Saturday, September 30, 2023

Elliott Suspended:

Vernon Vipers defenceman/captain Connor Elliott has been suspended

one game for his minor penalty and a misconduct for an Illegal Check to the Head was increased to a major penalty and game misconduct.

Here is the statement from the BCHL website,

Discipline | BCHL League Site

Connor Elliott's Player Profile:

Conner Elliott - Stats & Facts - Elite Prospects

Former Vipers Associate Coach Mallette Evolving As A WHL Head Coach:

Former Vernon Vipers Associate Coach Kris Mallette is evolving

as a WHL Head Coach with the Kelowna Rockets.

Here is the article from,

Mallette is in his fifth season as Head Coach of the Western Hockey League Kelowna Rockets. 

Mallette was an Assistant Coach with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team last season & an Assistant Coach with Hockey Canada's Under 18 team at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Mallette is a Rockets Alumni (1996-1999) has been with the Rockets for the past ten seasons. Mallette spent six seasons as an Assistant Coach with the Rockets from 2014-2020 before being named Head Coach March 2nd 2020.

Mallette played ten seasons in the ECHL, UHL, CHL & IHL with Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Ashville, Elmira, Colorado, Youngstown, Laredo & Flint from 2000-2009 before retiring from professional hockey in 2009. Mallette spent three seasons in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League as an Assistant Coach & Head Coach of the North Okanagan Knights from 2010-2013. 

Mallette spent one season in Vernon as an Associate Coach with the 2013-14 Vernon Vipers. Mallette left the Vipers after the 2013-14 season, returning to Kelowna in 2014. Mallette was named Rockets Assistant Coach July 4th 2014.

Kris Mallette's Player/Coaching Profile:

Friday, September 29, 2023

Game Recap - Vernon 4 Merritt 2

I was born and raised in Vernon, BC and been watching/following Junior hockey in Vernon my whole 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 started and created this blog in November 2008 and have over 2.6 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 Vernon Vipers-Merritt Centennials game as the Vipers defeated the Centennials 4-2 in front of 1,773 fans at Kal Tire Place.

Starting Goaltenders:

Vernon Vipers: Ethan David
Merritt Centennials: Karlis Mezsargs

1st Period: The visiting Merritt Centennials were the better team and carried the better of the play. I thought the Centennials jumped on the Snakes early and often, using their speed and hard work. The Cents were outworking Vernon to the puck, winning the races/battles and forcing the Vipers into turnovers in their own end. Zachary Losier opened the scoring on the power play at 7:02 and it was quickly 9-2 shots in favor of Merritt. The Cents had the better of the scoring chances as the Snakes didn't generate a whole lot of opportunities. The Vipers with way too many mistakes/turnovers in their own end. Vernon wasn't skating and outworked early and often to start the contest. The Snakes looked slow and disorganized. Vernon seemed to get their legs going and Hank Cleaves tied the game at 8:15 as Vernon slowly started to come on and play their best hockey of the period for the next six to seven minutes. The Centennials then re-grouped and come on with a strong push to end the period. The intensity ramped up in the second half with both teams playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. The Cents go 1-2 with the man advantage. It was 2-1 Merritt after 20 minutes of play. Merritt outshoots Vernon 16-7.

2nd Period: I thought the Cents were the better of the two teams early. Merritt had several quality scoring chances but couldn't solve Vipers starting goaltender Ethan David. The Centennials looked to have scored just before the midway mark, on a goal mouth scramble as the goal light come on but the referee waived off the goal as the play continued. Merritt's Head Coach Brian Passmore questioned the official during the following stoppage in play, but the no goal call stood. I wonder why the officials didn't talk to the goal judge who turned on the light? Ethan David and the Snakes seemed to weather the storm and play better in the second half. Vernon had a bit of an edge in play in the second half, didn't generate a lot of opportunities, but were getting pucks to the net and had an edge in play. Merritt went several minutes without a shot on goal. It was 2-2 after 40 minutes of play. Both teams went 0-1 with the man advantage. Vernon outshot Merritt 13-7.

3rd Period: The Snakes were the better team for most of the final frame. Vernon seemed to have their legs going, played hard and for the first time this evening, starting to create/generate some opportunities. Just past the halfway mark, the Vipers would lose their defenceman/captain Connor Elliott after serving a two minute minor for a check to the head and an automatic ten minute misconduct. Merritt struggled offensively and didn't have a lot of puck possession or create enough opportunities this period. The Centennials would get back to back power plays but unable to capitalize with the man advantage. Viper veteran Luke Pakulak with at least two big blocks while on the PK. Shea Busch gave the Vipers their first lead of the night at 11:05 before picking up an assist and his third point of the hockey game on the insurance marker late in the period. The Cents would get starting netminder Karlis Mezsargs to the bench for the extra attacker with one minute remaining. The Cents would go 0-2 with the man advantage as the Vipers come away with the 4-2 victory. A line brawl took place behind the Viper net after Charles Thomas Larochelle fired the puck after the whistle, which drew a crowd. Vernon outshot Merritt 10-7.

Vernon Vipers Top Performers:

Georgios Stavrianeas (1 assist) I thought was Vernon's best forward in the win. Not the biggest kid but has played very well in back to back games. Played hard tonight, was skating and involved in the play every shift. Was hard in on the forecheck and hard on the backcheck. This kid worked his tail off tonight.

Isaac Fecteau is a forward but was also playing a little defence tonight and played well at both ends of the rink.

Shea Busch (1 goal & 2 assists) Was another Snakes forward that had a strong night and played very well, especially as a 16 yr old.

Ethan David (28 saves) Was the difference, especially in the first two periods. David was forced to make several large saves, keeping the score close and the Vipers in the contest. 

Game Thought's: Vernon Vipers

- The Vipers didn't get off to a good start and were badly outworked and outplayed early, were down 1-0 and outshot 9-2 at that point

- Tonight was the first of five regular season meetings vs the Merritt Centennials

- A smaller crowd on hand for just the Vipers second regular season home game. Tonight's attendance was announced at 1,773

- Vernon goes 0-1 with the man advantage

- The Snakes had trouble in their own end, were making mistakes, turning over pucks, looked scrambled in their own end through out the hockey game

- The Vipers play seven of their next ten games away from home

- Vernon seemed to play better as the game went on

- Both goaltenders were very good tonight

- For the first time in a very very long time, I noticed some new music being played at tonight's game

- Ethan David was the difference, kept the Snakes in the game, especially in the first two periods with the Centennials pressing

- Assistant Coach Colton Sparrow wasn't behind the bench tonight

- The Snakes have been inconsistent so far this year and yet to play sixty minutes 

- The main concession was closed again tonight but the other two concessions were open. I heard hot dogs were $7? 

- The Vipers went 4-1 vs Merritt last season

- I really liked the Snakes 3rd period and thought it was their best period of the evening. Vernon was the better team in the third and played well, scoring twice to break a 2-2 hockey game

- Tonight was the second and final game of a two game home stand. The Vipers will hit the road for a two game road trip starting next Friday in Langley

- With the win, Vernon improves to 2-1-0-0

Merritt Centennials Top Performers:

Aidan Linblad (1 assist) The former Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward picked up an assist and played well

Timothy Kim (1 assist) I thought was Merritt's best forward/player in the loss. Not the biggest kid but was strong on pucks, involved in the play, made plays and made things happen. Quick on his feet and moves the puck up ice in a hurry

Ranvir Gill-Shane Has some size and played well on the backend. Saw a ton of minutes and played well at both ends of the rink. Makes that quick one pass from the D to the forwards in a hurry

Karlis Mezsargs (26 saves) Wasn't tested as much as Vipers goaltender Ethan David but saw his most action in the 3rd, having to make several big stops with the score tied

Game Thought's: Merritt Centennials

- This is a completely different Merritt team then the Cents team we saw play last season in Vernon

- The Centennials come to play and played hard. Merritt jumped on the Snakes early and often, had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 but couldn't hold the lead 

- The Vipers and Centennials will meet again October 29th in Merritt

- The Cents went 1-5 on the power play

- Merritt went 0-3-0-0 in Vernon last season

- The Centennials have a big team, that can skate, move the puck, have a good transition game and quick on their feet. This team doesn't stop skating, hard in on the forecheck and works hard

- The Cents have three players returning from last season

- Merritt had several opportunities to either take a two or three goal lead or maybe more but couldn't capitalize on their opportunities. 

- Tonight's the Centennials first game of a four game road trip

- The Centennials looked to have scored about eight minutes into the middle frame on a goal mouth scramble. Merritt had three or four chances in and around the blue paint but Ethan David made some large saves before the goal light come on. The official didn't signal a goal as the play continued. During the next stoppage in play, Cents Head Coach Brian Passmore asked the official about the play but the call stood. You have to wonder, why even have a goal judge if the officials won't go and talk with them after a play?

- The Cents play seven of their next nine games on the road

- I thought Merritt played very well but their play/work ethic declined just a little as the game went on and they just weren't as sharp or quick as they were at the start of the game

- This was a hard fought game. Both teams had control of the play for lengthy periods of time and then the tides switched

- Merritt went lengthy periods of time during the 2nd and 3rd periods without recording a shot on goal 

- The Centennials next game is Saturday in Prince George

- With the loss, Merritt falls to 1-2-0-0


Vernon Vipers:

Jordin Palmer
Owen King
Linden Burrett
Bronson Ross

Merritt Centennials:

Beau Lane
Sam Grabner

Energy Player of the Game:

Hank Cleaves (1 goal)

Three Star's:

1st Star: Shea Busch (1 goal & 2 assists)
2nd Star: Julian Facchinelli (1 goal & 1 assist)
3rd Star: Owen Kim (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 Vernon Vipers-Merritt Centennials game.