For anyone who could not attend or watch tonight’s Vipers game here are my thoughts and views from tonight’s game. You may agree or disagree but we all have our own view and opinion on any game we watch. This is my opinion and my thoughts on how I saw tonight’s game. I try to be unbiased and give a fare recap on both sides. Thanks for stopping by & visiting my blog.
I was at tonight's Vipers-Centennials game as Vernon defeated Merritt 3-2 in overtime in front of 1,261 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Danny Todosychuk
Merritt: Jonah Imoo
1st Period: The Vipers would get three good quality chances in the opening few minutes. Liam Coughlin off the opening faceoff with a good look at the net got a shot off from the circle couldnt beat Jonah Imoo fivehole. A minute and a half into the period Johnny Coughlin was able to walk in from the point before ripping a high quick shot from the high slot was stopped by Imoo who made a quick glove save off the Viper defenceman. A few minutes later TJ Dumonceaux jumped on the loose puck that missed the net but come off the backboards couldnt beat Jonah Imoo shortside. The Centennials goaltender coming up with some solid saves early in Game 1. Vernon the more physical out of the two teams was laying the body early and often as the Vipers carried the better of the play for most of the first half. Cole Chorney took a hit from Linden Hora in the period looked to be in some discomfort was slow getting off the ice, was attended to right away by the team trainer stayed in the game. TJ Dumonceaux with two good chances, while Liam Finlay with another as the Vipers were getting some good looks at the net. Just past the halfway mark the Vipers would get the games first powerplay, with a few good looks Vernon couldnt capitalize as Merritt would kill off the minor. The Centennials seemed to gain a little confidence after killing off the penalty as Merritt slowly come back with a few good hard working shifts deep in the Viper zone. With four minutes remaining Nick Fidanza alone in the slot couldnt beat Danny Todosychuk who come up with his first test of the 1st period. The Cents with some good pressure in the final minutes had their first real look at the Viper net all period. Vernon would get a late powerplay, their second of the night and capitalize. Moving the puck around the Vipers would find TJ Dumonceaux in front who was stopped by Jonah Imoo. The Vipers with atleast four shots on the man advantage would finally solve Imoo after Anthony Latina's shot would be redirected down low by Colton McCarthy in front of the net put Vernon up 1-0 at 17:12 Latina and Brandon Egli collected the assists. Merritt with a quick response would answer Vernon's goal in a hurry, just 1:14 later Diego Cuglietta from the corner setup John Schiavo in front who beat Todosychuk fivehole tying the game 1-1 at 17:26 Cuglietta & Josh Teves with the helpers. It was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers with atleast three good quality chances in the opening minute couldnt beat Jonah Imoo as Vernon carried the better of the play for most of the 1st period. The Vipers with several good chances only managed one goal after Imoo was solid keeping his club in the game. Merritt with very little puck possession and zone time, managed to get their most pressure and chances late in the period played well the final few minutes. Vernon outshot Merritt 17-10.
2nd Period: A minute and a half into the second frame Gavin Gould with a breakaway beat Danny Todosychuk but after the net had come off its mournings as the Cents thought they had taken their first lead of the night but the goal was waived off right away. The goal light didnt even come on on the play. It was still tied 1-1. The Centennials would get their first look with the PP would get an early powerplay just over two minutes into the period. Merritt looked good early had a few looks couldnt beat Vipers starting goaltender Danny Todosychuk before TJ Dumonceaux & Liam Coughlin had a very strong penalty kill. Just as the first penalty come to an end Colton McCarthy with a parcial breakaway couldnt beat Centennials starting goaltender Jonah Imoo from in close. On the play McCarthy would take a penalty sending Merritt back to the powerplay. Another solid penalty kill and the Vipers would kill off both minors. The play then really slowed down and become very scrambled on both sides. Very few scoring chances with not alot of flow to the game made for some pretty boring playoff hockey. Vernon would get their third powerplay of the night, first of the period. Anthonay Latina with a great look couldnt beat Jonah Imoo as the Centennials with a big penalty kill were back to even strength. With six minutes remaining Jake Clifford made a huge defensive play, breaking up a Vernon two on one. The Vipers slowly come on late had a few good shifts, were able to create a few opportunities would eventually take the lead late. Mitch Meek skated into the Cents zone untouched before ripping a shot at the net was stopped by Jonah Imoo who couldnt control the rebound before Thomas Aldworth went hard to the net put home the loose puck giving Vernon a 2-1 lead at 15:55 Meek & TJ Dumonceaux picked up the assists. Merritt battled back and then carried the play in the final few minutes as the Vipers having some defensive lapses couldnt clear the zone, after several turnovers inside their own end the Vipers were lucky enough to escape without giving up a goal as the Centennials with all kinds of pressure late couldnt tie the game. It was 2-1 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. The Cents with a good strong start to the period thought they had scored in the first minute and a half, had the net come off before the puck went in on a Gavin Gould breakaway. Merritt with back to back powerplays couldnt convert before a very dull, slow and very scrambled period at both ends of the rink. Very little scoring chances at either end until the Vipers would get some decent chances in the final five or six minutes before taking the lead. Merritt outplayed Vernon also outshot Vernon 11-10.
3rd Period: Michael Ederer couldnt connect on a pass going hard to the net off the opening faceoff as the Centennials come close to tying the game in the opening few seconds. A few minutes later Linden Hora setup Mackenzie Bauer who got a good look at the net couldnt beat Jonah Imoo who made a big stop early. A few shifts later Thomas Aldworth setup Liam Coughlin on a two on one attack, before getting in too deep ran out of space hit the outside of the net. Both teams were fairly even for most of the first half before Centennials had some good pressure and chances. Cole Arcuri with a point shot found its way through traffic in front couldnt beat Danny Todosychuk who made a difficult but yet huge pad save keeping this a one goal game. Just before the midway mark Todosychuk made his biggest save of the night stopping a Centennial forward at the side of the net while down and out had his back to the Merritt player somehow stopped the puck but couldnt hold onto the rebound. A mad scramble in and around the blue paint Todosychuk was on his knees trying to cover the puck. Finally smothering the puck, getting a whistle Riley Brandt come in and laid out a huge hit on a Merritt player sending him into the back of the net. A scrum formed inbehind the Viper goal as everyone piled into each other, started pushing and shoving, getting their gloves in the faces of one another. Danny Todosychuk was very slow to get up looked to have injured his right leg had the trainer come out to check on him. Todosychuk was very slow moving around looked to be in some discomfort stayed in the game. On the same play the Centennials would get a powerplay on Brandt who was called for charging. With Merritt on the man advantage Todosychuk was very slow in reacting to the Centennial shots, made two saves looked in alot of discomfort was very slow getting up once again. With the Viper goaltender in discomfort Merritt would get a late two man advantage. Todosychuk struggling just to make a save, was still between the pipes as the Vipers killed off the first penalty before TJ Dumonceaux would spring for a shorthanded breakaway couldnt beat Imoo who made a huge save with his team down a goal. Vernon with a big penalty kill would escape and kill off the double minor. Merritt now slowly coming on strong late were forcing the play, looked to be firing shots towards the Viper goal and Danny Todosychuk. With time winding down Merritt would get a late powerplay, Todosychuk would make his last save couldnt get up off the ice, was down on both knees in several pain struggled to get back up on his feet would finish the last shift before the next stopage in play. Todosychuk would get pulled from the game in favor of former Merritt Centennials goaltender Jarrod Schamerhorn. Todosychuk slamed his stick on the ice heading off before storming into the Viper dressingroom, didnt return for the remainder of the game. Todosychuk gave up just one goal on thirty three shots before leaving the game due to an injury. On the following faceoff Josh Teves was stopped by Schamerhorn before the rebound went in and off a Viper defenceman in front as the Cents tied the game with the man advantage at 18:02 Gavin Gould would get credited with the game tying goal. Teves and Shane Poulsen picked up the assists. It would remain tied 2-2 after 60 minutes of play. Both teams would get some good opportunities early couldnt find the back of the net before Merritt with three straight powerplays would eventually tie the game late to force overtime. Vernon got into penalty trouble but also left Danny Todosychuk in the game way too long. The kid could barley move-react to a save without looking to be in pain. Couldnt get up off the ice on a few shots should have been pulled from the game after his injury. The Centennials didnt quit, kept plugging away were now looking to steal Game 1. Merritt outshot Vernon 14-8.
Overtime: In the opening minute and a half Zak Bowles with a good look at the net couldnt beat Jarrod Schamerhorn from the high slot. The extra frame wouldnt last long after Liam Finlay picked up the puck on a Centennials turnover deep inside their own end spotted a wide open Anthony Latina in the slot went high glove past Jonah Imoo gave the Vipers a huge 3-2 overtime victory at 3:28 as the Viper bench erupted piling onto the ice. Finlay with the lone assist. The Cents with a great chance early into overtime turned over the puck in their own end wich ended up being on the game winning goal. Vernon outshot Merritt 3-2.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Mitch Meek played a heck of a game on the Vernon blueline. I thought he really played with alot of confidence and jumped up into the play often. Was solid on the backend defensively as well as good with the puck.
Liam Coughlin I thought played fairly well through out the game. Wasnt really skating hard but made some very smart plays on the penalty kill. I thought he was really reading the play well, didnt make that quick pass or take that first shot before taking a look at his surroundings. Had a few good opportunities tonight, none better then his breakaway after Thomas Aldworth sent him in for the parcial breakaway.
The line of Anthony Latina (1 goal & 1 assist), Jagger Williamson & Liam Finlay (1 assist) was very strong all night. Latina played very well through out the game, had several good chances through out the contest, was skating and going to the net. Finlay was the hardest skating Viper this evening, was skating miles all over the rink. Really used his speed and quickness to create and generate chances. Very quick on his feet, not one of the bigger kids out there was very hard for Merritt to contain.
TJ Dumonceaux (1 assist) Played with good jump and energy, was physical in the opening period but didnt think he played the body as much in periods two and three. Was another player that was very good on the PK, reads the ice and the play well.
Linden Hora I thought was skating hard, playing in his first playoff game looked to have some confidence played very well tonight.
Riley Brandt had a big physical game, had the biggest hits of the night. Battled and competed all night. Played with a ton of energy, played a very rugged physical game.
Colton McCarthy (1 goal) I thought played well other then his two penalties. Looked to be skating well, was going to the net often, had some good looks at the net, opened the scoring for Vernon on the powerplay. A bigger body is hard to contain and move from in front of the net. Played with confidence.
Danny Todosychuk (32 saves) Made his third straight start, made some key saves through out the game before leaving the game with just over two minutes remaining in the 3rd period. The Viper goaltender was hurt-looked to get injured during a scramble in front of the Viper goal just before the halfway mark. Todosychuk stayed in the game until the final two minutes was in pain and discomfort had troubles reacting to a save and getting up off the ice.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
The Vipers with a very good opening period fired seventeen shots at Jonah Imoo only managed to get one past the Centennials goaltender had some very good chances in the 1st period outplayed Merritt most of the frame. The Vipers had the majority of the chances. The 2nd and 3rd periods were a different story. Vernon looked very slow-tired in the second frame were outplayed. The Vipers with nearly not as many scoring chances compared to after the opening frame. A very sloppy and scrambled 2nd period made for some very unentertaining playoff hockey. The Vipers with very little scoring opportunities turned over the puck several times, had troubles defensively were lucky to come out of the middle frame with the lead. Vernon played a little better to start the 3rd before getting into penaty trouble. Once again were outplayed at times just didnt have that jump or energy they normally play with. This game lacked that emotion-playoff feel. The Vipers were lucky to come away with the win after a lackluster 2nd and 3rd periods. I wonder why the Vipers would leave Danny Todosychuk in the game when clearly the kid was having all kinds of trouble stopping pucks. The Viper goaltender looked in all kinds of discomfort and pain was in no shape to still be between the pipes. You gotta wonder now how long will he be out for? Todosychuk has been injured several times this season and in the past. I questioned keeping him at the BCHL card deadline, due to past injuries. Lets hope Danny is ok and is back in a hurry. The Vipers passing just didnt seem to be on the same page, Vernon looked slow and sluggish at times in the 2nd and 3rd periods. The Vipers quit hitting after the first twenty minutes better pick up their game if they want to advance to the second round. Vernon had the better scoring chances really missed Luke Shiplo on the backend.
Top Players': (Merritt)
Rhett Willcox played with some jump, was involved in the play, was skating hard, going to the net played well through out the game.
Gavin Gould (1 goal) Was by far the Centennials best player in Game 1. Gould who played with a ton of jump & energy was flying all night. Really skating hard, created and generated opportunities had a strong game.
Brandon Duhaime played very well. A good skater, moves the puck well, was another Merritt player that was involved in the play.
Jonah Imoo (37 saves) Made 16 saves in the 1st period, really giving his team a chance to win and be in the game. Imoo with several big-key saves was very solid all night. Dosnt give out any rebounds, is good smothering the puck, plays his position well.
Game Thought's: (Merritt)
The Centennials fall to 2-6 vs the Vipers this season, are now 0-5 in Vernon this year. (regular season and playoffs) Merritt should have been down atleast three or four goals in the 1st period got some solid goaltending managed to stay in the game even though being outplayed were tied 1-1 after the first twenty minutes. The Centennials had a much better 2nd and 3rd periods started skating, moving the puck, forced the Viper defence into several turnovers, were the better of the two teams in the 2nd and 3rd periods. The Cents are a hard working team that dosnt give you alot of time and space, really slows down the game, clogs up the neutral zone, makes for some very boring hockey. Merritt dosnt get alot of scoring chances or puck possession has to capitalize on their limited opportunities if they want to win games and this series. Overall a very boring, scrambled game with not alot of playoff feel to the game. Great to see a handfull of Centennial fans at the game in front of a very poor crowd for the opening game of the playoffs.
Luke Shiplo (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
Liam Finlay (1 assist)
1st Star: Anthony Latina (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Gavin Gould (1 goal)
3rd Star: Thomas Aldworth (1 goal)