I was born and raised in Vernon, BC and been watching/following Junior hockey in Vernon my entire life. My family has been watching/following Junior hockey in Vernon since 1961. I have had season tickets since 1990 and only missed 5 home games since 2004 and 46 home games since 1990. I'm not a journalist, writer, reporter or work for the Vernon Vipers. I don't get paid doing this blog and do this blog on my own personal time. I started and created this blog in November 2008 and have over 2 million viewers. For anyone who couldn't attend or watch tonight's Vipers game, here are my thought's and views from tonight's game. You may agree or disagree but we all have our own opinion on the hockey game. I try to be professional and give a fare game recap from both sides. Thank you for visiting my blog.
I was at tonight's Vipers-Vees exhibition game as Penticton defeated Vernon 3-1 in front of 2,360 fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The largest crowd in Vees preseason history.
Vernon: Roan Clarke
Penticton: Kaeden Lane
1st Period: Twenty two seconds into the opening frame, the Vees on an odd man rush moved the puck from tape to tape before setting up Josh Nadeau who was stopped in close by Roan Clarke. Clarke was forced to make a big save on a Vees three way passing play. On the following faceoff and seconds later the Vees won the draw setting up Casey McDonald who's quick one time from the high slot forced Roan Clarke into making a big save off the draw. Two big back to back saves for the Vipers netminder, less then a minute into the hockey game. The Vees with a strong start were up in shots 3-0 not even a minute into the contest. Vernon needed almost two minutes to record their first shot on goal but Zack Tonelli's shot from the top of the circle that forced Kaeden Lane into making a blocker save was not recorded as a shot on goal. About four and a half minutes in, Penticton on another attack spotted Luc Wilson going to the goal, would be denied by Roan Clarke. Less then a minute later the Vees would open the scoring. Captain Finlay Williams setup Luke Vardy who's point shot looked to hit a stick or a body on it's way to the goal, found it's way through beating Roan Clarke at 5:36 giving Penticton a 1-0 lead. Vardy would get credited with the goal, while Williams took in the lone helper. Just over three minutes later, former Prince George Spruce Kings forward Finlay Williams beat Roan Clarke giving Penticton a 2-0 lead at 8:38 Luc Wilson collected the assist. Just over a minute later Ryan Hopkins low shot along the ice forced Roan Clarke into flashing the leather for the quick glove save as the Vees with a ton of pressure were all over the visiting Vernon Vipers in the first half. Two minutes later, Frank Djurasevic's point shot would be denied by Roan Clarke. Two big opportunities/saves from the point minutes apart. With about six and a half minutes remaining in the 1st period, the Vees cruised into Vernon's end on an odd man rush setting up Josh Nadeau forcing a sprawling Roan Clarke into what I thought was a large save off the attack. The Vipers got control of the puck and carried the play up ice. Newly committed forward Daniel North with a strong shift setup returning forward Ethan Mercer in the circle who beat Kaeden Lane five hole cutting Penticton's lead to 2-1 at 13:57 North with the lone assist on the Snakes first shot of the game. How big was Roan Clarke's save seconds before or it could have easily been a 3-0 game for the hometown Vees. This goal sparked the Vipers as Vernon responded with a few good shifts inside the final five minutes. With three minutes remaining committed forward Luke Buss with a very good look/and opportunity to tie the game couldn't solve Kaeden Lane. Inside the final minute Luke Buss was given two minutes for high sticking a Penticton player. The referee looked at the players mouth and awarded Buss a two minute minor. The player went to the Vees bench, had two other players look at his mouth before Vees Head Coach/GM Fred Harbinson waived over an official to look at the same players mouth for a second time. The referee's huddled around the penalty boxes turned the call into a four minute double minor, giving the Vees a late powerplay, the first powerplay of the game. The Vees with pressure had some looks. In the dying seconds a shot from the corner somehow beat Roan Clarke but didn't get in before the buzzer as the green goal light come on a second before the puck crossed the goal line. A second or two earlier and this would have been a 3-1 Vees lead. The game remained 2-1. It was 2-1 Penticton after 20 minutes of play. The 1st period was owned by the hometown Penticton Vees. The Vees dominated the play most of the twenty minutes. Penticton carried most of the play, had loads of puck possession and zone time were all over the Snakes. The Vipers played most of the opening frame in their own end. Penticton with structure, has a very good transition game, was moving the puck very well and were dangerous in the attacking zone creating/generating all kinds of good looks and chances through out the period. Vernon needed fourteen minutes to record their first shot on goal, had all kinds of troubles defending and gaining puck control. The Vipers had troubles clearing the zone, getting out of their own end and getting through the neutral zone. The Snakes seemed to finally get a little life in them towards the end of the period after getting on the scoreboard. Vernon seemed to finally get some puck possession and zone time inside the final six minutes. The Vees were by far the better team. Penticton outshot Vernon 14-3.
2nd Period: The Vees started the middle frame on the man advantage that was carried over from the 1st period. Jake Buss was in the sin bin for a double minor high stick call late in the opening frame. Off the opening draw the Vees gained possession, the nephew of former NHLer Jason Arnott (Grayson Arnott) beat Roan Clarke in close giving Penticton an early 3-1 lead at 0:25 Finlay Williams & Luc Wilson drew the helpers. Arnott's goal was on the powerplay. The Vees went back to work on the PP (double minor) and come very close to grabbing a three goal lead inside the opening minute but Vernon Vipers starting goaltender Roan Clarke was forced to make a large save with traffic in front. Penticton moving the puck around had several good looks before taking a penalty of their own, sending both teams to four on four. The Vipers would eventually come out with a shortened PP. Vernon tried sending Zack Tonelli the son of former NHLer John Tonelli in for the breakaway but Zach Tonelli couldn't connect on the pass on a missed opportunity. The Vipers unable to capitalize with the man advantage. Jack Glen the owners son took a heavy check along the side wall inside the Vipers zone, stayed down for a few seconds before taking some time getting back to his feet. Glen looked a little dazed or maybe hurt on the play, went down the tunnel and didn't return until the 3rd period. Just before the halfway mark Roan Clark denied Ethan Mann in close on a big stop down low. Clarke had to be sharp was tested often in the 2nd period. The Snakes would get a late PP their second of the game and of the period. Ethan Mercer returning for a second season missed on an open net and a chance to get within a goal as Penticton kills off the minor. It was 3-1 Penticton after 40 minutes of play. For a second straight period the Vees were the better of the two teams. Penticton carried a lot of the play, had more zone time, puck possession and were overall better with and without the puck. The Snakes were a second or two behind making that first pass coming out of their own end, while the Vees aggressive forecheck were winning the battles, knocking the Vipers off the puck and man handling Vernon along the wall. The Vipers defence had troubles clearing the zone, and couldn't handle Penticton's forecheck. Roan Clarke had to be sharp and was the difference. Vernon did manage a little more puck possession and zone time but only managed five shots on goal. The Vees looked desperate and hungry this period, seemed to want the puck more. It was like watching men play against boys in the first two periods. Penticton outshot Vernon 18-5.
3rd Period: The Snakes jumped on an early PP to start the final frame. Ethan Mercer with a quick shot from the circle forced Penticton Vees starting goaltender Kaeden Lane to make a big stop on a shot he may have had troubles with. The puck was lying between the goaltenders feet before a Vees defender come over to smother the puck and stop the play. The Vees would kill off the minor. Shortly after Thomas Pichette looked to have blocked a shot as Pichette was gingerly and slow making his way to the Vees bench. A few plays later Luc Wilson with a glorious opportunity in front couldn't solve Roan Clarke. Just before the midway mark Penticton would get a short two man advantage and get some good looks but couldn't beat Roan Clarke who was keeping Vernon in the hockey game this evening. The Vees with several good looks couldn't capitalize with the two man advantage. Anthony Allepot lined up Ethan Mercer in the neutral zone and levelled the second year Viper forward to the ice in the biggest hit of the night. Mercer was down and very slow getting up, went down the tunnel and didn't return. With about five minutes remaining the Snakes would get a late PP to try and get within a goal but again couldn't get much of anything going. Penticton killed off the minor. With about three minutes left the Vees jumped on a late PP. Very late in the man advantage, Ethan Mann and Beanie Richter with two good looks/chances but the Vees couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. With time winding down and Vernon having troubles getting out of their own end, the Vipers would finally get Roan Clarke to the bench for the extra attacker with about forty seconds remaining. The Vipers had a few good looks at the net but would eventually run out of time as Penticton would knock off Vernon 3-1. For a third straight period the Vees were once again the better team. Penticton carried a lot of the play, had more puck possession and more zone time. The Vees had some very good looks/quality chances couldn't beat Roan Clarke who kept the Snakes in the contest. Vernon did manage a little zone time, may have had a few looks but needed much more then that. The Vipers just couldn't keep pace with the Vees all night and it showed. Penticton was a step ahead. The Vipers lacked scoring only managed five shots on goal in a period where they were down two goals. Penticton outshot Vernon 22-5.
Top Player's: Vernon Vipers
Tyler Chan A player who has committed to the Vernon Vipers for the 2021-22 season played hard and battled/competed through out the night. Didn't get any chances or shots on goal but was the first player into the boards fighting for the puck on most puck battles. I really liked this kids work ethic, especially in the 1st period.
Ethan Mercer had some looks/opportunities, was Vernon's most dangerous forward.
Roan Clarke (51 saves) Returning for a second season kept the Snakes in tonight's matchup. If it wasn't for Clarke who knows how many goals the Vees would have scored? Clarke was positionally sound, played large and made several large stops through out the game.
Game Thought's: Vernon Vipers
The Vipers have now played two exhibition games and were outplayed in both games. I know it's only the preseason but I haven't been impressed with what I have seen in two games early into the season. I will give the Vipers a little slack in Tuesday's loss to Salmon Arm. First game of the season, mostly rookies/younger kids etc. No excuses tonight, the Vipers dressed nine players returning from last season as well as seven committed players. Penticton was by far the better team and dominated the hockey game off the opening faceoff. If you woke up Saturday morning and saw Vernon lost 3-1 you would probably think it was a good game and close game. The game wasn't even close and the Vipers were lucky they only lost by two goals. Vernon's defence had troubles clearing the zone, coming out of their own end and were losing one on one battles and puck battles in their own end. The Vees would get the play in deep, the Viper defence would get control of the puck and within seconds the Vees managed to skate into the zone, take the body, steal the puck and regain control of the puck and play. The Snakes defenders had no answer for the Vees speed, transition game, dangerous/skilled forwards & an aggressive forecheck in their own end. In both preseason games the Viper offence has been missing and had troubles creating/generating opportunities and getting pressure in on the attacking zone. Your not going to win many hockey games with five or less shots a period. In a game when your being dominated and outplayed but only down two goals heading into the 3rd period, I want to see some compete, some work ethic and a little emotion, play hard, win some battles, muck it up a little, go to the grey areas, but I didn't see that tonight. As I'm watching tonight's game, I'm watching Penticton's recruits/committed players compared to Vernon's and there is no comparison, the Vees out recruited the Vipers by a long shot and it showed tonight. Roan Clarke played one heck of a game and kept his team in the hockey game. The Vees could have easily pumped in ten or more goals tonight. Head Coach/GM Jason McKee & Assistant Coach Larry Draper were not behind the bench. Assistant Coaches Colton Sparrow and Eric Morrissette were behind the Vipers bench.
Top Player's: Penticton Vees
Anthony Allepot I didn't notice this kid all night until his massive open ice check in the neutral zone midway through the 3rd period on Ethan Mercer. By far the check of the night. This kid has some size.
Ryan Hopkins I thought played very well on Penticton's blueline. Was solid defensively but also got involved in the play. Was getting pucks to the net, had at least two good shots/chances from the point. I liked this kids game tonight.
Josh Nadeau This kid has some wheels and goes to the net. Had several looks/chances through out the game, played a very good game up front for the Vees.
Finlay Williams (1 goal & 2 assists) The Vees captain was buzzing all over the rink this evening. Played and battled hard. Very entertaining to watch.
Luc Wilson (2 assists) Played very well, was going to the goal, creating/generating opportunities.
Frank Djurasevic Played with a bit of an edge, was involved in the play. Hard to beat one on one.
Casey McDonald Had some looks & chances I thought played well. Was always in and around the goal.
Ethan Mann was another kid who played well, was involved in the play, going to the net, looking for opportunities.
Game Thought's: Penticton Vees
The Penticton Vees opened the 2021 exhibition season with their first game tonight and you wouldn't tell this was the Vees first game. Once again Fred Harbinson and his staff look to have put together a very strong team. I know it's only one game and it's the preseason but the Vees look like they will be tough to play against once again. The Vees had their names on their jerseys look to have their roster picked. This team plays with structure, a strong transition game, quick on their feet, move the puck well, tape to tape passing and have some talent/skill up front. Penticton dominated the game off the opening faceoff and never looked back. The Vees played very well at both ends of the rink, have an aggressive forecheck that were beating the Vipers to pucks, battles along the wall and skating circles around Vernon's defenders. It looked like men against boys tonight. I don't think the Vees missed one pass all night, it was tape to tape every time. They move the puck so well and dangerous with and without the puck. The Vees had a very lively bench tonight, making a ton of noise and excited after every goal. I'm not one bit surprised to see Fred Harbinson put together another strong team. Year after year, Harbinson and the Vees put together a very competitive and skilled team. Beanie Richter is the son of former New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter. Jackson Nieuwendyk is the son of former NHLer Joe Nieuwendyk. Josh Niedermayer is the son of former New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer. Grayson Arnott is the nephew of former NHLer Jason Arnott. These two teams will finish the home & home series tomorrow night in Vernon. The Vees home opener is October 8th vs the Vernon Vipers. A very large crowd on hand for the Vees first exhibition game of the season as you could feel the energy and atmosphere in the rink. One of if not the nicest arena in the BCHL. If your going to grab a bite to eat before a Vees game, I would suggest grabbing a cheese burger and fries from the concession. A big heads up to the cooks at the SOEC for making one of the best arena burgers out there! The Vees are also a little more lax when it comes to walking around and gathering during intermissions. The restaurant and lounges inside the South Okanagan Events Centre were busy and packed with people. Tonight's 50/50 went for $2,890 I spotted a few Viper fans at tonight's game.
No scratches were announced before tonight's game
No scratches were announced before tonight's game
Energy Player of the Game:
1st Star: Finlay Williams (1 goal & 2 assists)
2nd Star: Roan Clarke (51 saves)
3rd Star: Luc Wilson (2 assists)
Here is a look at both teams rosters,
Luke Ashton 05 D
Desmond Johnson 02 D
Andrey Manov 03 D
Holdin Getzlaf 04 D
Ayden Third 02 D
Adam Bourgeois 04 D
Tyler Chan 05 F
Ryan Shostak 01 F
Jason Siedem 02 F
Dalton MacGillivray 04 F
Logan Lorenz 02 F
Luke Buss 03 F
Ethan Mercer 02 F
Daniel North 03 F
Luke Pakulak 03 F
Jack Glen 01 F
Greye Rampton 04 F
Zack Tonelli 02 F
Roan Clarke 03 G
Ethan David 03 G
Anthony Allepot 01 D
Ryan Hopkins 04 D
Thomas Pichette 03 F
Beanie Richter 04 F
Trevor O'Brien 02 F
Josh Nadeau 03 F
Finlay Williams 03 F
Luc Wilson 01 F
Frank Djurasevic 02 D
Jackson Nieuwendyk 02 F
Josh Niedermayer 04 D
Brett Moravec 03 F
Stefano Bottini 02 F
Grayson Arnott 01 D
Casey McDonald 01 F
Ethan Mann 03 F
Luke Vardy 03 D
Bradley Nadeau 05 F
Colin Purcell 02 G
Kaeden Lane 01 G
Text Box Score,
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Here are some photo's I took before and during tonight's Vipers-Vees game.