Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vipers Squeeze By Trail:

This is posted on the Vipers website:

Vipers squeeze by Trail

by don klepp | Added 2011-11-12

Darren Nowick’s goal in double overtime gave the Vernon Vipers a 2-1 win in Trail on Saturday.

The Smoke Eaters did not look like a team that had lost their previous two games by a combined score of 18-4. They outworked the Vipers for long periods in the game and played tough defence, even though they were playing for the third time in four nights.

The visiting Vipers relied heavily on goaltender Kirby Halcrow in the game, as he stopped 31 of 32 shots. Although many of them came from long range, he had to be alert and quick to stop three point blank opportunities that resulted from caroms off the Cominco Arena’s lively back boards.

His best save came against Trail’s main sniper, Clayton Chessa, at 14:23 of the third period, with the score at 1-1. Chessa was being hounded on the play by John Knisley, who drew the Vipers’ eighth penalty of the contest. It resulted in Trail’s sixth power play, but strong Viper penalty killing kept the game tied.

In overtime, Trail got a seventh chance with the man advantage when a linesman thought the Vipers had too many players on the ice. Again, Halcrow and his defenders held the fort, which set the stage for Nowick’s winner.

At the beginning of the second overtime, the Vipers controlled the opening draw and worked the puck into the Trail zone. Mike Zalewski won a battle along the left boards and fed Nowick who worked his way to the high slot. Moving laterally to follow Nowick’s move, netminder James D’Andrea opened his pads briefly and Nowick’s quick wrister went through the five-hole.

The goal ruined a fine effort by D’Andrea, who had matched Halcrow, save for save. The other shot to slip by him came at 17:27 of the opening period, on a breakaway by Colton Sparrow, who was sprung loose on the left wing by Marcus Basara’s pinpoint pass.

That goal stood up until 18:16 of the second period, when Garrett McMullen had a bouncer come to him in the slot during a power play. His wrist shot took a slight deflection on its way past Halcrow.

The Vipers dressed five defenceman for the game, with Brett Corkey and Luke Juha in Langley with Team Canada West. Forwards Adam Tambellini and Aaron Hadley were also in Langley, so the Vipers went with a line of 16-year-olds, Riley Hunt, Cole Sanford, and Michael Roberts.

“At times,” said Coach Jason Williamson, “the kids were our best line tonight because they worked hard and kept things simple. We need that effort from all out players, against a team like Trail that showed that showed they really wanted to win.”

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