too close and not being able to get off a good shot was stopped by Todosychuk. French later on with a great chance went for the wrap around setup Tyler Krause in front who was stopped by Todosychuk. The Vipers who had all kinds of trouble getting the offence going were losing most of the battles in the 3rd. The Vipers with some blind passes were turning over the puck way too many times in the final period. Westside who dominated the entire 3rd didnt get any bounces as they had their chances. The Warriors would get Steven Racine to the bench for the extra attacker, as the Warriors got the play in deep, one of the Westside defenceman jumped up into the slot as the puck come around the boards clearing the zone before Patrick McGillis scooped up the loose puck, with some hard work along the boards McGillis kept and hit the empty cage at 19:36 giving Vernon a 2-0 lead. McGillis's goal was unassisted. This put any kind of a comeback from Westside out of reach as the Vipers improved to 5-0 while the Warriors dropped to 4-2. Westside outshot Vernon 9-8.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Brett Corkey who has been the Vipers best d-man so far this young season played very strong on the backend tonight. Corkey played very well at both ends of the rink.
Marc Hetnik I thought also played very well defensively for Vernon tonight. Didnt show alot of offensive skill but was very steady defensively.
Mike Zalewski (1 assist) Was a horse up front for the Vipers. Zalewski worked hard all night, really carried the play alot for the Vipers. Didnt have alot of real good opportunities but was buzzing with the puck inside the Warriors zone.
Jedd Soleway I thought played fairly well tonight. Had two or three good scoring chances, battled and competed hard most of the night.
Zachery Lindsay "AP" Made his Vipers debut tonight as Max Mowat and Alex Hagen are still out of the lineup with injuries. A bigger kid I thought held his own for most of the game tonight. Played fairly well looking like a regular Jr A player for the most parts, has a hard shot, and looked good up front on the Vipers 4th line.
Danny Todosychuk (25 Saves-1st career BCHL Shutout) Didnt have alot of action tonight, but made the saves when needed too. I was a little surprised to see Danny get the start tonight vs a strong Westside club. Made a huge save off the Warriors on a two on one rush in the second period keeping the score 1-0.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
Tonight was a much better effort and performance from the Vipers after a very poor-dissapointing effort and performance vs Prince George over the weekend. The Vipers played very well in the first two periods ended up back on there heels in the 3rd and were lucky to hang on for the victory. Give Vernon credit there penalty kill was very good, and they did a great job at keeping the Warriors to the outside, limiting their chances and allowing Danny Todosychuk to see the puck. A nail biter of a 3rd period, as the Vipers were outplayed and outworked for most of the final period. Vernon's defence played very well. The Vipers did give away the puck alot tonight, turning over the puck with some blind passes in the offensive zone. Instead of making a blind pass, dump the puck into the corner or carry the play and eat some time off the clock by going into the corner. At times it looked like the Vipers were getting a little too fancy with the puck, wich resulted in several turnovers. Including the pre-season the Vipers are now 4-0 against Westside this season. Vernon now 5-0 will host Chilliwack Friday.
Top Players: (Westside)
Ben Betker looked very solid on the Westside blueline. Was very steady all night.
Brett McKinnon looked very strong up front for the Warriors, had several scoring opportunities. A smooth skater who is good with and without the puck.
Peter MacIntosh also played and looked very solid for the Warriors on the backend.
Max French and Tyler Krause were the Warriors best forwards tonight. These two were very dangerous with and without the puck. French was a workhorse, seeing all kinds off ice through out tonights game. French who had several good scoring chances was buzzing all night, Krause who also played hard had several chances. These two work and play very well together. Dont know how these two were held off the scoresheet.
Steven Racine (28 Saves) Played very well between the pipes giving Westside a chance to win. Was the busier of the two netminders making some very good saves. Looked more confident and played much better then in the Warriors home opener (5-2 Vipers win).
Game Thoughts: (Westside)
Just like the Vipers, Westside played two real good periods but didnt get any bounces. A bounce here or there and this game would have been tied. The Warriors looked very good and played very well in the opening period but just didnt get a whole lot of scoring opportunities. This was a different team come the 2nd period, as they were outplayed and outworked by a much stronger Vernon Vipers hockey club. Give Westside credit they turned their game around come the 3rd and with a little more puck luck they may have been able to sneak out a victory on the road. The Warriors who really stepped up their play in the 3rd, forced the Vipers into several turnovers. The Warriors had trouble most of the night, getting guys to the front of the net as the Vipers defence held Westside to the outside for most of the game. Tonight was the Warriors first loss away from home, & now head home for a six game home stand.
Max Mowat (Injured)
Alex Hagen (Injured)
Izaak Berglund (Injured)
1st Star: Danny Todosychuk (25 Saves-1st Career BCHL Shutout)
2nd Star: Darren Nowick (1 goal)
3rd Star: Steven Racine (28 Saves)
Vipers Energy Player of the game: Geoff Crisfield
For more on tonight's game check out the boxscore,