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 3 Vipers-Silverbacks game as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 2-1 in overtime in front of 790 fans at the Shaw Centre.
Vernon: Aidan Porter
Salmon Arm: Ethan Langeneger
1st Period: Close to a minute into the contest Lane Zablocki setup Connor Marritt on an odd man rush who couldn't solve Ethan Langeneger who made a big stop early off the opening faceoff. About a minute later the Vipers spotted a wide open Ben Sanderson at the faceoff dot who somehow couldn't hit the open cage, on a missed opportunity. Three and a half minutes later the Snakes sprung Logan Cash in for the breakaway who would be denied by Ethan Langeneger. Vernon with lots of jump/energy had full control of the game early with some quality chances but couldn't open the scoring early. Just before the halfway mark Jesse Lansdell on the wrap around would be stuffed in close by Ethan Langeneger. Salmon Arm's goaltender was solid between the pipes. Minutes past the halfway mark the Vipers would get the games first powerplay. Viper captain/forward Jagger Williamson with some slick moves in the slot, outwaited Ethan Langeneger before being robbed by the Backs goaltender who come across the blue paint to make a large save off the Viper captain, keeping this a scoreless hockey game. With Vernon still on the man advantage, Teddy Wooding from the high slot, beat Ethan Langeneger but not the crossbar as the Snakes come within inches of opening the scoring on the PP. Vernon with some good looks/quality chances couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. On the following play the Silverbacks would get the play in deep, fire a shot from the corner boards that looked to hit Aidan Porter somehow didn't hit a body in front of the Vipers net and go in as the S'Backs come close to catching a break and opening the scoring. Inside the final minute in the dying seconds Salmon Arm would their first powerplay late to finish the opening frame. The Backs with only a handful of seconds left would run out of time before the final buzzer. It was 0-0 after 20 minutes of play. I thought the Snakes were the better of the two teams, carried most of the play, had more puck possession and most of the scoring chances. Vernon looked very good early and often, had several quality opportunities, played with a lot of jump/energy, were moving the puck, creating/generating chances couldn't solve Ethan Langeneger. Both teams looked a little sloppy as the play was a little scrambled for a few minutes around the midway mark. The Silverbacks saw a lot of the action in their own end, didn't see much time with the puck in the offensive zone, had troubles creating/and generating chances, didn't get many pucks to the net, were outskated and out chanced for most of the 1st period. If it wasn't for a crossbar and solid goaltending from Ethan Langeneger the Vipers could have easily been up three or four goals. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 10-7.
2nd Period: SA started the middle frame on the man advantage that was carried over from the opening period. Off the opening faceoff, Justin Wilson with a quick shot from the goal line forced Vernon Vipers starting goaltender Aidan Porter into being alert as Wilson just missed the far corner on a chance down low. The Vipers penalty kill limited the Apes chances and killed off the minor. About a minute after killing off the penalty, Vernon would get an early powerplay and get some chances. With a few good looks, none better then Connor Marritt in the slot, that forced Silverbacks netminder Ethan Langeneger who making a very difficult shoulder save, keeping the puck out, that looked to be labelled for the top corner. A big stop from Langeneger. The Snakes had some pressure and looks, couldn't capitalize on the PP. On the following shift/play tempers heated up after Ben Helgeson and former Vipers d-man Sol Seibel exchanged some words and a few shots, before both players were sent to the sin bin. Just before the halfway mark Ethan Langeneger was forced to make a quick reaction save with his left pad off a shot from the circle. Minutes later Michael Young leaned into a heavy shot from the point that beat Ethan Langeneger but not the post. About a minute later SA would jump on the PP but only a minute into the man advantage would take a penalty of their own, sending both teams to four on four. The Vipers would come out with a shortened powerplay and capitalize. Jack Judson's shot beat Ethan Langeneger through a maze of players in front, giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 13:34 Jagger Williamson and Jesse Lansdell drew the helpers. With about four and a half minutes remaining Brendan Kim lost an edge, hitting the ice allowing Jack Sampson to break in for what looked like a parcial breakaway, but instead of shooting Sampson tried feeding the puck back towards the front of the net, where Salmon Arm would get a harmless shot from in close with traffic at the top of the crease, while Aidan Porter smothered the loose puck. This was the Silverbacks third shot of the period but their first shot since the opening powerplay two minutes into the second period as it was all Vernon. On the following play/shift the S'Backs would get a late powerplay but struggled as the Snakes killed off the penalty. In the dying seconds of the middle frame and the faceoff deep in the offensive zone, Lane Zablocki won the draw, was able to get a quick shot off from the circle that forced Ethan Langeneger to make a quick save just before the final buzzer. At the buzzer some pushing and shoving went on before Ethan Langeneger and two Silverbacks went after Jagger Williamson. Sol Seibel was in the mix once again, getting under the skin of several Vernon players. Williamson and Seibel were both heated as the linesmen tried breaking up the two captains. The Viper bench was also hot as Mark Ferner was yelling at the referee wanting an explination. Tempers heating up at the end of the period. It was 1-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. I thought the Vipers dominated most of the second period. Vernon once again carried most of the play, had a ton of puck possession, zone time and were getting pucks to the net. The Vipers had several good looks and a few quality chances, also hit a post. For a second straight period if it wasn't for Ethan Langeneger the Snakes could easily be up by five or six goals heading into the 3rd period. The Backs played most of the period in their own end, had all kinds of trouble getting into the offensive zone, and creating/generating chances. Salmon Arm went at least fourteen minutes without a shot on goal. SA looked sluggish had troubles getting out of their own end. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 15-4.
3rd Period: A minute into the final frame and the Vipers called over the officials to check out the one door on the bench. It looked like the Vipers were having issues with the door/latch on the door. After several minutes, the officials rounded up one of the rink attendants who come onto the Viper bench to repair/look at the door. After a lengthy delay the game/period would continue. The Snakes with a lot of pressure early, had some looks but none better then Coleton Bilodeau's shot from the circle about five and a half minutes in forced Ethan Langeneger into making a tough save with his shoulder. Vernon would carry the better of the play for at least the first six to seven minutes before the Silverbacks slowly started to take over the edge in play. Vernon back on their heels, were having troubles with the Apes pressing. The Silverbacks had a ton of pressure, but were having troubles getting pucks to the net. Aidan Porter come way out of the crease for the loose puck, lost the battle along the end wall to Hudson Schandor who's quick shot from the goal line went through the crease and out the other side with Porter stuck along the wall. The Vipers may have caught a bit of a break. Around the halfway mark, Hudson Schandor beat Jack Judson to the puck, down low was able to setup a wide open Justin Wilson at the circle who beat Aidan Porter tying the game 1-1 sending the Shaw Centre into a frenzy at 10:31 Schandor picked up the only assist. The Backs bench was fired up and the Shaw Centre was buzzing with electricity. The S'Backs didn't quit and kept pressing. Salmon Arm with several good looks/chances in close were looking for their first lead of the night. Inside the final five minutes quality chances at both ends of the rink but the game remainded tied at one. The Vipers looked to be going to overtime, casually thought they had killed off the dying seconds off the clock, before Justin Wilson (I think) scooped up the errand Viper pass off the boards, got around one Viper defender before setting up a streaking Trevor Adams who was left all alone on the left wing. Adam's shot beat Aidan Porter fivehole just seconds before the final buzzer as the Shaw Centre erupted thinking Salmon Arm had scored at the buzzer. The blue goal light was on before the puck crossed the goal line. This was a very close call as the buzzer sounded just seconds before Adams beat Porter. Vernon catches a huge break and escapes with the game tied. It was 1-1 after 60 minutes of play. For the second straight game, these two teams were heading to overtime. For a third straight period the Vipers had the early jump/carried the play. The Snakes were the better of the two teams for about the first six-seven minutes before Salmon Arm got their legs going and slowly turned the tables, taking over the momentum and the better of the play. Only downfall was the Apes may have been carrying the play and the better team but were having troubles getting pucks to the net/creating and generating chances. It wasn't until the Backs tied the game and into the second half when SA was now getting their looks/chances. Vernon started strong but couldn't finish strong. The Snakes fell back on their heels and couldn't recover, were caught chasing the Silverbacks for a lot of the 3rd period. Salmon Arm had more jump and looked much quicker, were moving the puck well. The S'Backs were the better of the team. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 13-10.
Overtime: The play went back and fourth early before the Silverbacks had the first several good looks/chances in and around the net. Aidan Porter was caught way out of his crease early but would scramble back into the blue paint. The Vipers would get the first real quality chance after Matt Kowalski tried setting up Teddy Wooding who couldn't solve Ethan Langeneger. Minutes later former Kelowna Rockets forward Lane Zablocki with a great chance to end it, forced Ethan Langeneger to make a large stop in close before making at least two or three off the rebound. The Backs netminder with some big stops on a goal mouth scramble in overtime. Salmon Arm slowly started to take over the edge in play and looked to have the Vipers on the ropes. With Vernon caught on an over extended shift, the Backs couldn't capitalize after missing the net and then being denied on a wrap around. Vernon looking tired and running out of gas before Matt Kowalski on an odd man rush would be stopped by Ethan Langeneger before Ben Sanderson buried the rebound, giving Vernon the 2-1 overtime victory at 9:58 as the Vipers bench erupted onto the ice. The Play went back and fourth early before the Silverbacks took over the edge in play, had some good looks/chances. I thought the Snakes had the better of the quality chances but Ethan Langeneger was solid in overtime. I thought the Apes were the better team in overtime, had the better of the play. With the Vipers looking tired/running out of gas, the Snakes catch the Backs on a two on one for the eventual overtime winner. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 10-7.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
The line of Jagger Williamson (1 assist), Jesse Lansdell (1 assist) & Logan Cash I thought played very well. This line generated/created chances, were moving the puck, making things happen, were buzzing a lot of the evening. Williamson was a target all night, took several shots/wacks along the way through out the game, was involved in a few minor scrums with former team mate Sol Seibel.
Ben Sanderson (Overtime winner) Had a few good looks/opportunities tonight, also played well in the victory.
Lane Zablocki Battled/competed, Played hard through out the game. Was physical at times, played with an edge, was getting under the skin of a few Silverbacks.
Aidan Porter (30 saves) Wasn't tested much during the first two periods but was forced to be ready in the 3rd period and overtime and made some key saves in the final two frames. Porter who allowed three soft goals in Game 1 has seemed to settle down and play much better and with more confidence in Games 2 and 3.
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I thought the Vipers were by far the better of the two teams for the first two periods and the first six-seven minutes or so of the 3rd period until the Snakes were back on their heels, looked a little sluggish and tired were now chasing Salmon Arm. Vernon couldn't really recover and it showed at times in overtime. The S'Backs had a little more jump/energy in the 3rd and overtime periods but give the Snakes credit, they hung in there and pulled off the win, just their second win in Salmon Arm this year. A 3-2 pre-season shoot out win back on September 1st. The Vipers who only managed to beat Salmon Arm once in six regular season meetings, have now defeated the Apes in back to back games. I really liked the Vipers game the first two periods and even early into the 3rd. I thought Vernon was moving the puck well, played with a ton of jump/energy, created/generated several quality chances, hit the crossbar and one post, could have easily had at least six or seven goals if it wasn't for Ethan Langeneger. With the win the Snakes now regain home ice advantage. Game 3 goes Wednesday in Salmon Arm and Game 5 Friday in Vernon. A large turnout of Viper fans made the trip down, made a lot of noise through out the game. The Vipers who struggled away from home early in the season, have been very hard to beat on the road since the Holidays. Vernon has won thirteen of their last fifteen road games.
Top Player's: (Salmon Arm)
Jack Sampson I thought was one of the more consistent players through out tonight's overtime loss. Sampson was involved in the play, carried the puck, tried to make things happen.
Aiden Jenner who I really liked in Game 2 Played another strong game tonight in Game 3. I thought was one of the Silverbacks more complete players tonight.
Andy Stevens Played very well on the blueline, blocked shots, cleared the zone, moved the puck up ice, was involved in the play at both ends of the rink.
Ethan Langeneger (43 saves) Was the difference in the hockey game. Stopping all ten shots in the opening frame, was forced to make a few big stops, was beat once but got help from the crossbar. In the second period the only two pucks that got by him, one hit the post and the other was through a maze of bodies in front, on a shot I don't think he saw. Langeneger was solid between the pipes, making several key saves, but none bigger then the few in overtime.
Game Thought's: (Salmon Arm)
The Silverbacks didn't look very good for the first two periods and early into the 3rd should have easily been down six or seven goals if it wasn't for their goaltender who bailed them out, and kept them in the contest, giving them a chance to win. The Apes looked slow and sluggish in the first two periods, played a lot of the first two periods in their own end, had troubles getting into the offensive zone, getting pucks to the net and creating/generating opportunities. It wasn't until about six or seven minutes into the 3rd when SA woke up and slowly got their game going. The S'Backs turned the tables, gained the momentum and took over the play for the remainder of the 3rd and even had the better of the play in overtime. I don't think Salmon Arm had a ton of quality chances, they had some good quality opportunities and several good looks just not a lot. The Silverbacks have lost four straight at home, have lost seven of their last eleven home games. A fairly decent size crowd on hand for tonight's game.
Olson Werenka (Injured)
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Ethan Langeneger (43 saves)
2nd Star: Ben Sanderson (Overtime winner)
3rd Star: Jagger Williamson (1 assist)