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 5 Vipers-Silverbacks game as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 4-3 in triple overtime in front of 2,394 fans at Kal Tire Place.
Vernon: Aidan Porter
Salmon Arm: Ethan Langenegger
1st Period: Just fifty three seconds into Game 5 Jesse Lansdell on a wrap around couldn't solve Ethan Langenegger before Logan Cash banked the puck in and off a Salmon Arm defender and into the back of the goal, giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 0:53 Lansdell & Jagger Williamson picked up the helpers. The Snakes responded with a quick push back shift off the following faceoff, with a Viper driving hard to the goal, got pushed into the net before a scramble at the top of the crease, before the puck come back to the high slot that either hit a body in front or was stopped by Ethan Langenegger as the Vipers pressing early into the contest. Back come the Silverbacks less then two minutes later. Matthew Verboon setup Trevor Adams who ripped a quick shot from the circle beating Aidan Porter on the Apes first shot of the game, tying the game 1-1 at 2:58 Verboon drew the lone assist. Just over five minutes in, Vernon product Matt Kowalski on an odd man rush would be denied by Ethan Langenegger before Teddy Wooding couldn't hit the net on the rebound. Two quality chances for the Vipers. Just before the halfway mark Johnathan Krahn with a quick shot from in close would be stopped by Aidan Porter making a difficult save. On the following play/shift, former Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Landon Fuller's quick shot from the backend would be redirected on it's way to the goal, forcing Ethan Langenegger to make a big stop with traffic in front. The Snakes were outshooting Salmon Arm 9-3 at the halfway mark. The Vipers would go the next seven to eight minutes without a shot on goal. It was 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers jumped out to an early lead, scoring the games first goal before the S'Backs responded quickly tying the game just two minutes later. Even though the shots were 9-3 for Vernon halfway through the period both teams were fairly evenly matched. The Vipers were getting more pucks to the net but the balance of play was even. SA slowly pulled away at times in the second half, had a little more edge in play but didn't get any real quality chances in the second half. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 11-8.
2nd Period: The Vipers with two or three odd man rushes early couldn't connect or capitalize on their chances early into the middle frame. The Backs had the Vipers back on their heels, as Vernon couldn't clear the zone before Andy Stevens buried a chance in close giving Salmon Arm an early 2-1 lead at 4:42 Stevens goal was unassisted. Just before the midway mark Ben Sanderson tried beating Silverbacks starting goaltender Ethan Langenegger to the loose puck, who was able to quickly clear the zone. Around the halfway mark the Snakes had troubles clearing the zone, were back on their heels before Logan Shaw's seeing eye floater somehow found it's way into the back of the cage, giving Salmon Arm a 3-1 lead at 10:36 Akito Hirose with the assist. Shaw's shot from the high slot looked to go up in the air, over everyone and then drop in behind Vipers starting goaltender Aidan Porter. With five minutes left in the 2nd period the Vipers would get the games first powerplay. On the man advantage Jesse Lansdell with a great opportunity in front, couldn't beat Ethan Langenegger down low. The Apes would kill off the minor. It was 3-1 Salmon Arm after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers with several odd man rushes into the period either couldn't connect on the pass or couldn't capitalize on the opportunity. Vernon had some good looks early but no finish in and around the net. SA with some early pressure, gave the Snakes defence all kinds of troubles, as Vernon couldn't clear the zone, witch resulted in a goal. The Vipers had troubles in their own end. I thought the Silverbacks were the better of the two teams, played with a ton of jump/energy, were playing with some desperation, carried the better of the play, especially in the second half. The Backs had a ton of more zone time, more puck possession and winning the races/battles along the wall. The Vipers looked sluggish/tired at times, had troubles with Salmon Arm's forecheck. Vernon didn't play all that bad in the first half, but were outplayed in the second half. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 14-12.
3rd Period: The Vipers come out flying. Teddy Wooding won the draw back to Michael Young, who's rocket from the blueline beat Ethan Langenegger, cutting Salmon Arm's lead to 3-2 at 1:27 Wodding with the lone assist. This goal got the crowd and the Vipers back into the game. Vernon kept coming and pressed hard. Just two minutes later on a delayed penalty, the Snakes held possession of the puck for a while. It looked like the Apes touched the puck at the blueline, but the play continued, the Vipers brought the play back into their own end, re grouped bringing the puck back up ice, before Jack Judson with some smooth skating ripped a shot past Ethan Langenegger tying the game 3-3 at 3:27 Jesse Lansdell collected the helper. Just before the midway mark Viper captain Jagger Williamson setup Logan Cash on an odd man rush who looked to beat Ethan Langenegger but hit the outside of the goal, on a close call. Around the halfway mark the S'Backs would get their first powerplay of Game 5. Jack Sampson with the Silverbacks best opportunity, tried shoving the puck in down low couldn't beat Aidan Porter who held his left pad tight against the post, keeping the puck out and the game tied. Vernon would escape and kill off the minor. With about seven minutes left Jesse Lansdell's quick shot from the circle forced Ethan Langenegger into making a difficult but yet large save, keeping this game tied. It was 3-3 after 60 minutes of play. Vernon with a quick start to the period, come out with a ton of jump and energy, scored two quick back to back goals, two minutes apart. But overall the Silverbacks were the better team. Salmon Arm for a second straight period had a ton more jump/energy, were moving the puck quick, carried the better of the play, had more zone time & more puck possession. I thought the Apes were the better team after Vernon's two quick goals. The Snakes looked sluggish and tired, looked like they ran out of gas. The Vipers were just hanging on at times. The Snakes made a few defensive errors, were lucky the puck didn't end up in the back of the net. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 10-9.
Overtime: The Silverbacks started the extra frame, jumping on Vernon early and often. The Backs with several good looks/chances in and around the net early couldn't force Game 6. Jonathan Krahn with the best opportunity looked to have Aidan Porter beat rang his shot off the crossbar from down low as the Silverbacks were just inches away from forcing Game 6. Matthew Verboon with a slick move walked into the slot untouched ripped a shot that just missed the far corner. Shortly after Lane Zablocki driving hard to the goal, would be stopped in front before Ethan Langenegger was forced to make at least two or three more saves in close with traffic in and around the crease. With about five minutes remaining Vernon would get just their second powerplay of the night. Ben Sanderson looked to have the game on his stick would be stopped in the slot before Michael Young on the rebound would be denied. Ethan Langenegger with two huge back to back saves, keeping this game tied. Still on the man advantage, Jagger Williamson from the high slot would be stopped by Ethan Langenegger. The Salmon Arm netminder with three large saves on the penalty kill, as the S'Backs killed off the minor. It was 3-3 after 80 minutes of play. With their season on the line, the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks pulled out all the stops to try and force Game 6 took it to Vernon early and often. The Apes had several good looks and opportunities early into overtime couldn't capitalize on their chances. None better then Johnathan Krahn hitting the crossbar. The Vipers with a goal mouth scramble and three excellent opportunities on the powerplay, couldn't put the game and the series away. Ethan Langenegger was solid between the pipes in overtime. I thought SA was the better of the two teams, once again carried the better of the play, had more zone time, puck possession and played with a lot more energy. The Snakes once again looked very tired, were just hanging on, had no jump/energy. Shots were 6-6.
Double Overtime: Just over seven minutes in the Vipers on an odd man rush setup Matt Kowalski who couldn't beat Ethan Langenegger who come across with the right pad just to get a piece of Kowalski's redirection in front making a huge stop. The Vipers playing with a ton of jump/energy slowly started taking over the edge in play, had the Silverbacks back on their heels. Vernon started firing pucks from anywhere and everywhere. Ethan Langenegger was forced to make at least three or four large saves, keeping this game tied. At one point Olson Werenka and another Salmon Arm defender were lying on the ice, the Backs were down to just three skaters while under siege. Somehow Salmon Arm got some solid goaltending and escaped. At the other end of the rink, Aidan Porter made a tough save off Trevor Adams on a shot from in close I don't think the Vernon goaltender saw, rather it just hit him on it's way to the net. With just over two minutes remaining Ben Sanderson with a great opportunity to end the series was denied by Ethan Langenegger once again making a large save. Inside the final minute Ben Helgeson ripped a quick shot from the slot forced Ethan Langenegger into making another desperation save with the Apes back on their heels. Salmon Arm would escape and get out of the period with the game still tied. It was 3-3 after 100 minutes of play. For the first time since the opening period the Vipers played very well, looked very strong, were by far the better of the two teams as it was all Vernon for most of the second overtime. The Snakes with a ton of good looks/quality chances couldn't end the game and or the series. Ethan Langenegger was solid between the pipes, made some unreal saves, keeping the S'Backs in the hockey game at this point. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 8-11.
Triple Overtime: Just three minutes in Lane Zablocki looked to end the game and the series beat Ethan Langenegger as the puck may have been redirected on it's way to the goal, went off the post. Five minutes into the third OT the Backs sprung Hudson Schandor in for the breakaway, Schandor looked to have Aidan Porter beat but may have missed the net in close, on a missed opportunity. It looked like Schandor made one too many moves before losing the puck at the last second. Vernon catches a huge break as overtime continues. The play really started to open up as the play went back and fourth with good looks-chances at both ends of the rink. With about six minutes remaining Silverbacks captain Sol Seibel walked in from the point forced Aidan Porter into just getting a piece of the shot with the edge of his glove. As overtime continued Vernon started to pull away and have the Apes back on their heels. Connor Marritt setup Matt Kowalski who was left alone in front, beat Ethan Langenegger high giving Vernon a 4-3 triple overtime victory at 16:56, as the Vipers bench erupted onto the ice. The Silverbacks all dropped their heads on their bench in heart ache. Marritt with the lone assist. The two teams would come together at centre ice for the traditional series ending hand shake. The Vipers would go around and shake hands with the officials while former Vernon Vipers defenceman Sol Seibel would come over and shake hands with the officials in a classy move by the Silverbacks captain. For the first time in overtime the Snakes found a second gear and picked up their energy level, slowly started to pull away as Salmon Arm was reeling at times. Vernon with a post had lots of looks in the third overtime. SA had a few looks/chances but as overtime went on the Vipers looked like the better team. As the game went on and after each overtime the crowd kept getting smaller and smaller as fans slowly started to file out after each overtime period. The rink was less then half full by the time the game ended. Vernon outshot Salmon Arm 7-5.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Landon Fuller I thought played a hard fought but yet clean game and was very good at both ends of the rink. Really stepped up as the game went later into overtime and helped out manage the puck on the backend.
Michael Young (1 goal) I thought played a strong game and series. Got the Vipers to within a goal just 1:27 into the 3rd period. Young saw a ton of ice and was very good at both ends of the rink.
Matt Kowalski (Overtime winner) I thought played well in the first three periods but as the game continued and went into overtime I thought the local kid really struggled. Kowalski looked to be out of gas, was slow getting back into the play, turned over the puck on a few occasions, looked half a sleep at times. Scored a highlight winning goal in triple overtime.
Ben Sanderson Was one of if not the best Viper on the ice. Sanderson was really flying, using his speed and forecheck to win battles, had a ton of great looks/& quality chances. Played with a ton of energy, battled/and competed hard all night.
Jesse Lansdell (2 assists) I thought was one of Vernon's more dominate-effective players tonight. Really had a strong game, was flying all night, battled/competed, was driving to the net, making plays happen, created/generated chances through out the night, really come to play in Game 5.
Tyler Ho Didn't see a lot of ice during the first three periods but was forced into action in overtime and played very well. Carried the puck, made things happen, made some smart plays, created/generated some chances, played with some jump/energy.
Josh Latta Was really flying tonight, didn't get a lot of scoring chances but created space, really used his speed to open up the ice, getting defenders chasing him.
Jack Judson (1 goal) Played a strong game on the Snakes blueline. Saw a lot of ice time, was quick on his feet, found ways of getting pucks to the net, was strong at both ends of the rink.
Brendan Kim Was another youngster that didn't see a lot of ice time during the first three periods but was forced into more ice time as the game went on. I thought played well.
Trey Taylor Was another young d-man that held his own, played very well on the Vipers backend.
Aidan Porter (48 saves) I didn't think Porter was tested much in the first two periods but was forced to make some big stops as the game went on and as the overtimes went on. Porter caught a few breaks but also made some key saves at times in the overtime. How doesn't Porter get a star?
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
I thought the Vipers played very well the first half of the opening frame but after that it seemed like the Silverbacks had a little more push, where as Vernon looked a little sluggish and tired at times in the 2nd and 3rd periods and then even into overtime. The Snakes had several odd man rushes in the first three periods that they couldn't capitalize on didn't get a whole lot of quality chances in the 2nd and 3rd periods. I thought after being outplayed in the first overtime the Vipers looked and played their best in the second and third overtimes, had several good looks/quality opportunities. With only three penalties called during the entire game, both teams got away with several minors as the officials let the two teams play. I thought the Snakes caught several breaks and got lucky on several defensive errors, were lucky to get out of the first overtime. The Vipers didn't want to play Game 6 tomorrow night in Salmon Arm, especially after going to three overtimes. The Snakes wanted to end the series tonight, on home ice and get well rested for the second round. After Vernon went 1-5 vs Salmon Arm during the regular season, who saw this coming? The Vipers didn't win a regular season game in Salmon Arm, win both playoff games in Salmon Arm, and then win four straight over the Gorillas. Vernon went 1-8 in overtime during the regular season, is 3-0 in overtime in the playoffs. The Vipers ended the Silverbacks season in Game 4 last year in overtime on a goal from Niko Karamanis. The last triple overtime Vipers playoff game I remember was Game 5 between Vernon & Penticton in 2010. Denver Manderson scored the overtime winner for the Vees giving Penticton the 3-2 triple overtime win in Vernon. Former Vernon Lakers goaltender Sean Matile (1994-95) was in attendance, while former Vernon Vipers David Robinson (2006-07, 2009-10 & 2010-11), Trevor Keenan (2002-03)and Bryce Kakoske (2008-2011) were also in attendance. For just the second time this season, the Vipers have won four straight games. The Snakes have won twelve of their last eighteen games. The Vipers will now have a week off until round two starts, it is yet to be determined who Vernon will face in the following round. I would like to take this time to congratulate John Glen, the Vipers management and entire organization on the win and series win and wish them nothing but the best in the second round.
Top Player's: (Salmon Arm)
Darren Rizzolo The one-time former Vernon Vipers defenceman played well on the S'Backs blueline. Was getting pucks to the net, played well at both ends of the rink.
Johnathan Krahn Played a heck of a game, hit the crossbar in the first overtime, really used his speed and quickness to find open ice, created/generated chances, played with jump/and energy.
Akito Hirose (1 assist) Played well for the Silverbacks, made things happen, was in on the play often through out the night.
Logan Shaw (1 goal) Not the biggest kid, but played well in the loss.
Jack Sampson Played well in the game and series. Had a strong night tonight, had some looks and one great chance on a 3rd period powerplay.
Trevor Adams (1 goal) This kid is quick on his feet, hard to defend against and hard to contain, gave Vernon all kids of troubles through out the series and tonight. Had several looks/chances though out Game 5 is a work horse and played hard all game.
Andy Stevens (1 goal) The former Powell River Kings d-man played a heck of a series and a heck of a game.
Ethan Langenegger (52 saves) What can you say about this kid? One of the better goaltenders in the league, gave the Snakes troubles all season. A bigger goaltender, covers a lot of the net, plays with confidence, is hard to beat down low and one on one. Made some fantastic saves in the overtimes to keep Salmon Arm in the game. How doesn't Langenegger get a star?
Game Thought's: (Salmon Arm)
With their season on the line the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks left everything on the ice in Game 5 played with a lot of desperation, gave Vernon their all, emptied the tanks in a very tough triple overtime loss. I thought for the first time since Game 1 Salmon Arm was the better of the two teams tonight for a lot of the game. The Backs carried the better of the play for a lot of the game, saw more time in the offensive zone, had more puck possession, were winning the battles/puck races, played with much more jump and energy. Giving up the games first goal just fifty three seconds in, give SA full credit for not folding the tents. They come right back to tie the game two minutes later and then slowly begin to take over a bit of the edge in play. The Apes with two big goals in the middle frame, have a two goal lead heading into the 3rd period but for a second time this series, Salmon Arm blows a third period lead and then loses in overtime. The S'Backs wont be happy blowing a 3-1 lead heading into the 3rd, especially giving up two goals the first three and a half minutes. Salmon Arm may have lost the series in five games but this entire series was a hard fought battle and may have re-kindled that rivalry that once lived on many years ago. I personally think the Vernon/Salmon Arm rivalry died off many years ago but after this playoff series, may be back? The Silverbacks could have easily won any of the last four games and changed this series in a hurry. This was anybody's series as both teams are very evenly matched. After the Silverbacks went 5-1 vs the Vipers during the regular season, I didn't think the Snakes had much of a chance in the playoffs. I for sure didn't expect Vernon to win the series in five games, especially after losing Game 1 5-3 on home ice. Was Justin Wilson suspended for his spear on Jagger Williamson in Game 4? Wilson was scratched from the lineup tonight but no official press release if he was suspended or maybe injured? The S'Backs have been eliminated two years in a row by the Vipers and have only beat the Vipers once in five playoff series. The Silverbacks have struggled to finish the season, have one win in their last nine games and just two wins in their last twelve games. This was the longest game in Silverbacks playoff history. A great turnout of Salmon Arm fans were in attendance tonight. I would like to take this time to congratulate the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on a great season and wish all the graduating players all the best in their hockey futures or life experiences.
Energy Player of the Game:
Jesse Lansdell (2 assists)
1st Star: Matt Kowalski (Overtime winner)
2nd Star: Jagger Williamson (1 assist)
3rd Star: Trevor Adams (1 goal)