Friday, January 14, 2022

Vernon 9 Merritt 1

I was born and raised in Vernon, BC and been watching/following Junior hockey in Vernon my entire life. My family watched Senior men's hockey in Vernon in the 1950's and has been watching Junior hockey in Vernon since it started in 1961. I have two family members that played Junior hockey in Vernon. I have had season tickets since 1990 and 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 do this blog on my own personal time. I started and created this blog in November 2008 and have over 2.1 million viewers. For anyone who couldn't watch or attend 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-Centennials game as Vernon defeated Merritt 9-1 in front of 1,192 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon Vipers: Roan Clarke
Merritt Centennials: Jackson Baker

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1st Period: One minute into the hockey game, Ben Ward & Drew Dornan got inbehind Vernon's defence for the breakaway. Ben Ward setup Drew Dornan who beat a sprawling Roan Clarke high, giving the visiting Merritt Centennials an early 1-0 lead at 1:04 Ben Ward drew the lone assist. You could hear several Viper fans yelling, "We want a new coach" We want a new coach" A few shifts later, Geoff Bjarnason went in and out of two Viper defenders before getting a shot off from the high slot, would be stopped by Roan Clarke in close as the Centennials jumped ahead in shots 4-1 at this point had the early edge in play. Griffen Barr responded a minute later with some nice moves of his own, before looking to have Jackson Baker beat as the puck got behind the Merritt goaltender but somehow stayed out as Griffen Barr and the Snakes come very close to tying the game. Two minutes later, former Merritt Centennials forward Luke Lavery with a quick shot beat Jackson Baker, tying the game 1-1 at 7:08 Lavery's goal was unassisted. The Vipers acquired Lavery from the Merritt Centennials November 30th. A minute later, Anton Sorensen at the side of the net, would be denied by Roan Clarke, a minute later Clarke come way out of the blue paint, sprawled out on his stomach may have got a piece of Chase Cooke's shot as the Cents with two good back to back opportunities. On the following play, Merritt would get the games first power play. The Centennials unable to really generate much with the man advantage as Vernon killed off the minor. Shortly after the penalty expired, Luke Ashton spotted Cameron MacDonald, who beat Jackson Baker, giving Vernon a 2-1 lead at 11:35 Luke Ashton and Ryan Shostak collected the assists. With about seven minutes remaining, Max Borovinskiy on a three on two rush, looked to beat Jackson Baker but rang his shot off the shaft of Baker's goal stick. With about three and a half minutes left, Ryan Shostak with a very good look/opportunity couldn't solve Jackson Baker. Baker had to be sharp once again about a minute later stopped Reagan Milburn. The Vipers had some good chances late in the period. It was 2-1 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. The Centennials got the early jump on the hometown Vipers, opened the scoring one minute into the contest, had the early edge in play at least for the first few minutes. I thought Merritt looked good, had a lot of jump and were skating, had the edge in play for the opening six or seven minutes before the Vipers tied the game and then took the lead. Vernon was the better team in the second half, had several quality chances only managed two goals. Jackson Baker was solid between the pipes, giving the Cents a chance to stay in the game. The Snakes could have had at least three or four goals. Vernon outshot Merritt 19-9.

2nd Period: One minute into the middle frame, Griffen Barr with a quick low shot along the ice forced Merritt Centennials starting goaltender Jackson Barr into kicking out the left pad, making a big stop early to start the period. About six minutes later, Jackson Baker made the first save and maybe stopped a second shot before Max Borovinskiy gave Vernon a 3-1 lead at 6:50 Reagan Milburn and Luke Buss with the assists. I thought this goal would be waived off due to a high stick, but the goal stood and it was 3-1 Snakes. About 1:10 later the Centennials would get their second PP of the evening. Shorthanded the Vipers sprung Cameron MacDonald in for the breakaway, couldn't beat Jackson Baker. A big stop from the Centennials netminder to keep this game a two goal game. Merritt with very little pressure couldn't capitalize with the man advantage. Twenty one seconds after the penalty expired, Luke Buss setup Zack Tonelli, giving Vernon a 4-1 lead at 10:21 Luke Buss with the assist. Eight seconds later, newly acquired Copeland Fricker spotted Reagan Milburn, giving Vernon a comanding 5-1 lead at 10:29 Copeland Fricker picking up th assist, his first point with the Vipers in his Viper debut. Less then two minutes later, the Centennials went to their third power play of the night. Merritt struggled was unable to generate anything as the Vipers killed off the minor. With about five minutes remaining in the 2nd period, Ben Ward with some nice moves couldn't solve Vernon Vipers starting goaltender Roan Clarke. Merritt would get a late power play, that only lasted about a minute and a half before being called for too many men on the ice, sending both teams to four on four. Griffen Barr was upset with the officials at the end of the period. On his way out of the penalty box, Barr was talking with one of the linesmen. It was 5-1 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. The Vipers were the better team for most of the period, opened up the game and took over control of the play for at least the first fifteen minutes. Vernon blew the game open with three 2nd period goals. The Snakes played very well and looked good, scoring on their chances. Vernon's penalty kill was also very solid. Merritt saw a lot of action in their own end, struggled offensively, couldn't get through the neutral zone often. The Cents did manage to come on late towards the end of the period, played well and carried the better of the play for the final five minutes. Vernon outshot Merritt 15-7.

3rd Period: Off the opening faceoff, the Centennials with an odd man rush. Chase Cooke couldn't beat Roan Clarke in close. On the following play, Griffen Barr's penalty from the end of the 2nd period expired, this giving the hometown Vipers a shortened PP their firsrt of the hockey game. Ryan Shostak with a nice behind the back pass to Nicholas Kent who's shot from the point found it's way through traffic, giving Vernon a comanding 6-1 lead at 0:41 Ryan Shostak and Cameron MacDonald picking up the assists. Just over three minutes later, the Snakes would get just their second power play of the game. The Centennials would do a good job of killing off the minor. About a minute and a half later, newly acquired Anthony Cliche with a shot from the point, beat Jackson Baker for his first BCHL goal in his Vipers debut, giving Vernon a 7-1 lead at 7:43 JoJo Tanaka-Campbell & Zack Tonelli collected the assists. Towards the end of the contest, JoJo Tanaka-Campbell setup Luke Pakulak who drove hard to the goal, beat Jackson Baker before Jack Glen took out Pakulak driving towards the net. It was 8-1 Vernon at 14:55 JoJo Tanaka-Campbell with the helper. Just over a minute later, the Snakes went on a late PP and just before the man advantage come to an end, Max Borovinskiy with a between the legs highlight reel goal, gave Vernon a 9-1 lead at 17:55 Luke Lavery and Griffen Barr with the assists. The Vipers would come away with the 9-1 victory. The Vipers added four more goals in the final frame, were again the better team. Vernon buried their chances and carried the better of the play. Merritt did manage to gain some entry into the offensive zone, but didn't generate many good opportunities. With the game way out of reach, I think the Vipers took their foot off the gas and the Cents didn't have much left in the tank. Vernon outshot Merritt 16-9.

Top Player's: Vernon Vipers

Griffen Barr I thought played very well on the Vernon blueline. Jumped into the play a few times, had some good looks/chances. 

The line of Max Borovinskiy (2 goals), Luke Lavery (1 goal & 1 assist) & Zack Tonelli (1 goal & 1 assist) Played very well and was clicking all evening. I really liked this line, thought they played hard, competed and were going to the net, creating/generating opportunities. 

Reagan Milburn (1 goal & 1 assist) Looked good and played very well in the Vipers win.

Cameron MacDonald (1 goal & 1 assist) Was good five on five but also on the PK. Was stopped on a 2nd period breakaway shorthanded. 

Ryan Shostak (2 assists) Was another forward who played very well.

Copeland Fricker (1 assist) Made his Vipers debut after being signed on the BCHL trade deadline on Monday. Played this season in the Western Hockey League with the Spokane Chiefs, is very quick on his feet, has some wheels. Not the biggest kid but hard to contain. I thought he played well.

Luke Pakulak (1 goal) I thought played a physical, gritty game.

Anthony Cliche (1 goal) Made his Vipers debut after being signed January 6th. Cliche started this season with the United States Hockey League Muskegon Lumberjacks. Since 2019 Vernon is Cliche's seventh team. This kid has some size and plays his position well. I liked his game and thought he looked good in his debut tonight.

Roan Clarke (24 saves) Wasn't overly tested but played well in a one sided hockey game.

Game Thought's: Vernon Vipers

Well it was a battle of the two worst teams in the BC Hockey League. The game didn't start well for the Snakes who gave up the games first goal 1:04 into the opening frame. The Vipers looked a little sluggish early, were outworked and outplayed a bit before slowly getting their game going. Once Luke Lavery tied the game it seemed like Vernon got a bit of a sigh of relief and never really looked back, scoring nine straight goals. For a team who has struggled scoring this season, Vernon not only generated/created lots of opportunities, also buried their chances. The Vipers were by far the better team for most of the hockey game, carried a lot of the play. I thought the Vipers passing looked much better tonight and gave up limited turnovers. Vernon's penalty kill was very good. It's been two weeks since the Vipers last game but seemed like a month. Playing the last place Centennials, this is exactly what this Viper team needed. I can't remember the last time we saw nine goals but let's hope this brings some confidence into this group. I'm glad to see the team finally got a win and scored some goals but let's not get too excited as Merritt is in last place with a record of 2-23-1-0 Now that the trade deadline is over and the final roster is set, let's see how this new Viper team looks vs Trail & Salmon Arm next week. A very small crowd tonight with lots of regular season ticket holders in my section not at tonight's game. Tonight was Vernon's second win in their last eight games. Since October 25th the Vipers are 5-18 With the win Vernon improves to 8-14-3-3 and remain 8th in the Interior Conference.

Top Player's: Merritt Centennials

Geoff Bjarnason I thought was one of the Centennials lone bright spots on the backend. Jumped up into the play on a few occasions, has some skill and size.

Chase Cooke worked his tail off and never quit skating. In a one sided hockey game, this kid competed and played hard.

Jackson Baker (41 saves) Give this young man full credit for staying in for the entire game and also not losing his cool by smashing his stick or having a hissy fit after a goal. This kid couldn't be faulted on any of Vernon's nine goals, was solid between the pipes at times. The Snakes could have easily had another four or five goals.

Game Thought's: Merritt Centennials

Well the Cents got off to a quick start. Merritt opened the scoring on a defensive breakdown. Drew Dornan gave the Centennials an early 1-0 lead at 1:04 as Merritt started the game with a lot of jump and hard work. The Cents jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in shots only four minutes into the opening frame, but Merritt couldn't hold up for much longer. The Centennials were only down 2-1 after twenty minutes. It was the 2nd period when the wheels fell off as Vernon opened the flood gates and basically putting the game away after two periods. Give this Merritt team credit for not quiting or backing down as they tried to compete as long as they could. Tonight's game was re-scheduled after last Friday's game in Vernon was postponed. Tonight is the first of five regular season meetings vs the Vipers as these two teams will meet again January 25th in Merritt. The Cents have one win in their last eleven games. With the loss Merritt falls to 2-23-1-0 and remain last in the entire BC Hockey League. 


Vernon Vipers:

Cade McNelly
Liam Cavan 
Seiya Tanaka-Campbell 
Tyler Chan 

Merritt Centennials

Josh Olson
Connor Farren
Mark Thurston

Three Star's:

1st Star: Cameron MacDonald (1 goal & 1 assist)
2nd Star: Max Borovinskiy (2 goals)
3rd Star: JoJo Tanaka-Campbell (2 assists)

Energy Player of the Game:

Anthony Cliche (goal)

Boxscore-Game Summary,

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Game Report,

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Please fell free to leave comments or suggestions in the comment box below. I always enjoy and post all comments as long as there tasteful.

Here are some pictures I took before and during tonight's Vipers-Centennials game.


Anonymous said...

Come on Merrit has won one game all season, a Major Midget team could beat them. They are the only team Vernon can beat! The one positive was seeing Glen get lots of ice time and on the powerplay to boot. He is such a great!

Jim said...

Does anyone know how many years Jason McKee has left on his contract?

go away Glenn said...

As long as Johnny Boy Glenn is running the team!!!!