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 2 as Vernon defeated Merritt 2-1 in front of 1,338 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Jarrod Schamerhorn
Merritt: Jonah Imoo
1st Period: Luke Voltin on an odd man rush in the opening minute couldnt beat Jonah Imoo who made a nice blocker save as Vernon with a good opportunity off the opening faceoff. The Vipers would get an early powerplay just 1:34 into the 1st. Vernon with five shots on the man advantage would get none better then Edmonton Oilers draft pick Liam Coughlin who somehow missed a wide open net firing up and over the top of the goal on a missed opportunity. The Vipers unable to capitalize after several shots and good pressure. Just a few minutes later Thomas Aldworth in for the parcial breakaway was stoned by the left pad of Imoo as the Cents goaltender stretched out to make a big save off the big Texan. Vernon with all kinds of pressure were all over Merritt early and often. Mackenzie Bauer couldnt solve Imoo after the former Powell River Kings netminder made a quick glove hand save off the Viper rookie. A few minutes later Mitchell Oliver's point shot was tipped in front was stopped by Jonah Imoo as the Cents couldnt get out of their own end. Vernon was outshooting Merritt 10-1 at the midway mark before Jake Clifford's point shot was redirected past Jarrod Schamerhorn by Cole Chorney giving Merritt the 1-0 lead at 10:14 on just the Centennials second shot of the period. Clifford & Stephen Seeger collected the helpers. This goal seemed to change the momentum of the game as the Cents got some life and were now in the game, with the lead. Merritt slowly started to come on in the second half and finally able to generate some pressure in the Viper defensive zone. The Centennials playing with alot more confidence in the second half had a slight edge in play didnt generate much for chances were now outshooting Vernon 5-2 since their goal. Kenny Citron come up with a big defensive play broke up Gavin Gould on a odd man rush before the Centennials would get their first powerplay of the night, late wich would continue into the 2nd period. Merritt was up 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers just like in Game 1 had several great opportunties couldnt solve Jonah Imoo. Vernon carried the play and dominated the first half couldnt capitalize on their chances. Jonah Imoo made some big saves, gave his team a chance to stay in the game. Merritt would open the scoring and come back with a good push to finish the frame. Vernon outshot Merritt 14-6.
2nd Period: The Cents started the period on the man advantage that was carried over from the opening period. The Vipers were able to kill off the remaining seconds that were left on the minor before Colton McCarthy got in close just as the penalty expired but was stoned down low by Imoo who made a huge pad save in tight. Vernon continued to press with a strong attack like in the 1st period once again got some real good chances. Anthony Latina was stopped by Jonah Imoo, before Jagger Williamson setup Riley Brandt on a two on one rush before Imoo come across the crease to rob Brandt at the side of the net with a huge pad save keeping the Vipers off the scoreboard. The Vipers got a bit lucky got away twice with two many men on the ice and no call. Vernon would get their second look with the PP just before the midway mark. Thomas Aldworth with a wicked wrist shot from the top of the circle looked to beat Centennials starting goaltender Jonah Imoo but rang his shot off the crossbar and out. The goal light come on but the play continued. Merritt got some key saves on the penalty kill were able to kill off the minor before Luke Voltin with a shot from the slot was denied by Imoo. Just after the penalty expired Johnny Coughlin's point shot went in and off Luke Voltin in front as the Vipers finally solved Jonah Imoo tying the game 1-1 at 11:35 Coughlin & Mitch Meek with the assists. For a second straight period the Vipers dominating the play were all over Merritt as the Centennials needed fourteen minutes to get their first shot on goal this period. Both benches got a little heated at times as Mark Ferner and the Viper coaching staff were really giving it to the officials after two missed calls, one at either ends of the rink before Luke Pierce was really letting the referee's know what he thought of a too many men call on his hockey club. Vernon would get a late powerplay and capitalize. TJ Dumonceaux setup Liam Finlay who gave Vernon a 2-1 lead at 16:26 their first lead of the night. Dumonceaux & Liam Coughlin added the helpers. But two minutes later the Cents would get a late PP that would finish off the second frame. Moving the puck around, getting some pressure the Centennials couldnt convert were now 0-2 with the man advantage. Vernon was up 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. This period was all Vernon from start to finish as the Vipers for a second straight period were all over the Centennials. Like the opening frame Vernon with several good looks-opportunities couldnt solve Jonah Imoo before getting two in the second half took their first lead of the night. Merritt who played most of the frame in their own end struggled offensively. Vernon outshot Merritt 15-3.
3rd Period: Just twenty six seconds into the final frame Merritt would get an early powerplay after a weak call on Anthony Latina. This was the first of several trips to the penalty box, for both clubs. On the man advantage Zak Bowles with a chance from in close couldnt beat Vipers starting goaltender Jarrod Schamerhorn. The Vipers with a good penalty kill held off the Cents for a third time tonight. Just after the penalty Anthony Latina setup Jagger Williamson in front who was stoned by Imoo who made the big pad save on a play I dont think the Centennials goaltender saw the puck-shot. The Vipers looked to sit back a bit early, just getting the puck in deep before playing defence and not going in after the puck. The Cents would get some good pressure on and off had a few good minutes with solid pressure in the Vernon zone. The Vipers would get a shot with the PP and get some good looks-pressure. Thomas Aldworth with the best chance couldnt beat Imoo who once again made another big save on the penalty kill. Imoo was solid tonight and Merritt's best penalty killer as the Centennials killed off the minor. The Cents had a slight edge in play were battling and battling hard. Merritt with good sustained pressure had the Vipers back on their heels at one point before getting another shot with the powerplay. The Vipers with several shot blocks come up with a big penalty kill. Emotions and the intensity really picked up in Game 2 and slowly started to continue through out tonight's game. Both teams getting involved after the whistle were really getting in each others faces. Just as Merritt's powerplay come to an end the Vipers would get a late PP. Viper captain Riley Guenther made a smart defensive play breaking up a Centennials two on one as Vernon couldnt capitalize with the man advantage. Just as the penalty expired the Centennials looked at getting Jonah Imoo to the bench for the extra attacker but Vernon with a strong relentless forecheck killed off some valuable time off the clock hemming the Cents deep in their own zone. Imoo would race to the bench for the extra attacker with just twenty seconds remaining. Merritt with control of the puck, got deep into the Viper zone before getting a ton of traffic in front of Jarrod Schamerhorn got atleast three or four shots towards the net, but Vernon come up with atleast two or three huge shot blocks before a mad scamble in front of the Viper crease. Liam Coughlin was able to clear the front of the net and get out of his own end before the buzzer would sound as the Vipers hung on for a huge 2-1 victory taking a 2-0 series lead. A huge scrum deep in the Centennials zone formed at the buzzer before a Merritt player come flying in tried laying a huge flying elbow on a Viper was lucky enough to miss as several players started pushing and shoving before the officials stepped in and broke up the play. A wild and entertaining 3rd period with several parades to the penalty box as Merritt really stepped up their play, played their best period of the night. At times the Centennials had Vernon on the ropes in their own end just couldnt get that real good quality chance. Lots of pressure, yes but not alot of great opportunities. The Cents with a hard working period played well, as the Vipers also battled and worked hard earned the win with a solid sixty minutes. Vernon outshot Merritt 12-10.
Top Players: (Vernon)
TJ Dumonceaux (1 assist) Was really skating hard, flying all night. Played physical, laid out a huge check in the 3rd period. Played with alot of jump and energy.
The line of Blaine Caton, Linden Hora & Mackenzie Bauer really impressed me tonight. I thought the Viper fourth line played a heck of a game in a big game really battled and competed all night. All three were put into some tough situations come up with a strong performance. Hora & Bauer both had one shift that stood out, just battled and kept working to win the puck battle off of two Merritt defenders inside the Cents zone. Bauer also had atleast two good chances tonight.
Thomas Aldworth I thought played much better tonight over Game 1. Aldworth who just hasnt been or looked to be the same player the last month to two months has really struggled putting pucks in the net. Just hasnt been skating like he has shown at the start of the season looked to be skating hard tonight, really carried the flow of the game at times. Had atleast three good looks-chances come very close on the man advantage in the 2nd period hit the crossbar.
Liam Finlay (1 goal) Is this kid exciting to watch or what? A buzzsaw on the ice, everytime he touches the puck. Im still shocked the Vees traded him and to the Vipers of all teams. Skates like the wind, never stops moving his feet, really moves the puck in a hurry, creates and generates plays all night. For the second night in a row was hard to contain. Really sees and reads the ice well.
Riley Brandt another buzzsaw player had a physical-energy filled game. This kid isnt afraid of hitting anyone on the other team. Plays with alot of jump, really adds that spark to the team. A true competator played a heck of a game.
Colton McCarthy has really stepped up early in these playoffs, had a few opportunities tonight did a few of the little things that go unnoticed from the average view of a fan. The first year Viper come up with a few big block shots as well as getting in the grey areas, was hard to play against along the wall, gets under the skin of the opposing team, plays with an edge. Really battled and competed hard.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
After a not so great game last night in a game where the Vipers were lucky at times to come away with the win really stepped up their game tonight and played close to a full sixty minutes. In Game 1 Vernon played and looked good in the opening period wasnt the same team in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Tonight was a different story after the Vipers carried the majority of the play and were all over the Cents most of the night. With fourteen shots on goal in the 1st Vernon with several good opportunities couldnt solve Jonah Imoo. Down a goal things didnt look good as Imoo was stopping everything, was giving the Vipers all kinds of heart ache. Liam Finlay and Luke Voltin would solve Imoo in the 2nd period give Vernon their first lead of the night. The Vipers really used their speed and strong skating had a ton of great opportunities could have easily put away the Centennials after the opening frame if it wasnt for Merritt's goaltending. I thought the Vipers played with and showed alot more jump and emotion tonight, looked ready to go off the opening faceoff. The Viper penalty kill was good for a second straight night, I really liked Vernon's compete level, blocking alot of shots, played and battled hard all game. Tonight was the Vipers we were use to seeing on a nightly basis. A big win gives Vernon a 2-0 series lead. The Vipers didnt want to go into Merritt with the series tied. Games 3 & 4 will be very interesting on the much smaller ice surface. Vernon with just one regular season victory in Merritt this season has had their troubles in Merritt.
Top Players: (Merritt)
Cole Chorney (1 goal) I thought was one of the lone Centennial forwards that stood out in all three periods. In a game where the Cents were outplayed most of the night Chorney battled and played hard.
Jonah Imoo (39 saves) Kept his team in the game off the opening faceoff. Made some huge saves early and often to give his club a chance to be in the game and still have a chance to win the hockey game. This game could have easily been over after the first twenty minutes if it wasnt for the solid goaltending of Imoo.
Game Thought's: (Merritt)
The Cents were outplayed for the first fourty minutes before playing their best period in the 3rd. Outshot 29-9 after two periods Merritt was only down a goal and very lucky even to be in the hockey game if it wasnt for Jonah Imoo. The Centennials with a much better performance come the 3rd finally got some sustained pressure and zone time at times couldnt get the game tying goal. Merritt with very little shots-opportunities in the first two periods couldnt get the bounces to go their way in the final frame. This was a game the Cents could have won even though they were badly outplayed for two periods. Every shift John Schiavo stepped on the ice the Cents made things happen just couldnt capitalize. The physical play, emotions and intensity really picked up tonight, a much more entertaining and very exciting game tonight, felt like a playoff game with that playoff feel to it. Great to see another handfull of Centennial fans show up tonight. Two back to back tough losses for Merritt who are now 0-6 in Vernon this season return home for Games 3 & 4.
Danny Todosychuk (Injured)
Luke Shiplo (Injured)
Nicholas Rasovic (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
1st Star: Jonah Imoo (39 saves)
2nd Star: TJ Dumonceaux (1 assist)
3rd Star: Liam Finlay (1 goal)