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 tonights Vipers-Centennials Interior Division Semifinal Game 4 as Vernon defeated Merritt 6-5 in front of 888 fans at the Nicola Valley Arena.
Vernon: Jarrod Schamerhorn
Merritt: Jonah Imoo
1st Period: The Vipers would get the games first powerplay just over three minutes into the opening period and capitalize just seven seconds into the man advantage. Riley Guenther setup Mankenzie Bauer down low who beat Jonah Imoo giving Vernon an early 1-0 lead at 3:25 Guenther & Liam Finlay collected the helpers. The Centennials come right back with a hard working shift, come very close to tying the game on the following shift after a pass from the side of the Viper net went through the crease and into the corner on a close call. Merritt continued with a strong forecheck were battling hard before back come the Vipers on an odd man rush. Mackenzie Bauer setup a wide open Blaine Caton who went topshelf on Jonah Imoo gave Vernon a 2-0 lead at 5:56 Bauer and "AP" Michael Roberts picked up the assists. Once again Merritt come back with a hard working shift before getting their first powerplay of the night. Fifteen seconds before the PP was over Colin Grannary spotted Cole Arcuri who was able to walk in from the slot and wire a high shot high glove side past former Merritt Centennials goaltender Jarrod Schamerhorn cutting the Vernon lead to 2-1 at 9:37 Grannary and Michael Ederer picked up the assists. Just over a minute later the Vipers would get their second look with the PP and come very close to grabbing a two goal lead. Viper captain Riley Guenther ripped a hard shot from the blueline was stopped by Imoo who made a big pad save before Liam Finlay couldnt burry the rebound at the side of the net on a missed opportunity. Just less then two minutes later the Vipers restored the two goal lead after Riley Guenther's shot beat Jonah Imoo giving Vernon a 3-1 lead at 12:48 Guenther's goal was unassisted. On the following shift the Centennials would get their second man advantage of the night and capitalize. Shane Poulsen walked in from the point before ripping a shottop corner getting Merritt to within a goal 3-2 at 14:36 Stephan Seeger and Gavin Gould collected the helpers. It seemed like everything fired towards the net at this point in the hockey game was going in at both ends of the rink. The Cents kept pressing and come on strong to finish the period, carrying the better of the play had good sustained pressure deep in the Viper zone. Vernon having trouble clearing the zone on several occassions were caught running around inside the blueline at times. Merritt with some nice puck movement had some good looks at the net. Colton McCarthy would get a breakaway with a minute remaining but couldnt beat Jonah Imoo who just got a peice of McCarthy's shot as the puck was rolling towards the goal line before a Centennial player come back in a hurry to clear the puck from the crease. Jagger Williamson with some smarts went hard to the net collected the loose puck couldnt beat Imoo on the rebound as the Vipers with two solid opportunities in the final minute. With just seconds to go in the frame Rhett Wilcox had a hold of Thomas Aldworth's stick as Aldworth was fighting for his stick before the two took a swing at one another before both players wrestled to the ground at the buzzer. Vernon was up 3-2 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers with a good start to the game jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Centennials quickly responded making it a one goal game. Vernon would regain the two goal lead before the Cents once again got within a goal. The play was fairly even in the first half before Merritt slowly took over a slight edge in play in the second half. With the Centennials season on the line the Cents were really pushing in the final five or six minutes. Vernon outshot Merritt 10-9.
2nd Period: Centennials captain Sam Johnson come close to tying the game in the opening minute couldnt beat Vipers starting goaltender Jarrod Schamerhorn on a wrap around. The Cents come out with lots of energy jumped on Vernon early. Merritt with good sustained pressure had the early edge in play were really buzzing in and around the Viper net. The Centennials come close to tying the game on a few passing plays couldnt connect on someone's stick in front. Liam Coughlin would get a good look at the net before getting a quick low shot off from the circle just a few minutes into the second period was stopped by Centennials starting goaltender Jonah Imoo who was forced to make a big save. The Vipers with very little pressure played most of the period in their own end. Shane Poulsen was able to walk in untouched from the point was robbed by Schamerhorn. The former Centennials netminder come up big making a big save off John Schiavo at the side of the net. Colin Grannary & Michael Ederer went in on a Centennials two on one, Grannary would keep and shoot but couldnt beat Jarrod Schamerhorn who made a big save before Ederer tried getting a shot off on the rebound couldnt find the net. Merritt would get the periods first powerplay and get their second PP goal of the game. With the puck in the feet of Jarrod Schamerhorn the Cents with two or three cracks at the loose puck had a scramble in front of the Viper net before Diego Cuglietta put home the loose puck tying the game 3-3 at 10:37 Stephan Seeger & Shane Poulsen with the assists. Merritt was outshooting Vernon 7-3 at the halfway mark were all over the Vipers. A shot from the point gave Schamerhorn a little trouble after the Viper goaltender almost miss played the shot, Vernon would clear the zone before Liam Coughlin setup TJ Dumonceaux who ripped a shot topshlef past Jonah Imoo giving Vernon a 4-3 lead at 15:00 Coughlin with the lone assist. Just seven seconds later the Cents would get a second powerplay, Shane Poulsen with a slap pass setup Gavin Gould at the side of the goal somehow couldnt beat Schamerhorn as the Viper netminder was making some big saves this period. The Vipers were able to excape and kill off the minor. Just after the penalty expired Diego Cuglietta went crashing hard into the net was stopped by Jarrod Schamerhorn on another Merritt scoring chance. The Centennials would get a late man advantage that would carry into the 3rd period. Vernon was up 4-3 after 40 minutes of play. The Centennials with one of their best periods of the series jumped on the Vipers early and often as it was all Merritt. The Centennials with tons of pressure and chances were only able to get one past Jarrod Schamerhorn who played very well this period. TJ Dumonceaux with a huge goal late in the frame put the Vipers ahead in a period they had very little puck possession. Any zone time Vernon had the Centennials bottled up the Vipers inside the bueline clogged up any open ice. Merritt outshot Vernon 10-5.
3rd Period: The Cents started the 3rd on the man advantage that was carried over from the end of the 2nd period. The Vipers with a strong penalty kill were able to not allow Merritt with a shot on the PP would kill off the minor. Nick Fidanza would get a good opportunity just minutes into the period couldnt beat Schamerhorn. The Vipers doing a much better job at shutting down Merritt's offence-forecheck were limiting the Cents opportunities this period. Vernon playing smart hockey were hitting centre before dumping the puck in. Not alot of shots or chances coming from both teams early. Michael Ederer would get back to back chances but Jarrod Schamerhorn with two big pad saves from in close kept this a one goal game. Just before the halfway mark Jagger Williamson setup Liam Finlay on a two on one gave Vernon a 5-3 lead at 9:04 Williamson with the lone helper. The Vipers with a huge goal regained their two goal lead. The Viper defence then did a excellent job at basically shutting down Merritt as the Centennials were having all kinds of troubles getting into the Vernon zone. The Vipers kept pounding the puck deep into the Merritt zone. With very few opportunties at both ends of the rink, the clock was winding down on the Centennials season. Merritt would get Jonah Imoo to the bench with 3:16 to go in the hockey game. With a faceoff deep in the Viper zone, the Cents won the draw before Gavin Gould beat Jarrod Schamerhorn fivehole cutting the Vernon lead to 5-4 at 16:48 Josh Teves with the assist. With the Cents and the crowd now back into the game things got interesting. The Cents would call a late timeout before once again getting Imoo to the bench for the extra attacker. Riley Brandt would hit the open cage giving Vernon a 6-4 lead at 18:25 Brandt's goal was unassisted. Merritt would call a timeout before getting Jonah Imoo to the bench for the extra man for a third time. Jagger Williamson missed the open net from just inside the Centennials blueline. Merritt with good pressure late would bang home a loose puck down low with bodies in and around the blue paint scored at the buzzer. Sam Johnson would get credited with the goal at 19:58 while Diego Cuglietta and John Schiavo collected the assists. The Vipers bench come onto the ice to celebrate the victory and the series sweep right after the Cents fifth goal. In the meantime the officials were huddled together along the blueline before sending the Vipers back to the bench and adding another 1.6 seconds to the score clock. With one final faceoff the Centennials would get a long shot on Jarrod Schamerhorn who kicked aside the puck at the buzzer as Vernon would hang on for the 6-5 victory winning the series 4-0. Both teams would come out to centre ice for the final handshake while the crowd gave their Centennials one final round of applause on their great season. After being outplayed and hemmed in their own end for most of the 2nd period Vernon played a much more defensive shutdown style of play come the 3rd period. The Vipers hitting centre, getting the puck deep into the Cents zone really bottled up the Centennials offence. Merritt had three good chances in the first half were really limited to their opportunities until getting that late fourth goal. This goal gave the Cents life had their best pressure in the final few minutes just ran out of time. Merritt outshot Vernon 17-13.
Top Players: (Vernon)
Blaine Caton (1 goal) was really skating hard, working hard played a strong game on the 4th line tonight.
Jagger Williamson (1 assist) Had a heck of a game, was really flying up and down the wing created and generated several opportunities.
Mackenzie Bauer (1 goal & 1 assist) Was another one of the youngsters on this Vipers roster that had a strong game. Picking up two points was going hard to the net all night, was skating, battling and competing all night.
Liam Finlay (1 goal & 1 assist) Played very well for the Vipers, who adds that speed and quickness to the lineup.
Riley Brandt (1 goal) For the second straight night-game picked up the game winning goal. This kid just keeps getting better and better every night. Played physical, didnt back down from the physical play was targetted at times through out the game, battled and competed all night.
Jarrod Schamerhorn (31 saves) Made some big-key saves in the 2nd period with the Vipers sitting on a one goal lead. The former Centennials goaltender didnt have a chance on any of the five Merritt goals has taken over the #1 duties with Danny Todosychuk still out of the lineup with an injury.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I thought the Vipers played very well except the 2nd period where they were outplayed. The Vipers knew Merritt's season was on the line, so jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead less then six minutes into the game was huge! I thought Vernon played well in the opening period, didnt get alot of opportunities but capitalized on their chances. The Vipers just couldnt get any kind of attack going in the second, played most of the middle frame in their own end. Only giving up one goal got some good goaltending from Jarrod Schamerhorn got a huge goal late to finish the 2nd from TJ Dumonceaux. The Vipers with a strong defensive game in the 3rd scored a huge goal just before the halfway mark to once again take a two goal lead. Giving up a late goal made things very interesting made for a very nervous game-finish. Vernon played with the lead most of the night, kept things simple. Tonight was the first game this series the Vipers were outshot in a game. Great to see a fair amount of Viper fans at the game tonight. Overall the Vipers had more skill and a little more finess. The Vipers now await the winner of the West Kelowna-Penticton series. The Vees hold a 3-1 series lead with Game 5 going Monday in Penticton. I would like to congratulate the Vernon Vipers on their first round series sweep of the Merritt Centennials and wish them all the best in the Interior Division Finals.
Top Players: (Merritt)
Shane Poulsen (1 goal & 1 assist) Played a heck of a game on the Cents backend. A good skater, moves the puck well, finds the open areas and goes to the net. Adds alot to the Centennials blueline, a strong defenceman.
Diego Cuglietta (1 goal & 1 assist) Was very dangerous for Merritt tonight collecting two points in a strong performance this evening. This kid was flying all night, creating and generating plays through out the game, never quit. Had a very solid hard working game.
The line of Colin Grannary (1 assist), Michael Ederer (1 assist) and Brandon Duhaime also had a strong night. These three played a heck of a game, always seemed to know where one another were at all times. Really kept the puck moving, opening up ice, making plays.
Cole Arcuri (1 goal) Impressed me tonight, never really noticed him all series until tonight's Game 4. Had a good game, good effort, good performance tonight. Played well on the Centennials blueline.
Game Thought's: (Merritt)
With their season on the line, it was do or die and the Merritt Centennials didnt quit until the final buzzer. This was a very entertaining-exciting hockey game with a very lively crowd on hand at the Nicola Valley arena. Merritt needed a win, going down 2-0 early on home ice I think really hurt but give the Centennials credit. Merritt could have easily folded the tents but battled back, got within one before falling down two again. The Cents eventually tied the game before giving up a crucial 4th goal late in the 2nd were down one heading into the 3rd. This goal stung as the Cents had all the momentum, were carrying the play had the Vipers on their heels had some great opportunities only mustered one past Jarrod Schamerhorn. I also thought for the first time this series Jonah Imoo wasnt forced into making some unreal saves over and over again keeping his team in the game. The Vipers who didnt get as many shots as in previous games this series got six on the Centennials tonight, in a game where they were capitalizing on their shots and opportunities. Imoo gave his team a chance to win on every night. Give Luke Pierce and the Cents coaching staff a huge pat on the back as even though Vernon was the favorite to win this series I dont think many would have had the Vipers winning it in four games and all four games ended in one goal games. The Centennials played the Vipers hard in all four games didnt deserve to be in Game 2 but got some solid goaltending from Jonah Imoo. This team even through out the regular season never quit working. Making my first trip to Merritt and the Nicola Valley arena in atleast twelve years I was very impressed with the atmosphere tonight. Several empty seats but a very lively crowd that made noise constantly through out the game. You dont realize how small this rink is until your actually in it. The play, puck and players move quick and in a hurry. One bad pass or missed man coverage and things happen in a hurry. A great atmosphere made for a great game! Id like to wish the Merritt Centennials and their fans hats off on a great season. To all the graduating players, all the best in your future while all the best to the players returning for next season.
Danny Todosychuk (Injured)
Luke Shiplo (Injured)
Nicolas Rasovic (Injured)
Luke Voltin (Injured)
Energy player of the game:
Shane Poulsen (1 goal & 1 assist)
1st Star: Sam Johnson (1 goal)
2nd Star: Diego Cuglietta (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Griffyn Martin