I was at tonight's BCHL game as Chilliwack defeated Vernon 5-4 in front of 1,571 fans at the Wesbild Centre.
Vernon: Kirby Halcrow
Chilliwack: Bryton Udy
1st Period: The Chiefs who come into Vernon after a 4-3 overtime victory last night over Prince George waisted very little time jumping on the Vernon Vipers who were coming off a 4-2 victory in Trail last night. The Chiefs with a good jump opened the scoring just fifty six seconds into the opening period after David Bondra's pass from the corner found Derek Huisman in front who beat Kirby Halcrow high giving Chilliwack the early 1-0 lead. Bondra and Tyler Miller with the assists. The Chiefs with some good early pressure had their legs moving and really putting pressure on the Vipers deep in the Vernon zone. The Vipers looked slow and were a step behind the Chiefs for most of the night. Chilliwack who carried the play early and often had some good pressure deep in the Vipers zone but couldnt generate any real scoring opportunities. The Chiefs would get the games first powerplay, Derek Huisman with a great chance from the right circle somehow missed a wide open cage. On the same powerplay Malcolm Gould wound up beating Halcrow but rang his shot off the crossbar. Some good chances by the Chiefs but the Vipers would kill off the minor. On the next shift the Vipers would get their first powerplay of the night, Mike Zalewski with a quick shot from the slot couldnt beat former Viper goaltender, Bryton Udy who made a nice blocker save. This was the Vipers first shot on goal as Chilliwack was outshooting Vernon 6-1 at this point. The Chiefs with a good penalty kill would kill off the minor. Just after the penalty kill Malcolm Gould would get a chance at the side of the net but was denied by Kirby Halcrow. The Chiefs would head back to the powerplay and capitalize after Michael Spring setup Trevor Hills who beat Halcrow at 15:26 giving Chilliwack a 2-0 lead. Spring and Josh Hansen collected the helpers. Just a minute later Ryan Renz would get caught on a bad pinch wich allowed Mathieu Tibbet and Alexandre Perron - Fontaine to go in on the two on one, Perron - Fontaine setup Tibbet who beat Halcrow at 16:33 giving the Chiefs a 3-0 lead. Perron - Fontaine and Kit Sitterley picked up the assists. This was the end of the night for Kirby Halcrow who was pulled in favor of Danny Todosychuk. Halcrow gave up three goals on just nine Chilliwack shots. I dont think you could blame Halcrow on any of the three goals. On the next shift Vernon would get their second powerplay of the night, Ryan Renz with a nice pass setup Max Mowat who ripped his shot past Bryton Udy at 17:29 getting the Vipers on the board. Renz and Mike Zalewski picked up the helpers. This goal seemed to give Vernon some life as the Vipers finally seemed to get their legs going coming back with some good pressure. Just over a minute later Alex Hagen ripped a low shot from the right circle that beat Udy fivehole at 18:37 making this a one goal game. Geoff Crisfield and Jedd Soleway with the assists. The Vipers who really started skating finished the end of the period with some good pressure finishing off strong. Chilliwack with a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes of play. The Chiefs got off to a great start and really carried the better of the play for most of the opening period. The Vipers who got off to a slow start couldnt seem to get their legs going and it cost them going down three goals. Give Vernon credit for battling back and making it a one goal game. The Chiefs outshot the Vipers 10-9.
2nd Period: Both teams looked a little slow to start the middle frame before the line of Alex Hagen, Jedd Soleway and Peter McMullen really generated alot of energy early battling hard down low, generating some offensive chances. Some good hard work down low by McMullen and Soleway really used their weight wich allowed McMullen to beat Udy in front at 2:30, this was McMullen's first career BCHL goal. Ryan Renz and Alex Hagen with the assists. Off the next draw the Chiefs come right back David Thompson with a nice pass up ice setup Jaret Babych who ripped a low shot from just inside the Vipers blueline that beat Danny Todosychuk at 3:11 giving Chilliwack a 4-3 lead. Thompson with the lone assist on the goal. Todosychuk looked like he may have been screened by his own d-man or Babych's shot went off the Viper d-mans stick. Off the next faceoff Mike Zalewski dropped the gloves with David Thompson, both players were given five minutes for fighting and both were also tossed from the hockey game for staging the fight. This was a big blow to the Vipers who now were without the teams leading scorer. The Vipers seemed to build off the Zalewski scrap and carry the better of the play for the first half of the period but unable to really generate much offence. Marcus Basara with a great chance went for the wrap around but Bryton Udy was their to shut the door getting down and making a pad save down low. Just a few minutes later with a mad scramble in close the Vipers with atleast three or four shots couldnt get the puck through a maze of players on a flurry of action in front of the Chiefs net. Vernon would then get back to back powerplays but struggle on both as the Chiefs penalty kill killed off both minors. Just after the second penalty expired defenceman, Mike Berry stepped into a hard shot that beat Danny Todosychuk but hit the crossbar. The Chiefs having trouble getting the offence going this period had just two shots in the first seven minutes of play. On the next shift Jeremy Gossard looked to have taken a stick to the face going down in the corner of the Vipers zone. Gossard was slow to get up and went to the Cheifs bench but would stay in the hockey game. This giving Chilliwack a powerplay, the Vipers with a very good penalty kill would kill off the minor. The Chiefs seemed to get their legs going again and slowly started to turn the tables carrying the better of the play for the remaining five minutes. Michael Spring was left all alone in front of Danny Todosychuk, Spring with a few nice moves somehow couldnt hit the net with his shot on a great opportunity in front. Chilliwack was really skating hard, playing with lots of jump and outhustling the Vipers for most of the night. Vernon would get a late scoring chance after Alex Hagen got off a quick backhand in close but was stopped by Bryton Udy. Chilliwack with a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers with an early 2nd period goal tied the game 3-3 but couldnt hold the lead for long. Vernon who carried most of the play for the first half of the 2nd only managed a few good scoring chances. Vernon outshot Chilliwack 22-8.
3rd Period: Peter McMullen who battled hard down low come up with the puck and then with a great chance in front couldnt beat Udy who made a nice save. The Vipers tried to generate some offence by mixing up the lines to start and finish the final frame. Another slow start for the third straight period and it cost the Vipers once again. With the play deep in the Vipers zone, the puck poped out from behind the net landing on the stick of Malcolm Gould who beat Todosychuk at 3:06 giving the Chiefs a 5-3 lead. Derek Huisman with the lone assist on the goal. Just a few minutes later Peter McMullen in front put a nice move in close couldnt beat Udy who stopped the Viper forward for the second time this period. Vernon who couldnt seem to really get much of anything going struggled early and often, with some poor passing, as well as turnovers in their own end. Geoff Crisfield made a real nice defensive play to break up the Chiefs on a two on one was one of the Vipers lone bright spots this period. The Chiefs slowly started to carry over the play, really putting some pressure on Vernon. Danny Todosychuk and one of the Vipers d-men come very close to coughing up the puck, after some bad miscommunication in front of the Vernon net. Trevor Hills with some hard work down low battled off two Vipers along the end wall and then tried cutting out front but couldnt beat Todosychuk. Late in the 3rd Colton Sparrow setup Marcus Basara who used his wheels, flew down the left wing before making a nice move sliding the puck past Bryton Udy at 15:23 making this another one goal game for the second time tonight. Sparrow and Max Mowat with the assists. Jason Williamson would call a timeout. This goal seemed to give Vernon some life as the Vipers now going for the game tying goal put some pressure on the Chiefs, moving the puck well the Vipers setup Connor Hartley in front with just under three minutes remaining but Hartley was stopped by Udy on a great scoring opportunity. The Vipers would get Danny Todosychuk to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:10 remaining, the Chiefs played very strong defensively in the final minute and would knock off the Vipers for a second straight game. With the win Chilliwack improves to 8-6-0-1 while the Vipers drop to 10-5 on the season. Vernon outshot Chilliwack 14-7.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Max Mowat (1 assist) Played a pretty steady game on the Vipers backend. Mowat made several good defensive plays through out tonights contest.
The line of Peter McMullen (1 goal), Jedd Soleway (1 assist) and Alex Hagen (1 goal & 1 assist) I thought was Vernon's best unit tonight. This line who only played the first two periods before Connor Hartley replaced Peter McMullen to start the 3rd. This line played with and showed lots of energy for most of the night. I thought this line battled and competed hard most of the night and seemed to generate some good chances.
Ryan Renz (2 assists) Other then a bad pinch wich allowed the Chiefs to score on a odd man rush, I thought played fairly well tonight.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
Tonight was the Vipers third game in four nights and it showed. Vernon who had to make the long bus ride to Trail last night couldnt seem to get their legs going. The Vipers who got off to a slow start in all three periods gave up an early goal to start each period. Going down 3-0 and having to battle back is always tough. The Vipers really missed Luke Juha and Brett Corkey tonight, as the team had troubles defensivly at times. Vernon looked good at times but then at other times didnt look very good, a very up and down hockey game with several mistakes and turnovers. Vernon who fired lots of shots on former teammate Bryton Udy wernt driving hard towards the net, going into the grey areas. Udy was giving out alot of rebounds wich were avliable but the Vipers just didnt seem to go after the loose pucks in front. A very frustrating game at times for both the Vipers and the fans.
Top Players: (Chilliwack)
Tyler Miller (1 assist) Played a very steady game on the Chilliwack blueline.
The Chiefs line of Derek Huisman (1 goal & 1 assist), Malcolm Gould (1 goal) and David Bondra (1 assist) was Chilliwacks top line tonight. This line looked very good in the games opening period especially. Gould and Husiman were very good with the puck both coming up with a few good scoring chances.
Trevor Hills (1 goal) Was one of the Chiefs hardest working players this evening. Hills battled and competed most of the night, never quit skating and was very good down low.
Bryton Udy (41 saves) I dont think had his greatest game but anytime a goaltender makes 41 saves he has to be reconised. The former Viper backup made a few big saves but saw most of his shots. Udy seemed to be fighting the puck alot, giving up alot of big rebounds.
Game Thoughts: (Chilliwack)
The Chiefs who have now won two straight against Vernon played fairly well on the road tonight. Chilliwack who got off to a quick start had lots of jump, jumped on the Vipers early and were always one step ahead of Vernon most of the night. I thought Chilliwack showed a little more hustle tonight, they seemed to win most of the races. Blowing a 3-0 lead, give the Chiefs credit they didnt fold the tent and battled hard to re-take the lead off the next shift and come away with the win.
Patrick McGillis (Injured)
Vipers energy player of the game: Peter McMullen (1 goal)
1st Star: Derek Huisman (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Max Mowat (1 assist)
3rd Star: Jaret Babych (1 goal)
For more on tonight's game check out the boxscore,