I was at tonight's Vipers-Vees game as Penticton defeated Vernon 7-1 in front of 3,217 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Vernon: Reilly Herbst
Penticton: Yaniv Perets
Before the game, the Penticton Vees honoured forward Jackson Niedermayer for being the Vees Player of the month for January. The Vees had an interview on the jumbo tron and presented Niedermayer with a suite before the national anthem.
1st Period: The Vipers give up an odd man rush inside the opening two minutes. Lukas Sillinger and Jackson Niedermayer in on the two on one, Sillinger decides to keep and shoot, roofed his shot high and over Reilly Herbst, giving Penticton an early 1-0 lead at 1:54 David Silye collected the assist. Less then three minutes later, Liam Malmquist spotted Danny Weight, the son of former NHLer Doug Weight. Weight's shot goes high and over Reilly Herbst, giving Penticton an early 2-0 lead at 4:24 Malmquist picked up the helper. The Vees with two goals on four shots. Less then a minute later, former Vernon Vipers forward Tyler Ho with a shot from well out, somehow beat Reilly Herbst, giving Penticton a quick 3-0 lead at 5:13 Colton Kalezic with the lone assist on a goal I think Herbst would like to have back. This was the end of the night for Vernon Vipers starting goaltender Reilly Herbst, who allowed three goals on five Penticton shots. Keegan Karki to picked up the win in Friday's 2-1 victory over Prince George, was now in goal for the Snakes. The Vipers responded with a quick pushback shift after the goal. Off the following faceoff, Logan Cash with a quality chance at the top of the blue paint, couldn't beat Yaniv Perets who was sprawled out to make a tough save with bodies in and around the goal. On the following play/shift, Connor Sleeth fired a high shot that looked to handcuff Yaniv Perets, making a difficult save as Vernon gets back to back opportunities. Shortly after Connor Hutchison's point shot looked to hit a stick or a body in front, as the puck dipped caught Keegan Karki off guard as the puck just went wide of the far post as the Vees were very close to jumping ahead by four goals. On the following play, Tyler Ho setup Colton Kalezic, giving Penticton a 4-0 lead at 9:21 on Keegan Karki's second shot of the game. Ho picked up the lone helper. About two minutes later, Drew Elser beat Keegan Karki but not the post as the Vees come within inches of going ahead 5-0. About two or three minutes later, Jay O'Brien beat Keegan Karki from the goal line, but rang his shot off the post/or crossbar with the Vees pressing late in the opening period. With a minute left in the 1st Vernon product Matt Kowalski tried the "lacrosse goal" would be denied by Yaniv Perets. Kowalski scored the "lacrosse goal" January 11th vs Alberni Valley. It was 4-0 Penticton after 20 minutes of play. The hometown Vees jumped on the Snakes early and often and basically put the game away just over five minutes in. Penticton with a strong transition game, moved the puck in a hurry, were outskating the Vipers and capitalizing on there chances. I didn't think the Vees had a lot of opportunities but scored on them. Penticton also hit two goal posts, could have been up 6 or 7-0. The Vees were the better team and carried a lot of the play, had more puck possession and offensive zone time. Penticton looked like a well oiled machine this period. The Vipers gave up three quick early goals, fell behind 3-0 just over five minutes into the contest. The Snakes didn't get a save from there goaltener or goaltenders who didn't look sharp. Vernon didn't have a chance to even be in this game, were already down three goals with the game basically over at this point. The Snakes were chasing Penticton most of the period, didn't see a lot of time in the offensive zone. The Vipers managed to generate some zone time towards the end of the period, but it was already 4-0 at this point. Penticton outshot Vernon 13-7.
2nd Period: The Vees with another strong start to a period, jumped on Vernon early. Vees captain/forward David Silye setup former Trail Smoke Eaters defenceman Ethan Martini with his first goal as a Vee, gave Penticton an early 5-0 lead at 1:39 Silye & Connor Hutchison collected the helpers. About three and a half minutes later Jackson Niedermayer, the son of former NHLer Scott Niedermayer setup Lukas Sillinger, the son of former NHLer Mike Sillinger who just fired wide of the goal, on a missed opportunity. Sillinger looked to have an open cage, just missed the far corner after some slick passing from the hometown Penticton Vees. About two minutes later, the Snakes would get the games first power play. The Vipers couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. Just over two minutes later, Lukas Sillinger with a highlight reel goal, split the Viper defence before beating Keegan Karki, giving Penticton a commanding 6-0 lead at 11:34 Connor Hutchison with the lone assist. 1:20 later the Vees struck again. Jay O'Brien spotted Liam Malmquist, giving Penticton a 7-0 lead at 12:54 O'Brien picked up the assist. Fourty seconds later, Logan Cash setup Matt Kowalski who's wrist shot beat Penticton Vees starting goaltender Yaniv Perets high glove, bar and in cutting Penticton's lead to 7-1 at 13:41 Cash and Landon Fuller collected the helpers. It was 7-1 Penticton after 40 minutes of play. For a second straight period, Penticton jumped on the Snakes, scoring an early goal to start a period. The Vees had a slight edge in play in the first half, before taking there foot off the gas. The Vipers down 7-0 were finally able to get some offensive zone time, didn't create/or generate much for opportunities. Both teams didn't have a lot of chances but Penticton capitalized on there opportunities. Shots were 8-8.
3rd Period: The Vipers made a goaltending change to start the final frame. Former Chicago Steel netminder Reilly Herbst started the 3rd period. Herbst started the game but was pulled after giving up three goals on five Penticton shots. Keegan Karki allowed four goals on sixteen Penticton shots. Trey Taylor blocked a shot early, went down in a hurry, was in a lot of pain, struggled to get off the ice and to the Vernon bench, but seemed to be ok, stayed in the hockey game. About five minutes into the final frame, Logan Cash and Crason Kosobud exchanged words and a few jabs at each other, were both sent to the sin bin. Shortly after the Vees would get there first look with the man advantage. Early on the PP Jay O'Brien's quick shot beat Reilly Herbst but not the post as the Vees come within inches of capitalizing with the man advantage. About halfway through the power play, Lukas Sillinger's shot from the slot, beat Reilly Herbst but not the crossbar as the Vees were buzzing with the PP. Towards the end of the power play, Jackson Niedermayer with a quality chance in front, looked to have Reilly Herbst beat but couldn't hit the open cage on a missed opportunity. Vernon escaped a very dangerous Vees power play, managed to hang on and kill off the minor. Shortly after Colton Kalezic ripped a shot from the dot would be stopped by Reilly Herbst, who was forced to make a big stop. Around the midway mark Vees forward/captain David Silye left the ice in discomfort was holding his wrist/arm, went straight to the Vees dressing room and I didn't see him return. With about six minutes left in the 3rd, Hunter Donohoe with a big check along the end wall, knock the pane of glass out of the stanchions. A four or five minute delay and the game continued. With about four minutes remaining, the Vipers sprung Keigo Hachisuka in for the breakaway, couldn't solve Yaniv Perets. With about a minute and a half to go, Hunter Donohoe's shot from the blueline, forced Yaniv Perets to flash the leather with a quick glove save, getting a big cheer from Vees Nation. Penticton would come away with the 7-1 victory. With the game out of reach, the Vees took there foot off the gas, while the Vipers carried a lot of the play. The Vees looked dangerous on there only power play of the period/night, hit the post/crossbar twice. Both teams generated some chances, but neither team could score. In a 7-1 game I was surprised not to see any bad blood/or see the tempers boil over. Both teams kept it clean and basically ran out the clock. I'm sure at this point, both teams wanted to call it a night and go home. Penticton outshot Vernon 12-9.
Top Player's: (Vernon)
Game Thought's: (Vernon)
The Vipers gave up an early odd man rush inside two minutes, surrendered three goals in just over five minutes. Playing one of the top teams in the league, down 3-0 early and struggling to score goals all season, the game was basically over and the Snakes could never recover. This was one game Vernon would like to forget. The Vipers never really stood a chance as the game was basically over five minutes in. It also didn't help the Snakes are playing there fourth game in eight days and third game in four nights. Vernon didn't see much time with the puck or in the offensive zone until the Vees took there foot off the gas with the game way out of reach. The Vipers were chasing Penticton most of the night, had trouble's containing and defending against a very skilled Vees team. Goaltending has been one of if not the Vipers lone bright spot this season and been heavenly called apon all season to keep them in games. Tonight the goaltending let them down early. I don't think you can fault Reilly Herbst on the first two goals, but he should have stopped Penticton's third goal. The Vipers needed a big save or two early and didn't get it and the game snowballed from there. When a team like Vernon is down 3-0 only five minutes in, the Vipers don't have the skill or team to come from behind on the road in a tough building vs the second top team in the league. The Vipers are an average hockey team and you make one or two mistakes vs a top team like Penticton, the Vees will make you pay. I haven't liked the Snakes game lately and especially playing from behind the past so many games. Sure Vernon has rallied in a few games as of late, and come from behind to get the win. But your luck wont last for ever and your not going to do that vs a team like Penticton. The Vipers need better starts and need to start playing with the lead. Vernon's two game winning streak comes to an end as once again, the Vipers inconsistent play shows. This team hasn't played many sixty minute games and wont clinch 3rd place/home ice advantage or win many games come playoffs, playing the way they have been lately. I heard a rumor Ben Sanderson has gone home, due to his injury. What is up with this years schedule? The Vipers have played four games the past eight days, with three games in the past four days, while the Vees have been off for the past seven days. The schedule doesn't get any easier, as Vernon plays in Merritt on Tuesday. Not many Viper fans made the trip to the Peach City tonight, as I only spotted four Viper jerseys in the crowd. Vernon has eight games remaining on the schedule with five of those eight games played on home ice. The Vipers have lost three of there last five games are 5-5 in there last ten, have lost ten of there past seventeen games. With the loss Vernon falls to 26-21-2-1 fall to 4th in the Interior division after Salmon Arm's 5-2 win in Merritt, puts the Silverbacks into 3rd place. Vernon is three points ahead of 5th place Wenatchee and one point back of 3rd place Salmon Arm.
Top Player's: (Penticton)
Here is a list of players I thought stood out or played well for Penticton.
Jay O'Brien (1 assist) I thought played with a ton of jump/energy, was all over the ice in the offensive zone. Rang a shot off the post in the 3rd period, looked good for the Vees.
Colton Kalezic (1 goal & 1 assist) Was dangerous with and without the puck. I have liked this kid this season, has played well vs the Vipers this year. Played very well in the win tonight.
Tyler Ho (1 goal & 1 assist) Played with lots of jump/energy, facing his former team.
Liam Malmquist (1 goal & 1 assist) Was another Penticton forward who played very well. Gave Vernon troubles in the offensive zone. Plays hard and competes all game.
Jackson Niedermayer Played well, was creating/generating plays all night. Not the biggest kid, but very quick/shifty with and without the puck. Reads and sees the ice.
Lukas Sillinger (2 goals) Was one of if not the Vees best forward in the victory. Plays very well vs Vernon and had a strong night this evening. This kid plays hard, takes a hit but also can be physical. Plays with an edge, can score and has a wicked shot. A very smart yet skilled player.
Connor Hutchison (2 assists) Played very well on the blueline. Collected two helpers, was involved in the play, played very well at both ends of the rink.
Yaniv Perets (23 saves) Wasn't tested much at all but when called apon to make the save, he answered the bell. Perets didn't see a lot of action but was forced to make at least three or four real big stops. The game was already out of reach but I thought managed to stay focused and didn't quit battling in a lopsided game.
Game Thought's: (Penticton)
Fred Harbinson was in Vernon at both of the Vipers last two home games, Wednesday and Friday. Harbinson scouted the Vipers to a tee, as Penticton opened the scoring early, putting the game away after only twenty minutes. This game was over early as Penticton showed Vernon who's the top team in the division. The Vees looked good from the drop of the puck and never gave the visiting Vipers a sniff. I really like Penticton's transition game. The Vees are a very quick puck moving hockey club, that makes you chase them. The Vipers were caught chasing the Vees most of the night, well especially in the opening frame and at least the first half of the 2nd period. The Vees always recruit well and bring in some of the world's finest junior hockey players and this years Vees roster is loaded with not only talent but skill. Penticton can make you pay at any time during a hockey game, the forward groups are very skilled and dangerous, hard to contain and defend against. The Vees also back check and play very well defensively in front of there goaltenders. The Vees defenders kept Vernon's forwards to the outside, limited the Snakes chances and didn't give up any second or third opportunities. Yaniv Perets wasn't busy/or tested often but was seeing pucks all the way. Penticton didn't completely dominate the hockey game, managed to score/capitalize on there opportunities. The key for the hometown Vees was, scoring early and often and playing with the lead and a big lead at that. Penticton hasn't played since the 24th has had the past seven days off, was facing a Vernon team playing there third game in four nights. The Vees looked very fresh, played with a lot of jump/energy. The Vees have been very solid on home ice in 2020 have now won seven straight games at the SOEC. The Vees are on a roll and playing with a lot of chemistry and looking strong down the stretch. This could be a dangerous Vees team come playoffs. A large crowd on hand for tonight's matchup. I really enjoy watching games at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Some of the best fans in the league, are into the games, make it feel like a playoff type atmosphere every game I have attended. The Vees win the season series over Vernon 5-1 won the last four games vs the Vipers. Penticton has won seven straight games and eleven of there last twelve games. The Vees have seven games remaining, with all seven games played at home. With the win Penticton improves to 38-11-1-1 remain atop the Interior division are nine points ahead of 2nd place Trail and twenty three points ahead of Vernon. The Vees are only four points back of league leading Coquitlam.
Ben Sanderson (Injured)
Jack Glen (injured)
Dawson Holt (Injured)
Max Palaga (Injured-Out for the season)
Energy Player of the Game:
Connor Hutchison (2 assists)
1st Star: Tyler Ho (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Colton Kalezic (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Ethan Martini (1 goal)
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Here are some photo's I took before and during tonight's Vipers-Vees game.