I have had season tickets for 29 years and been following junior hockey in Vernon for over thirty five years. I have missed four Vipers home games since 2009 and five Vipers home games since the 1999-2000 season. For anyone who couldn't attend or watch tonight's Vipers game, here are my thought's and view's from tonight's game. You may agree or disagree but we all have our own opinion on the game. I try to be unbiased and give a fare game recap from both sides. Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog.
I was at tonight's Game 2 Vipers-Silverbacks game as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 2-1 in overtime in front of 1,671 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Aidan Porter
Salmon Arm: Ethan Langeneger
1st Period: Just over five minutes in Ben Helgeson on a wrap around couldn't beat Ethan Langeneger down low. About two minutes later Josh Latta from the side of the net was denied in close by Ethan Langeneger. Two good quality chances for the Snakes early into Game 2. Just before the halfway mark Vernon setup Matt Kowalski in the slot who couldn't get enough on the pass and missed the net. Shortly after on a goal mouth scramble the Snakes couldn't capitalize on a loose puck in the high crease area. On the following play Tyler Ho took an undisciplined penalty, after slashing Ethan Langeneger when out of the crease to play the puck, sending SA to the games first powerplay. Before the PP expired tempers heated up in a hurry as a minor scrum broke loose, deep in the Vernon zone. Jesse Lansdell gave Matthew Verboon a crosscheck on his way to the penalty box, as the Vipers taking a few early undisciplined penalties. The S'Backs still on the man advantage but shorthanded Connor Marritt on a parcial breakaway would be stopped by Ethan Langeneger on a big stop. Salmon Arm didn't really generate much for chances as Vernon killed off the minor. With about six minutes remaining Salmon Arm would get their first quality chance of the night on an opportunity from Aiden Jenner. About a minute later Landon Fuller with another undisciplined minor, would send the Silverbacks back to the powerplay. The Vipers with another solid penalty kill, killed off the minor. Shortly after the penalty expired, tempers heated up once again, this time inside the Silverbacks zone. After Trey Taylor would be hit hard into the end boards, everyone jumped in. Other then the two netninders, everyone was involved. Michael Young and Olson Werenka dropped the gloves, didn't through any punches in a spirited affair inside the final three minutes. The Snakes would come out with a late powerplay but couldn't capitalize. Inside the final thirty seconds the Apes with a ton of pressure had the Snakes back on their heels, were firing pucks from everywhere, but had troubles hitting the goal. Vernon would escape after being back on their heels to end the period. It was 0-0 after 20 minutes of play. I thought this was a fairly even played 1st period as both teams looked fairly evenly matched other then the Vipers had a few more looks/opportunities. Not a lot of room for either team, as both teams had troubles creating/generating chances and getting pucks to the net. Both goaltenders weren't tested often but played well. I didn't like Vernon's undisciplined penalties. The team took three in the opening frame and were lucky they didn't cost them a powerplay goal. Jesse Lansdell got away with a few marginal hits/incidents after the play. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 7-4.
2nd Period: About two minutes into the middle frame, Akito Hirose with a quick shot from the circle forced Aidan Porter into making a stop. About five minutes in Josh Latta on a two on one attack tried getting the puck across before former Vernon Vipers defenceman and Silverbacks captain Sol Seibel with a solid defensive play, broke up the odd man rush. Minutes later both goaltenders were tested with the glove hand. First off Silverbacks starting goaltender Ethan Langeneger made a quick glove save, before the Apes come right back the other end of the rink, forcing Vipers starting goaltender Aidan Porter to flash the leather, making a glove save. Just before the midway mark Vernon would get a powerplay but with just one shot the Vipers really struggled with the man advantage as SA killed off the minor. In the second half the Snakes with the better puck possession, had lots of zone time and several looks in close but had troubles finishing in and around the Backs goal. Vernon with a few odd man rushes, couldn't connect on some of their passes, blowing some quality chances. Inside the final minute the Vipers couldn't clear the zone, now back on their heels had at least two, maybe three opportunities to get the puck outside the blueline and couldn't. The S'Backs move the puck around, with Vernon back on their heels setup a wide open Hudson Schandor at the side of the net, giving Salmon Arm a late 1-0 lead at 19:14 Akito Hirose and Jack Sampson collected the assists. It was 1-0 Salmon Arm after 40 minutes of play. I thought the Vipers had a slight edge in play at times and were the better of the two teams this period. Vernon had more puck possession, more offensive zone time and carried a little more of the play. The Snakes didn't have many quality chances but had some good looks/a few chances but had no finish in and around the net. Vernon made that one extra move instead of shooting first, witch allowed the Apes to break up the play or get a stick on the play. The Silverbacks didn't have a lot of zone time, played more time in their own end, didn't really generate/create many chances. Once again another period where both teams didn't get a ton of quality chances and had trouble getting pucks to the net. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 7-6.
3rd Period: Both teams went back and foruth early with no real chances at either end of the rink. The Vipers slowly started to get a bit of an edge in play but once again had troubles creating/generating quality chances. Just before the halfway mark back in the neutral zone, Landon Fuller and Olson Werenka dropped the gloves and put on a show for the fans. One of the best fights in many many years, these two went toe to toe in a heavy weight match, getting the crowd to their feet. Both players would be tossed from the game. This scrap also seemed to get the Viper bench fired up. Shortly after Teddy Wooding all alone in for the breakaway would be denied by Ethan Langeneger. A large stop keeping this a one goal game. Minutes later with Vernon pressing former Chilliwack Chiefs forward Jesse Lansdell powered his way from behind the goal, to the front of the net, while falling somehow managed to roof the puck high in and off the post, tying the game 1-1 at 12:39 sending Kal Tire Place into a frenzy. Jagger Williamson drew the lone helper. A great individual effort from Lansdell to tie the game. About a minute later Lane Zablocki would be mugged in the corner and then thrown to the ice, going into the end boards didn't move while the play continued. With fans screaming for a penalty, it would be Zablocki who would be given a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct after being helped off the ice by the trainer, went straight to the dressing room and would return later. This was one of the most bizzare calls I have ever seen. The S'Backs with a late powerplay, struggled as Vernon with a solid penalty kill, killed off the minor. With about two minutes remainng, another scrum after a whistle as tempers heated up again. Sol Seibel and Jack Judson got tangled up, taking shots at one another. Inside the final two minutes on a goal mouth scramble the Vipers couldn't take their first lead of the game. Shortly after Vernon product Coleton Bilodeau wired a shot that just missed, on a close call. It was 1-1 after 60 minutes of play. Both teams were fairly even to start but I thought the Snakes slowly took over the edge in play at times and never quit working. Vernon with some looks, had a great opportunity to tie the game on Teddy Wooding's breakaway but couldn't. The Vipers had all kinds of looks late towards the end of the period to grab the lead but again no finish in and around the goal. The Snakes 4th line didn't much of the ice, until the inal minutes of the period. The Backs didn't really have any quality chances, again played a lot of the period in their own end at times. The Silverbacks were just over seven minutes away from grabbing a 2-0 series lead, were now heading to overtime. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 13-12.
Overtime: Inside the opening three or four minutes the Snakes with at least three or four odd man rushes, couldn't connect but come very close. A few pucks thrown towards the front of the net, went through the blue paint and out as SA was under siege early into the extra frame. Vernon with the early edge in play and momentum were looking to tie the series. Just before the halfway mark on a goal mouth scramble, Ben Sanderson couldn't stuff home the loose puck at the side of the net. On the following shift/play former Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Josh Latta drove hard to the goal, roofed his shot up and over Ethan Langeneger and just under the crossbar, sending Kal Tire Place into a frenzy, giving Vernon the 2-1 overtime victory at 8:46 as the Viper bench erupted onto the ice. Latta's goal was unassisted. I thought the Snakes carried the better of the play and had the better chances. The Vipers were really flying early into overtime, seemed to have more jump over Salmon Arm. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 4-3.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Josh Latta (Overtime winner) I thought played a hard fought game. Has really played well-battled hard in the first two games of the series. Had a few looks-opportunities tonight.
Teddy Wooding I thought looked/played well through out the evening. Had some good chances but couldn't find the back of the net. None better then his 3rd period breakaway.
Aidan Porter (24 saves) Wasn't tested much through out the night, but good to see battle back after a tough outing in Game 1. This will build his confidence and get him settled back into his grove.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I thought the Vipers played a much better game and more complete game tonight over Game 1. Sure the Snakes didn't get a ton of opportunities or get a lot of pucks to the net, but overall I thought Vernon was the better of the two teams. I thought the Vipers had more puck possession, more zone time, had the better of the chances over the Silverbacks. I didn't like the undisciplined penalties the Vipers took in the opening frame, but really liked how they settled down and played a little more disciplined in the final two periods. This was more of a tight checking defensive game as both teams had troubles creating/generating opportunities and getting pucks to the net. I thought at times Vernon played a little more individual play instead of moving the puck up ice quicker by passing the puck, but overall played/looked good. Give Vernon credit, they didn't panic going into the 3rd down a goal, really battled hard to tie the game-force overtime. I thought the Vipers showed they really wanted tonight's game with their jump/energy in the 3rd and overtime periods. This was a huge win and an almost must win as I dont think the Vipers wanted to head to Salmon Arm for Games 3 & 4 down 2-0 especially with their record vs the Silverbacks this seasonAnother disappointing crowd for the playoffs and with Salmon Arm in town. With not a lot of action other then all the scrums Kal Tire Place was pretty quiet for at least the first two periods, as fans had nothing to really get excited about. Im not sure if they forgot to pay the heating bill but both games were very cold inside the rink. Usually Kal Tire Place is pretty warm-comfortable through out the hockey season.
Top Player's: (Salmon Arm)
Olson Werenka Played a hard fought game on the S'Backs blueline until dropping the gloves with Landon Fuller in the 3rd and given a game misconduct.
Sol Seibel Was another SA d-man that played well, played hard and again with some bite to his game. The former Viper wasn't afraid taking shots at several of his former mates. Was in the face of his opponents all night.
Jack Sampson (1 assist) I thought played hard/well in the overtime loss.
Aiden Jenner Really impressed me tonight. I thought was one of the more affective forwards.
Hudson Schandor (1 goal) Had a strong game, was going to the net, battled/competed hard all night.
Trevor Adams Really used his wheels to try and open up some ice-create/generate some offensive chances, played a hard fought game.
Ethan Langenger (29 saves) Once as busy as in Game 1 but did make a few big stops, especially in the opening frame. Plays with confidence, has a strong glove and covers a lot of the net.
Game Thought's: (Salmon Arm)
I thought the Silverbacks were the better team at times more in Game 1. Tonight the Apes had trouble getting any real sustained pressure, zone time and getting pucks to the net. Salmon Arm like Vernon also had trouble creating/generating quality chances. The S'Backs with only a select few quality chances tonight. This was a much more intense-physical game compared to last night. Tempers heated up in a hurry in Game 2 with emotions running high. A few liberties were taken on either side as these teams don't like each other. The Silverbacks had to be feeling comfortable with a 1-0 lead heading into the 3rd just couldn't hold onto the lead. Im sure Salmon Arm will be happy with the split, heading home for Games 3 & 4. Another good turnover of Silverbacks fans that made a lot of noise though out the game.
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Josh Latta (Overtime winner)
2nd Star: Hudson Schandor (1 goal)
3rd Star: Jesse Lansdell (1 goal)