Saturday, December 31, 2022

Longtime Vernon Vipers Season Ticket Holder Nails Frisbee Toss Twice!

Longtime Vernon Vipers season ticket holder Rob Hulstein sunk both of his frisbees during Friday's Vernon Vipers/Merritt Centennials 2nd intermission frisbee toss. Hulstein won the jackpot of $850

Here is the video from the Vernon Vipers YouTube page,

Frisbee Toss Winner Nailes It Twice! 12-30-2022 - YouTube

Vernon Vipers-Merritt Centennials Highlights:

Here are the Vernon Vipers-Merritt Centennials highlights from December 30th 2022 in front of 2,201 fans at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.

Here are the highlights from the Vernon Vipers YouTube page,

[2022-12-30] Vernon vs Merritt 4-0W - YouTube

Roadrunners Assign Former Vernon Viper Tufto To ECHL:

The American Hockey League Tucson Roadrunners have

assigned former Vernon Vipers forward Odeen Tufto to the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. The Gladiators have placed Tufto on reserve.

Here is the transaction from the ECHL website,

Tufto is in his first season with the American Hockey League Tucson Roadrunners. The Roadrunners signed Tufto August 31st 2022. Tufto has yet to play a game with the Roadrunners.

Tufto split the 2021-22 season between the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears & American Hockey League Syracuse Crunch. The Tampa Bay Lightning decided in July 2022 not to make a qualifying offer to Tufto who was a restricted free agent.

Tufto played four seasons at Quinnipiac University from 2017-2021 before signing his first professional contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning March 31st 2021. The Lightning assigned Tufto to the American Hockey League Syracuse Crunch after his college season ended in 2021. Tufto has yet to play for the Lightning.

Tufto played one season in Vernon with the 2015-16 Vernon Vipers. In 57 games with the Vipers, Tufto collected (25-goals-40-assists-65-points). Tufto left the Vipers after one season for the United States Hockey League. Tufto played one season in the USHL with Fargo, Tri-City & Sioux City before committing to Quinnipiac University for the 2017-18 season.

Odeen Tufto's Player Profile:

Friday, December 30, 2022

Vernon 4 Merritt 0

I was born and raised in Vernon, BC and been watching/following Junior hockey in Vernon my whole life. My family watched Senior mens 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 started and created this blog in November 2008 and have over 2.2 million viewers. For anyone who couldn't watch or attend tonight's Vipers game, here are my thoughts and views from tonight's hockey game. You may agree or disagree, but we all have our own opinion on the hockey game and see things differently. 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 4-0 in front of 2,201 fans (biggest crowd of the season) at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon Vipers: Ethan David
Merritt Centennials: John Hicks

1st Period: Inside the opening minute of play, Diego Johnson's quick shot from in close, forced Ethan David into making a big stop off the opening faceoff. The Vipers couldn't get a shot off on what looked to be a bit of an open net on a goal mouth scramble, two and a half minutes into the hockey game. Vernon needed five and a half minutes to record their first shot on goal. Just past the halfway mark, John Hicks come way out of his crease to play the puck, turned the puck over to Ethan Sundar who plays for Vernon. Sundar with the easy wide open net, giving Vernon a 1-0 lead at 9:42 Sundar's goal was unassisted on a poor play from the Centennials netminder. Dylan Compton with a good look/shot from below the circle would be denied by John Hicks. Former Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Connor Welsh with a quality opportunity, couldn't capitalize with three and a half minutes remaining as John Hicks with another stop late in the period. Just before the final minute of play, Julian Facchinelli couldn't jam a puck home on a goal mouth scramble. The puck did end up across the line after the whistle. It was 1-0 Vernon after 20 minutes of play. The Centennials were the better team off the opening faceoff, played with a little more jump/energy, seemed to have their legs going and had the early edge in play. The Cents didn't generate much for offensive opportunities but were applying pressure in the offensive zone. I thought Merritt was the better team for the first seven to eight minutes before the Vipers seemed to get their legs going, slowly started to get the puck into the offensive zone and slowly start to create some chances. Vernon did get the better of the scoring chances that period, with most of them towards the end of the period. The Snakes were the better team in the second half. The Centennials were ahead 3-0 in shots at one point as the Vipers needed just over five minutes to record their first shot on goal. Vernon outshot Merritt 8-4.

2nd Period: Just over a minute into the middle frame, former Cranbrook Bucks forward Ethan Sundar looked to have an open cage, but a strong defensive play from Alesksy Chichkin blocked Sundar's shot, keeping this a one goal game. Back come the Cents the other way on a quick turn around. Carter Schmidt with a quality chance in close, would be denied by Vernon Vipers starting goaltender Ethan David. Shortly after Ethan David gets caught behind his goal, turns over the puck but Isaac Tremblay with a strong defensive play, pulled the puck out of the crease to stop a goal as play continued. Just over four minutes into the period, the visiting Merritt Centennials would get the games first power play. Christian Lowe rang his shot off the post as Cents come very close to tying the contest on the man advantage. Lee Parks would get a shorthanded breakaway but unable to beat John Hicks as the Snakes kill off the penalty. About two minutes later, Vernon would get their first PP of the evening. Walker Erickson with a shorthanded breakaway would be denied by Ethan David. The Vipers would take a penalty, sending both teams to four on four before the Cents would get a lengthy PP. Johnathan Horn would go in for the breakaway but stopped by Merritt Centennials starting netminder John Hicks. The Snakes would kill off the minor. Just over two minutes later, the Snakes would get a two man advantage. The Vipers with at least two goal mouth scrambles couldn't solve John Hicks. Julian Facchinelli would be denied twice. Merritt would kill off both minors. Late in the period, Dylan Compton setup Ayden Third, giving Vernon a 2-0 lead at 18:57 Dylan Compton and Isaac Tremblay with the helpers. Inside the final minute of play, John Hicks with two big stops, keeping this a two goal game. It was 2-0 Vernon after 40 minutes of play. Both teams were fairly even in the first half but it was the Snakes who had lots of opportunities to blow this game open but John Hicks was the difference, keeping the Centennials in this hockey game. Hicks was large, making some highlight reel saves. Vernon had the better of the chances, could have easily had six or seven goals. Both goaltenders were solid in the 2nd period, putting on a show for the fans. Vernon outshot Merritt 15-10.

3rd Period: About two and a half minutes into the period, the Cents with an early four on one rush. The puck carrier would run into Ethan David before the Cents would score into the open net. The goal was waived off immediately. The Merritt bench was up in arms as both coaches wanted an explanatiion from the officials. Shortly after, a shot from well out handcuffed John Hicks. Hicks almost dropped the puck into his own net. Shortly after a shot from well out, forced Ethan David to squeeze the pads tight on a shot that could have snuck through the other end. Just before the halfway mark, the Snakes would jump on the man advantage. Vernon would take a penalty towards the end of the power play, sending both teams to four on four before Merritt getting a lengthy PP. The Cents didn't generate or create much as the Vipers killed off the remainder of the penalty. Shortly after the penalty expired, Connor Elliott's point shot would be redirected in front by Reagan Milburn, giving Vernon a 3-0 lead at 13:08 Connor Elliott & Isaac Tremblay with the assists. Just over a minute later, the Centennials would get a PP. Merritt unable to really generate much other then a goal mouth scramble as Vernon killed off the minor. Towards the end of the period, Julian Facchinelli powered his way to the goal with a Merritt defender chasing him down, Facchinelli would be denied on the goal line after a large save from John Hicks as Facchinelli was looking for the penalty on the play. The Centennials would call a late timeout with about 1:54 remaining and get John Hicks to the bench for the extra attacker. Reagan Milburn would spot Lee Parks for the empty netter, giving Vernon a commanding 4-0 lead at 19:09 Reagan Milburn and Ethan David collected the assists. With time winding down, the Cents would get a late PP to finish the game in the final fourteen seconds. Some pushing and shoving occurred at the buzzer as Ethan David was riled up and looked to be egging on one of the Centennials near the crease. Vernon would come away with the 4-0 victory. There wasn't alot of opportunities from either team in the 3rd period. The Centennials with three power plays didn't generate much offensively five on five or on the man advantage. The Vipers playing with the lead didn't generate a whole lot offensively, played well defensively. Shots were 8-8.

Vernon Vipers Top Player's:

Julian Facchinelli Didn't record a point but was Vernon's best and most dangerous forward tonight. Facchinelli could have had three or four goals, had several quality chances through out the contest. One of his best games in a while. Was hard to contain and defend against.

Dylan Compton (1 assist) I thought played very well on the Viper blueline but also at both ends of the rink. Compton has improved from the start of the season and slowly growing each game and playing better and with more confidence as the season continues. 

Ethan Sundar (1 goal) The former Cranbrook Bucks forward has been a very nice addition to Vernon's lineup. Played hard and very well in the win. 

Isaac Tremblay (2 assists) Played very well picking up two helpers.

Ethan David (22 saves-shutout-1 assist) How good has Ethan David been this season? How good has the Vipers goaltending duo been this year? David & Roan Clarke have both been solid in splitting the net this season. David got lucky on a few plays, was caught out of position at least twice and almost turned over the puck on a second time but overall was very good between the pipes. 

Game Thought's: Vernon Vipers

- The Vipers have won five of their last six home games and have at least a point in nine of their last ten home games

- Vernon didn't get off to a good start, looked to show signs of rust and being off for the past two weeks early into the 1st period but as the period went along improved and played very well in their first game back from the holidays

- This was a very exciting and entertaining hockey game

- The Snakes penalty kill was very good. Merritt went 0-5 with the power play

- The Vipers have improved the past month and are playing their best hockey of the season. I have really noticed a difference in the Vipers passing and defensive play

- Vernon is 2-1 vs Merritt this season

- Tonight's attendance on the league website was 2,005 During the game they announced tonight's attendance as the biggest of the season and over 2,200

- I thought Vernon got better as the game went on and took over the edge in play at times as the game continued

- The Vipers are two points back of Prince George and four points back of West Kelowna

- Tonight's the second game of a three game home stand. The Snakes with only 10 homes games remaining in the regular season

- Ayden Third playing in career game #100

- The Vipers have won three of their last five games & six of their last ten games

- Tempers heated up now and again as several scrums occurred through out the game

- The Vipers next game is Sunday afternoon 2pm vs the visiting Penticton Vees

- I was upset with all the trades that have happened this season but it looks like all these moves have been for the better as since the last few trades the Snakes are much different and better hockey team. I see improvement and the hockey and games are much more entertaining to watch 

- Vernon is the second lowest scoring team in the league with 77 goals 

- Vernon went 0-2 with the man advantage

- The Vipers & Centennials will play again January 7th in Vernon

- A great crowd this evening and a great atmosphere inside Kal Tire Place. One of the more lively crowds in a long long time

- With the win, Vernon improves to 14-12-0-4 sit 5th in the Interior Division 

Merritt Centennials Top Player's:

Aleksy Chichkin played very well on the Cents backend

Carter Schmidt Had a few opportunities was in and around the net

Walker Erickson was probably Merritt's most dangerous forward, had some looks/chances through out the hockey game

Mark Thurston Played with an edge was stirring things up between whistles

John Hicks (27 saves) This kid put on a show for the fans tonight. Hicks made several highlight reel saves, mostly in the 2nd period where Vernon could have easily had six or seven goals. Hicks isn't the biggest goaltender but quick on his feet and very athletic. 

Game Thought's: Merritt Centennials

- The Centennials have one win in their last thirteen road games

- Merritt went 0-5 with the power play

- I liked the Cents start and thought they were the better team in the first half. Merritt had the edge in play, didn't generate much for offence but looked good to start tonight's game. As the game went on the Vipers were the better team as John Hicks kept the Centennials in the contest

- I spotted one Centennials fan in attendance tonight

- The Centennials are 1-2 vs the Vipers this season

- Tonight was the third and final game of a three game road trip

- The Cents have lost seven straight games in Vernon

- The Centennials are celebrating their 50th anniversary this season

- I thought Merritt played hard, battled and competed. Even though the Vipers were the better team, the Cents were in this hockey game

- The Cents with a quick turn around, host the Salmon Arm Silverbacks tomorrow at 2pm

- Merritt scored or thought they scored about two and a half minutes into the 3rd period but the goal was immediately waived off due to contact with the goaltender. Instead of 2-1 Vernon it remains 2-0 and the Vipers score two more for insurance and the win

- The Centennials have lost four of their last five games and lost seven of their last ten games

- Merritt's last win in Vernon was a 3-2 overtime victory January 5th 2019

- Centennials Assistant Coach Tyler Steel attended the Vernon Vipers spring camp as a goaltender in 2008 and training camp in 2009 & 2010 played in a few exhibition games before being released

- With the loss, Merritt falls to 8-18-3-1 sit 9th in the Interior Division 


Vernon Vipers:

Gavin Schmidt
Luke Pakulak (Injured)
Anthony Cliche (Injured)

Merritt Centennials:

Michael Shara
Tyler Bates
Ryan Spinale
Damon Jugnauth
Jackson Krill

Energy Player of the Game:

Julian Facchinelli

Three Star's:

1st Star: Ethan David (22 saves/shutout)
2nd Star: Isaac Tremblay (2 assists)
3rd Star: Dylan Compton (1 assist)

Boxscore-Game Summary,

Game Report,

Text Box Score,

Vernon Junior Hockey History website,

Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions in the comment box below. Please be respectful when leaving comments.

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