I was at tonight's BCHL game as Salmon Arm defeated Vernon 3-2 in overtime in front of 1,886 fans at the Wesbild Centre.
Vernon: Kirby Halcrow
Salmon Arm: Kurt Williams
1st Period: Just fifty one seconds into the opening period the Salmon Arm Silverbacks would get the games first powerplay. A solid penalty kill by the Vipers only allowed one shot that by Backs captain, Brett Knowles who was stopped after Kirby Halcrow made a nice glove save as the Vipers killed off the minor. The play was fairly even for the next five minutes as both teams went back and forth. The Vernon Vipers would get their first opportunity of the night after Colton Sparrow from behind the net setup Aaron Hadley at the side of the crease but couldnt beat Kurt Williams who come across getting his upper body in the way to make the save. Salmon Arm would get a second powerplay but it was Vernon who would come up with the scoring chance after Marcus Basara setup Viper newcomer, Brendan Persley who made his Vipers debut tonight. Persley in close made a nice move but was stopped after Williams made a nice pad save down low. Brett Knowles with his second opportunity of the night couldnt connect on a pass that came through the slot. Still on the man advantage, Garrett Hendrickson got a lucky bounce after the puck went off a player in front before Hendrickson would collect the bouncing puck and beat Halcrow giving the Backs a 1-0 lead at 7:58 Dhaliwal picked up the lone assist on the powerplay goal. The Vipers slowly started to carry the better of the play in the second half of the opening period. Kurt Williams come out to challenge making a nice save off Alex Hagen from the circle, Williams who played very well in the 1st gave his team a chance to win tonight. Vernon who looked and played much better tonight seemed to be skating and playing with alot more jump after a 6-1 loss to Penticton Wednesday. The Vipers with several good scoring opportunities couldnt capitalize were down 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers played very well in the opening period outshooting Salmon Arm 12-7.
2nd Period: The Silverbacks would get a powerplay just thirty three seconds into the period couldnt generate much offence after a solid Viper penalty kill. Just as the penalty expired Vernon with a nice long stretch pass found Mike Zalewski coming out of the penalty box, Zalewski carried the puck in over the Backs blueline cut hard towards the net before leaving the puck for Darren Nowick who tipped the puck in and past Williams tying the game 1-1 at 2:44 on a nice little give and go between Nowick and Zalewski. Zalewski and John Knisley with the helpers. Just after the goal the Vipers would get their first powerplay of the night. The Vipers would capitalize scoring back to back goals just over a minute apart after Mike Zalewski setup Darren Nowick at 3:51 for his second goal of the evening giving Vernon a 2-1 lead. Zalewski and Brett Corkey with the assists. Salmon Arm would jump back on another powerplay just a few minutes later couldnt capitalize after another solid Vernon penalty kill. Tempers heated just before the midway mark after Geoff Crisfield with a big check on Jeff Kennedy. The Silverbacks tried coming right back laying out atleast two big checks of their own before both teams gathered near center ice where some pushing and shoving occured. Both hockey clubs showing some emotion after a few big hits. The Vipers would get just their second man advantage at the midway mark and looked very good with the powerplay. The Vipers with a nice three way passing play couldnt finish, then Brett Corkey's point shot got through traffic but Vernon couldnt bury the puck on the rebound in the crease. Adam Tambellini alone in the circle just missed the top corner on a great chance. The Vipers looked very good with the man advantage but again couldnt capitalize on their chances as the Silverbacks would kill off the minor. Just shortly after Peter McMullen walked through the slot but was stopped by Kurt Williams. Just like the 1st period Vernon started to carry the better of the play and was the better of the two teams in the second half. Alex Hagen couldnt get the puck past Williams who played well between the pipes. Salmon Arm didnt generate alot of offence in the 2nd period recording just eight shots and only mustered two shots in the final seven minutes of play. Brendan Persley played with alot of energy also was the Vipers most physical player laying out some solid checks in the middle frame. The Vipers would get a late powerplay wich would carry over into the 3rd. Brett Knowles shorthanded couldnt connect or catch up to a loose puck in the dying few seconds as Knowles was very close to gettingt a breakaway. Vernon with two quick back to back goals early to start the 2nd were up 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers were the better of the two teams outshooting the Backs 18-8.
3rd Period: Vernon with fifty four seconds left with a man advantage couldnt grab an early two goal lead. Mike Zalewski from the slot missed the net on a chance where you have to atleast make the goaltender try and make a save. Zalewski has to hit the net from this spot. Peter McMullen with a good chance was stopped by Kurt Williams as Salmon Arms penalty kill was very good killing off the minor. The Vipers with already two defenceman out of the lineup with injuries got a bit of a scare in the 3rd after Max Mowat took a knee-leg to the head from one of his own players in behind Kirby Halcrow. Mowat with a bit of a bloody nose went to the bench but stayed in the hockey game. The Silverbacks got off to a good start playing with lots of jump played their best period of the night. The Backs with an early powerplay come very close to tying the game after former Penticton Vees forward, Myles McCauley beat Halcrow but hit the post. The Vipers would excape and kill off the penalty. Devin Muller with a chance couldnt beat Kirby Halcrow. Salmon Arm with some good pressure at times didnt generate alot of chances in the 3rd. The play became scrambly at times in the first half as Vernon with just one shot in the first ten minutes of play. Vernon would get another shot with the man advantage but a solid penalty kill by the Salmon Arm Silverbacks were playing a tight defensive period. Late in the game Garrett Hendrickson's shot from the side wall caught Kirby Halcrow napping or off gaurd as Hendrickson's long shot went high in the air before ringing square off the crossbar as Salmon Arm come very close to tying the game. The Backs would get Kurt Williams to the bench for the extra attacker with about 1:30 remaining before the Silverbacks would get a late powerplay. A strong penalty kill early kept the Silverbacks to the outside before Salmon Arm moved the puck around the box setting up Sean Flanagan's point shot that beat Halcrow at 18:17 tying the game forcing overtime. The Silverbacks worked very hard, played a solid defensive game forced overtime. The Backs outshot the Vipers 9-2.
Overtime: Garrett Hendrickson and Darren Nowick both with chances in the extra period couldnt end the hockey game. Failry even play in overtime you knew one teams four game losing streak would come to an end and tonight it was the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Brendan Kennedy with a long pass found Devin Muller who broke through the Vernon defence going in for the breakaway beating Kirby Halcrow at 4:58 sending the Backs bench leaping over the boards in a huge celebration as Salmon Arm defeated Vernon 3-2 in overtime for their first win of the season over the Vipers. Shots were even 3-3.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Brett Corkey (1 assist) Played well on the Vipers blueline. Corkey jumped up into the rush on several occasions played well at both ends of the rink.
Riley Hunt played with alot of energy, showed lots of jump in his game. Wasnt afraid to get involved in a few scrums after the whistle. Really skated and worked hard this evening.
The line of John Knisley (1 assist), Mike Zalewski (2 assists) and Darren Nowick (2 goals) was Vernon's best unit. Zalewski and Nowick both were skating hard and come up with some real good chances through out tonights game.
Colton Sparrow was another player that worked hard, battled and competed. Sparrow did all the dirty work down low, in and around the net working hard and battling for the puck.
Brendan Persley made his Vipers debut tonight after beinf released from the WHL Victoria Royals this week. Persley who started the 2009-10 season in Vernon left for the WHL Chilliwack Bruins. The Kelowna native was very impressive named the Vipers energy player of the game. Was Vernon's most physical player laying out some big checks through out tonights game. Played with alot of jump and energy adding some spark to the Vipers lineup.
Geoff Crisfield played very well on the Vipers backend. Played physical, was very strong defensively.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
The Vipers who are now 2-1 against Salmon Arm this season have now lost five straight games. I thought Vernon deserved a better fait after being the better of the two teams for the first two periods. After a pretty disapointing 6-1 loss vs Penticton Wednesday I thought the Vipers come out ready to play tonight, they skated hard, played with some jump and had some real good chances in the first two periods but couldnt capitalize. I thought the Vipers did alot of good things tonight. Vernon was fourty three seconds away from a win but gave up the game tying goal before falling in OT. A tough loss but a great chance for redemption with a re-match tomorrow night in Salmon Arm. I cant remember the last time a Vernon team lost five in a row?
Top Players: (Salmon Arm)
Brendan Kennedy (1 assist) Played very well on the Backs blueline. Kennedy was one of Salmon Arms better d-men tonight. Really sees and reads the ice well, made a nice stretch pass to find Devin Muller wich setup the OT winner.
Brett Knowles who usally always plays well or has big games vs Vernon played well. Had atleast two maybe three scoring opportunities but couldnt capitalize.
Garrett Hendrickson (1 goal) Was one of the Silverbacks better forwards tonight opening the scoring on the man advantage. A good skater that moves the puck well and also sees the ice well.
Devin Muller (Overtime Winner) Was also very good up front for Salmon Arm. Come up with a few good scoring chances. Can be dangerous with the puck.
Kurt Williams (33 saves) Made some key saves in the opening period keeping the score 1-0. Williams who played well positionally gave his club a chance to win. Made a few big saves in the 2nd period keeping it a one goal game.
Game Thoughts: (Salmon Arm)
The Silverbacks who snapped a four game losing streak hung on at times through the 1st and 2nd periods before really stepping up their game in the 3rd and playing their best hockey of the night. The Backs who gave up several scoring chances in the first two periods relid on their goaltender to bail them out. Give credit to Salmon Arm who didnt quit and battled hard in the 3rd to tie the game before winning it in overtime. I thought the Silverbacks defence played very well in the 3rd shutting down the Vipers offence giving up just two Vernon shots. Salmon Arm really limited Vernon's scoring chances in the 3rd. For a team that has struggled all season picked up a huge win in the first of a home and home series. Overall a pretty good hockey game. The Backs with a short bench had four regulars out of the lineup.
Patrick McGillis (Injured)
Luke Juha (Injured)
Ryan Renz (Injured)
Vipers energy player of the game: Brendan Persley
1st Star: Devin Muller (Overtime Winner)
2nd Star: Darren Nowick (2 goals)
3rd Star: Mike Zalewski (2 assists)
For more on tonight's game visit the boxscore,