Saturday, October 16, 2021

Vipers Home Opener: Vernon 4 Salmon Arm 3 Overtime

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 senior mens hockey in Vernon since the 1950s and junior hockey in Vernon since it started in 1961. I have had season tickets since 1990 and missed only 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 to do 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 watch or attend tonight's Vipers game, here are my thoughts and views from tonight's game. You may agree or disagree but we all have our own opinon 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 home opener as Vernon defeated Salmon Arm 4-3 overtime in front of 1,500 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon Vipers: Roan Clarke
Salmon Arm Silverbacks: Owen Say

Before the game the Vipers introduced the 2021-22 Vernon Vipers during the teams pre-game ceremonies and then a special tribute to the fire and rescue people of the North Okanagan for their hard work and dedication during this summers wild fires.

1st Period: Twenty eight seconds into the Vipers home opener, the Snakes setup Cameron MacDonald who gets a quality chance in front would be denied by Owen Say. Vernon with good pressure off the opening faceoff. About a minute later Brandon Santa Juan responded with a good look/opportunity for Salmon Arm but couldn't beat Roan Clarke. On the following play, Reagn Milburn had Owen Say beat ringing a shot off the post as the hometown Vipers come close to opening the scoring. Less then a minute later the Snakes would get the games powerplay just over three minutes into the 1st period. Vernon would get multiple looks/chances on the PP before Owen Say smothered the puck on a goal mouth scramble as the penalty expired. Owen Say was solid between the pipes on the PK. Six seconds after the PP Luke Buss pokes home a loose puck in front, opening the scoring and giving Vernon an early 1-0 lead at 5:34 Tyler Chan & Ayden Third picking up the helpers. Buss's shot isn't registered on the shot clock as Vernon is outshooting Salmon Arm 6-1 at this point. Minutes later Simon Tassy who had three goals in Salmon Arm's 4-2 victory over the Vipers last night, beats Roan Clarke but not the post as the Silverbacks come close to tying the hockey game. Around the midway mark Roan Clarke comes out of the blue paint to play the puck behind the net, turns over the puck to an Apes forward who through's the puck out front to a wide open Backs forward, but Roan Clarke scrambles back into the crease sprawling to somehow recover and smother the puck as traffic drives to the Vernon goal as Clarke and the Snakes catch a huge break. Third year forward Cameron MacDonald with a great opportunity couldn't put Vernon up by two after Owen Say makes a big stop with about six minutes remaining. With about three minutes left in the opening frame, Adam Bourgeois gets his stick up, would be given a double minor for high sticking, giving the Silverbacks a late powerplay. SA with pressure had a few looks but the Snakes with a solid PK kill off the first minor, before Nicholas Kent takes a double minor in the dying seconds for slew footing. The Vipers escape as the buzzer sounds. It was 1-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. The Vipers with a great start, started the contest with loads of jump/energy and looked very good in the first half. Vernon was the better team in the first half, but Salmon Arm had a slight edge in puck possession and overall play in the second half. The Snakes were outshooting the Gorillas 6-1 at one point before SA rallied with the next six shots and took the lead on the shot clock. A very exciting and entertaining 1st period as both teams battled, going back and fourth. Lots of chances at both ends of the rink. Shots were 11-11.

2nd Period: The Salmon Arm Silverbacks started the middle frame on the PP that was carried over from the 1st period. The Vipers were down two men and had five minutes to kill off the clock. Early into the two man advantage, the Apes setup a wide open Simon Tassy at the side of the crease, would be robbed by Roan Clarke who come over to make a large save, keeping this a one goal game. From my view it looked like Clarke got across, but a defenceman also could have gotten a stick in on the play. Either way Tassy misses what looks like a sure goal. Daniel Panetta would get a real good look/opportunity late but be denied by Vernon Vipers starting goaltender Roan Clarke. The Silverbacks get some looks and chances but can't capitalize. Roan Clarke was solid in goal as Vernon with a massive PK escapes and still leads 1-0. About three minutes later, the Snakes would get a PP after Salmon Arm gets called for too many men. Just over halfway through the man advantage, Griffen Barr spots Ryan Shostak who beats Salmon Arm Silverbacks netminder Owen Say, giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 8:34 Barr and Matthew Culling collect the assists. The S'Backs respond off the following faceoff with a strong push back shift. Thirty six seconds after Shostak's goal, Noah Serdachny at the side of the goal, bangs home a rebound on a second opportunity, cutting Vernon's lead to 2-1 at 9:10 Matthieu Bourgault & Simon Tassy draw the helpers. This goal not only quiets the Viper faithful but gives SA some life and momentum as the Silverbacks turn the tables. Just before the halfway mark, Kieran Ruscheinski needed attention by the team trainer. I didn't see what happened but Ruscheinski was laying on the ice and needed help off the ice with a bloody nose. Ruscheinski went to the dressing room and didn't return. 3:13 after the Apes got on the scoreboard, with the Snakes on their heels, Lucas Matta's shot from the point goes off Desmond Johnson's stick and past Roan Clarke tying the game 2-2 at 12:23 on a bad break for Johnson and the Vipers. Isaac Lambert and Owen Desilets pick up the assists. Just over two minutes later, Lucas Matta hit a Viper forward from behind, would be given two minutes for checking from behind and a game misconduct. Veteran forward Kjell Kjemhus rushed in jumping Matta as the two exchanged in a shoving match before the officials broke up the minor scrum. The Vipers struggle, can't get much going on the PP, give up a shorthanded chance. Salmon Arm on an odd man rush, move the puck around before Daniel Panetta would be stopped in close by Roan Clarke, on a large save. The Snakes get lucky the Backs don't take their first lead of the evening. Vernon doesn't record a shot on the man advantage as the Gorillas kill off the minor. Inside the final minute, Cameron MacDonald with a quality chance in the slot, can't beat Owen Say. A big stop late, keeping this game tied. It was 2-2 after 40 minutes of play. After the Vipers jump out to a 2-0 lead, things were looking up for Vernon, going for their first win of the new season. Instead the Silverbacks come right back, to get within a goal and the tables turn. From here on in I thought Salmon Arm had a slight edge in play, carried a bit more of the play, had more puck possession, more zone time, were getting more pucks to the net and getting more scoring chances. Vernon on the other hand were just a step behind, couldn't generate much for offence, were having troubles getting any kind of zone time/pressure and weren't getting many pucks to the net. The Snakes went several minutes at a time where they didn't record a shot on goal. I would say the Silverbacks were the better team that period. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 10-6.

3rd Period: Off the opening draw, Matthieu Bourgault with a quality opportunity couldn't beat Roan Clarke as SA comes close to taking an early lead. Just over two minutes into the 3rd Roan Clarke almost gets caught out of his crease again for a third time this evening, but manages to scramble back into play. Both teams weren't giving the other team much room in a very tight checking game early on. The play went back and fourth for a while with neither team doing much of anything. Neither team could find much open ice in a defensive battle early. Minutes past the midway mark, Matthew Culling with a wrsit shot from the slot, would be denied by Owen Say making a blocker save off a very good shot from the recently acquired Culling. Shortly after Vernon gets flat footed and back on their heels as the Apes are pressing. Noah Serdachny spots Simon Tassy all alone on the goal line, somehow beats Roan Clarke, giving Salmon Arm their first lead of the hockey game at 12:58 Serdachny collected the assist. In a period where neither team could get much going, Tassy's goal was huge at this point in the contest. Less then two minutes later on what looked like a broken play, Reagan Milburn's shot from the side wall, somehow beats Owen Say hitting the far post before banking in and off Say and into the back of the net as Milburn ties the game 3-3 at 14:52 Cameron MacDonald with the lone assist. This goal not only ties the hockey game but gets the crowd back into the building. But two minutes later and just over three minutes remaining a costly two many men penalty, gives Salmon Arm a late powerplay. The Viper bench extremly upset and irate with the call as the officials gather near the penalty box. Early into the PP Noah Serdachny's shot from well out forces Roan Clarke to get a peice of the rubber with his glove that was labelled top shelf. A large save late in the 3rd period. Former Wenatchee Wild defenceman Nicholas Kent blocks a shot but stays down and struggles to get off the ice, before going to the dressing room. Kent would return to the Vernon Vipers bench, but not see another shift. The Vipers with a massive PK kill off the remainder of the minor. The Snakes with some late pressure inside the final minute, get a good look/chance in the dying seconds as the buzzer sounds. It was 3-3 after 60 minutes of play. Salmon Arm gets two good opportunities inside the opening few minutes before both teams tighten up defensively. Neither team wants to give the other team any time or space as for the next several minutes it looked like both teams were waiting for the other team to make the first mistake. It looked like Simon Tassy's 3rd period goal may hold up to be the game winner, but less then two minutes later Ryan Shostak forces overtime. SA with a great opportunity late on the PP can't convert. I thought the Silverbacks had a slight edge in play at times and seemed to have a little more puck possession and zone time. For a second straight period, it looked like Salmon Arm had a slight step up on Vernon. Salmon Arm outshot Vernon 11-6.

Overtime: Vernon would win the draw and gain first possession. Griffen Barr carried the play into the offensive zone before Jo Jo Tanaka-Campbell looked to go around the back of the goal, instead spotted Cameron MacDonald going to the front of the net, buried the overtime winner at 0:22 as the Vipers bench erupted onto the ice, giving Vernon their first win of the season 4-3 overtime. Tanaka-Campbell & Barr with the helpers. Shots were 1-0 for Vernon. Looking at the starting lineup, it looked like Salmon Arm had the better matchup going with Simon Tassy, Noah Serdachny and Owen Desilets. 

Top Player's: Vernon Vipers

Luke Buss (1 goal) Opened the scoring for the hometown Vipers. I really like this kid. A very speedy, skilled forward who can move the puck, create/generate offence and is hard to defend against. Played very well in the Vipers OT win.

Luke Ashton Played very well for a 16 yr old. I thought handled himself well.

Reagan Milburn (1 goal) Looked good at different times during tonight's Vipers home opener. I didn't think he stood out but had several shifts through out the game where he played very well.

Cameron MacDonald (Overtime winner-1 assist) Has been the most consistent Viper this season. In the teams first three games of the 2021-22 regular season, it's been MacDonald who has created/generated lots of good chances in all three games, just hasn't had the puck bounce or go his way. MacDonald had several looks/opportunities tonight, including the OT winner.

Roan Clarke (29 saves) Playing his third straight game, made 29 saves in the teams first win of the young season. Clarke played well in the loss Friday night in Salmon Arm, I figured they would go with Ethan David tonight. Clarke made several large/key saves tonight, keeping the Snakes in the contest. How big were some of them saves on the PK? I really liked this kid last season. 

Game Thought's: Vernon Vipers

The Vipers play their best game of the young season. Vernon may have not played a full sixty minutes but was in tonight's game from start to finish. I really liked the Snakes 1st period. Salmon Arm had more puck possession, zone time, were getting more shots on goal and had a slight edge in play during the 2nd and 3rd periods, but give Vernon credit for not backing down, not giving up and battling hard to force overtime and then pull out the win in OT. The Vipers played well and looked good in both 1st periods on the road in Penticton last weekend and Salmon Arm last night but in both games were outplayed in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Tonight they played with a lot more grit, energy and played more as a team. I thought they looked more engaged tonight and held their own for most of the night. I really liked the Snakes penalty kill. The Apes could have easily buried the Vipers after having back to back double minors. After playing in front of small crowds during the preseason, I think Vernon fed off the crowd and atmosphere tonight. I have said this before, the Vipers still need to get more pucks to the net. In the 2nd and 3rd periods, the Vipers struggled getting shots and only managed six shots in the 2nd and 3rd periods. This was a huge win for this team. After going 1-5 in the preseason and losing the first two regular season games, you didn't want to see the Vipers fall to 0-3. After blowing a 2-0 lead it was nice to see this team stay with the game plan and battle back to eventually get the win in OT. The Vipers will now hit the road for a six game road trip. Vernon plays eight of its first nine games on the road. The Snakes next home game isn't until November 5th when the Wenatchee Wild come to town, a re-match of the 2020 1st round playoffs. I think starting the season on the road is a good thing. This will give these young kids a chance to bond, gel as a team, build friendships and grow as a team. Will see what this team is made of when they return home November 5th. With the win, Vernon improves to 1-2-0-0 travels to Chilliwack next weekend for the BCHL Showcase. A great crowd on hand tonight, made for a great atmosphere. After poor crowds during the exhibition games, I was a little worried where all the Viper fans were? Glad to see the fans come out tonight to support the team and these young kids. A crowd of 1,500 was announced and with the COVID-19 rules and restrictions, 1,500 is the max capacity the Vipers are allowed this season.

Top Player's: Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Lucas Matta (1 goal) I thought was having a nice game until being tossed for a check from behind in the 2nd period. 

Owen Desilets was another Backs d-man that played very well. This kid can skate, move the puck and is involved in the play. 

The line of Noah Serdachny (1 goal & 1 assist), Simon Tassy (1 goal & 1 assist) & Matthieu Bourgault were dangerous and hard to defend against. This line was very dangerous in the Silverbacks 4-2 win over Vernon last night in Salmon Arm. Tassy had several looks tonight, hit the post in the opening frame. 

Daniel Panetta played well in both games over the weekend. This kid is a good hockey player and gave the Vipers trouble in the home & home series. Played well tonight in the overtime loss.

Jake Lammens is a big d-man that played well on Salmon Arm's backend.

Owen Say (20 saves) Started back to back games this weekend, wasn't as busy as Roan Clarke but still forced to make some big stops for the Silverbacks. 

Game Thought's: Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Due to the lengthy opening night ceremonies the Backs were waiting around for puck drop, got off to a bit of a slow start and were outplayed early. Down 1-0 and outshot 6-1 the Apes responded and played much better for the remainder of the contest. For a second straight night, I thought the Gorillas played very well, and were consistent other then maybe the first ten minutes of the hockey game. Just like the Vipers, the Backs made some mistakes but recovered. I thought SA was the more physical team. The S'Backs have some very skilled forwards who are dangerous and hard to contain. Overall this was an entertaining hockey game and a game that either team could have won. The Silverbacks had a slight edge in play at times in the 2nd and 3rd periods but Vernon wasn't far behind. The Silverbacks could have put this game away on the powerplay. Salmon Arm with a late double minor in the 1st period, started the 2nd period with a second double minor, were unable to capitalize. Salmon Arm looks like they will compete and have a good team this coming season. A fair size crowd of Silverbacks fans made the quick trip down for the Vipers home opener. I love the Silverbacks new/retro jerseys. Love the new/old look! Including the preseason, the Silverbacks are 3-0-1-0 vs Vernon this year. These two teams will play again November 3rd in Salmon Arm. With the overtime loss, the Silverbacks fall to 2-0-1-0 and travel to Chilliwack next weekend for the BC Hockey League Showcase. 


Vernon Vipers:

Liam Cavan
Ethan Mercer
Seiya Tanaka-Campbell
Luke Pakulak
Braden Smith

Salmon Arm Silverbacks:

Lynden Hanvold
Mathieu Cobetto-Roy
William Lavigne
Gabriel Murrells Allaway

Three Star's:

1st Star: Cameron MacDonald (Overtime winner-1 assist)
2nd Star: Simon Tassy (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Luke Buss (1 goal)

Boxscore-Game Summary,

| BCHL League Site

Game Report,

Game Report (

Text Box Score,

Official statistics powered by (

Here is the full story from the Vernon Vipers website,

After the Buzzer – Vipers Take Silverbacks Down in OT Thriller | Vernon Vipers

Here is the full story from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks website,

Backs Fall 4-3 in OT | Salmon Arm Silverbacks (

Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions in the comment box below. I always enjoy and post all comments as long as there tasteful. Thank you for your comments and visiting my blog.

Here are some photo's I took before and during tonight's Vipers-Silverbacks game.


Anonymous said...

Did any saw a guy hit Sniper's Head, when he was giving kids High five in Section H ?

BINGO said...

The Vipers put in the effort and they wanted the win and where rewarded. Good game as it was entertaining. This effort shown tells us fans the possibilties of this team. Go,Vipers,Go.