I was at tonight's BCHL game as Salmon Arm defeated Vernon 3-2 in overtime in front of 1,220 fans at the Sunwave Centre.
Vernon: Kirby Halcrow
Salmon Arm: Kurt Williams
1st Period: Just fourty five seconds into the opening period the Vipers would get the games first powerplay but with just two shots on goal and no real scoring chance the Silverbacks killed off the minor. Kirby Halcrow was then forced to made a nice pad save from in close. Not alot of scoring opportunities at either ends of the rink in a very scrambly game. Salmon Arm would get their first powerplay of the night just before the midway mark, Captain Brett Knowles thought he opened the scoring as the goal light come on but Knowles shot beat Halcrow but went off the post as the Silverbacks with no real chances couldnt capitalize. Brett Knowles would get a good chance in close but couldnt beat Halcrow. A scramble in front of the Vernon net and the puck bouncing around in the crease but the Backs were unalbe to get the puck through a maze of players. Marcus Basara with Vernon's only real good scoring opportunity used his wheels flying down the left wing, cut around his d-man and drove hard towards the net couldnt get the puck past Kurt Williams who stopped Basara and then had to be sharp making two quick back to back saves off the rebound keeping the Vipers off the board. Neither team with any real pressure made for a dull period. It was 0-0 after 20 minutes of play. Shots were even 9-9.
2nd Period: Salmon Arm come out with alot of jump early getting some good pressure inside the Vipers zone but were unable to generate any real good quality chances in the opening few minutes. Shortly after Brett Corkey's shot from the point was re-directed in the slot by Adam Tambellini whos shot just missed the far corner on a great chance by the Vipers. On the same play Tambellini would beat Kurt Williams down low giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 5:12 Tambellini's goal was unassisted. Morgan Zulinick with a great chance to tie the game was setup in front but Zulinick's shot missed the whole open side of the net going through the crease and into the end wall. A Vernon turnover in the neutral zone forced a Salmon Arm odd man rush. Brad Robinson fed Shane Hanna who went in on the parcial breakaway putting a nice move around and past Kirby Halcrow tying the game 1-1 at 11:35 Robinson and Jeff Kennedy picked up the assists. A small delay after the goal as it was the Silverbacks annual teddy bear toss. Just under two minutes later "AP" Bryden Marsh was stopped in close by Halcrow who couldnt stop Garrett Hendrickson on the rebound who put Salmon Arm up 2-1 at 13:24 with Marsh and Kidy Dhaliwal collecting the helpers. Shortly after Darren Nowick from the slot was stopped by Williams. Brendan Persley and Devin Muller exchanged words giving each other a shot before a faceoff got both players penalties. The Vipers with fourteen shots in the 2nd period but most of Vernon's shots were fired right at Kurt Williams who was forced to make the routine save. A very scrambled period with no real flow to tonights game as neither team could get much of anything going. The Silverbacks with a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 14-9.
3rd Period: Salmon Arm carried most of the play early to start the final frame but couldnt generate any real pressure or scoring chances. Mak Barden would get a breakaway five minutes into the 3rd but was stopped by Halcrow who made a nice save keeping his team in the game. Just shortly after the Silverbacks would get a powerplay, some good pressure early setting up Brett Knowles who was stopped by Halcrow. Morgan Zulinick alone in the slot fired high and over the Vernon goal as the Vipers would kill off the minor. Just past the midway mark the Vipers would get a four minute powerplay, Darren Nowick's pass setup Aaron Hadley in front who tied the game 2-2 at 11:56 Nowick and Brett Corkey with the assists. Vernon still on the powerplay lost control of the puck wich allowed a foot race between Brett Knowles and Kirby Halcrow. Halcrow come way out of his net to get the puck clearing the puck right back to Knowles who went around a diving Halcrow before Darren Nowick showed some good hustle getting back into the play and making a diving save to keep the puck out as the Backs come very close to re-taking the lead shorthanded. Kurt Williams took a hard Vernon shot off the mask as Salmon Arm would kill off the minor. The Vipers seem to gain a little momentum and slowly started to come on late in the hockey game. The Vipers who carried the play for most of the remainder of the 3rd had some good pressure deep in the Silverbacks zone. With the clock winding down Max Mowat walked in from the slot ripping a quick shot that beat Williams but hit the post with thirty seconds remaining. The Vipers with some good pressure were the better team in the second half forced overtime for the second straight night. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 13-7.
Overtime: Just eighteen seconds into overtime Geoff Crisfield hauled down Brett Knowles in front giving the Backs an early man advantage. Crisfield saved the game for the Vipers as Knowles would have had a tap in goal if it wasnt for Crisfield taking down the Backs captain. On the powerplay Salmon Arm moved the puck around well, with no shots and already a minute off the clock Morgan Zulinick setup Sean Flanagan who walked in from the point and ripped his shot past Halcrow at 3:34 giving Salmon Arm the 3-2 ot victory for the second straight night. The Vipers bench looked stunned as the team just stood on the bench as nobody moved while the Silverbacks poured onto the ice. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 1-0.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Max Mowat played well on the Vernon backend. I thought Mowat looked good defensively and come very close to winning the game hitting the post with just thirty seconds remaining in the 3rd.
Adam Tambellini (1 goal) Who has been very quiet latley played well in tonights game. Come up with a few scoring plays.
Brendan Persley played fairly well in his second game with the Vipers. Had atleast two good body checks and seemed to add some energy and spark to the Vernon lineup.
Marcus Basara was really skating hard tonight, seemed to play with alot of jump and energy. Really used his speed tonight to generate and create some chances.
Game Thoughts: (Vernon)
After a tough overtime loss last night I thought the Vipers looked very disorganized out their tonight. A very scrambly game with no real at both ends of the rink. The Vipers just looked lost at times and didnt generate a whole lot of scoring chances. The Viper defence didnt look very good either. I thought the team lacked direction, didnt look like everyone was on the same page at times. The Vipers have no confidence right now and are lacking some veteran experience and leadership. The Vipers are struggling and after a 7-0 start it seems the team hasnt been the same without Patrick McGillis in the lineup. The effort was their but just looked like no real game plan at times. It wasnt until the four minute powerplay when the Vipers tied the game that Vernon finally started to get their game going and carried the better of the play and come up with some good pressure. I didnt think Vernon played all that great until the final eight minutes or so. Most of the Viper shots were fired right at Kurt Williams who saw most of Vernon's shots. Vernon with now six straight losses has a tough week-weekend coming up with a re-match vs Penticton and then a home and home vs a strong Cents team that is playing their best hockey of the season. Its been so long I cant remember the last time a Vernon team lost six straight. This week-weekend will be a tough test for the club playing two tough teams in Penticton and Merritt.
Top Players: (Salmon Arm)
Brendan Kennedy and Bennett Hambrook both played well defensively. Hambrook a former Viper d-man made atleast two big shot blocks and looked very good on the Backs blueline.
Morgan Zulinick (1 assist) Played very well tonight for Salmon Arm. Zulinick with some good opportunities was good with and without the puck.
Sean Flanagan (OT Winner) Played very well on the Silverbacks backend. Saw alot of icetime tonight.
Kody Dhaliwal (1 assist) Played with alot of energy, worked hard and showed lots of hustle. Went into the corners and played a very gritty game. Dhaliwal took a check in the Salmon Arm zone in the 3rd and was slow to get to the bench. I dont recall seeing him for the remainder of the game and overtime.
Brett Knowles had atleast three good chances tonight. Played another good game for the Backs.
Brad Robinson (1 assist) Played fairly well tonight.
Bryden Marsh "AP" (1 assist) Played fairly well tonight, didnt look out of place.
Game Thoughts: (Salmon Arm)
This was a tough game to get any kind of read on either team as alot of scrambly play at both ends of the rink. Salmon Arm didnt really get alot of pressure on the Vipers. Not alot of scoring chances from both teams. Give the Silverbacks credit for two pretty big back to back OT wins over Vernon. I thought the Silverbacks did a pretty good job at keeping the Vipers to the outside and allowing Kurt Williams to see most of the Vernon shots.
Patrick McGillis (Injured)
Luke Juha (Injured)
Colton Sparrow (Injured)
Ryan Renz (Injured)
Silverbacks energy player of the game: Kody Dhaliwal
1st Star: Sean Flanagan (OT Winner)
2nd Star: Shane Hanna (1 Goal)
3rd Star: Kurt Williams (34 Saves)
For more on tonight's game visit the boxscore,