Sunday, 29 September 2013

Vipers end September with a 7-4 Loss to Eagles

It was a much different Vipers team on Saturday night, than the team that defeated the Eagles the night before.  They lacked discipline at times, the were also shaky defensively, and the goaltending wasn't as clutch as it had been in previous games.  The Eagles however made the Vipers pay for their mistakes and refused to give up.

The Vipers jumped out to an early lead as Michael McNicholas would score his first with the team, just 2 minutes into the game.  More offensive pressure lead to another Viper goal as the red hot Mason Blacklock would knock a puck out of mid air into the back of the net for his team leading 8th of the season.  That two goal lead was quite short lived as Vernon got into penalty trouble and Surrey would make them pay.  Jonah Renouf would score his first of two on the night.  Another powerplay later Nic Pierog would streak down the right wing and beat Austin Smith and quickly the game was tied up at two.  Three minutes later Ryan Fraser-Lee would put a puck towards the goal with a ton of traffic in front of Smith, he never saw it and the Eagles would head to the intermission up by a goal.

Vernon would continue some time in the offensive zone and right off a faceoff, Michael McNicholas would snap a shot through the wickets of Adamo and that would get the game tied.  But as has been the case at times this season the opposition was quick to respond.  Jonah Renouf would try a wrap around stopped by Smith, but he followed up the rebound and banked the puck in off the Viper net minder to once again give the Eagles the lead.

The Vipers started the period with the powerplay, but couldn't convert.  They would however, capitalize right after as Demico Hannoun would tie the game up with his 3rd of the season.  The back breaker of the game for Vernon would be the inability to score on the powerplay all night, but on this occasion after the powerplay expired, Fraser-Lee, fresh out of the penalty box, would be sent in on a breakaway and put home his own rebound to give the Eagles a lead they would not relinquish..  The Vernon powerplay had another chance in the final two minutes, but couldn't score and the Eagles would score 2 shorthanded empty net goals to finish the Snakes off, 7-4.

My 3 Key Thoughts

1) 24 Hour Change - It was amazing to see how things can change in this league from the night before.  Vernon wasn't nearly as sharp, or disciplined.  Surrey on the other hand played a composed game, shook of their mistakes and got some timely saves.  It was a reversal of fortunes in this game.

2) Close But No Cigar - To say Vernon had opportunities to get this game tied would be an understatement.  The powerplay was their Achilles heel going 0 for 7.

3) Eagles Special Teams - The battle on special teams was won by the Eagles hands down.  The big difference was the 2 powerplay goals.  At the end of the day that proved to be what gave the Eagles the edge and the two points.

3 Stars - 1) Ryan Fraser-Lee - 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, 4 pims
              2) Jonah Renouf - 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points
              3) Michael McNicholas - 2 goals

Back to the drawing board for the Vipers powerplay.  Jason Williamson said its time to simplify and we'll wait and see if that message is received.

Next up the Vipers head up north for a matchup with the Prince George Spruce Kings.  All the action can be heard on Village Green Hotel Vipers Hockey on 1075 KISSFM starting at 6:45 with the pregame show and the play by play at 7.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Game 9 Preview - Eagles @ Vipers

The Vernon Vipers have put together a two game winning streak.  In those two games have only given up 2 goals against two very good offenses.  Tonight is the second game of a home and home set with the Surrey Eagles.  It is also the final time these teams will meet, barring a matchup in the BCHL Playoffs.

Lets take a look at the numbers heading into tonights game.

Vernon Vipers

Record - 3-2-1-2 - 4th in the Interior Division

Home Record - 1-0-1-2            Away - 2-2-0-0

Leaders - Goals - Mason Blacklock (7)
              - Assists - Michael McNicholas (6)
             - Points - Mason Blacklock (11)

Goaltending - Austin Smith - 5 GP 2-0-1-2, 2.27 GAA, .928Sv%
                   - Danny Todosychuk - 3 GP 1-2-0-0, 4.33 GAA, .865Sv%

Special Teams - Powerplay - 12th in the league - 5 for 34 - 14.71%
                       - Penalty Kill - 5th in the league - 28 of 32 - 87.5%

Surrey Eagles

Record 4-3-0-0 - 1st in the Mainland Division

Home Record - 1-2-0-0            Away Record - 2-0-0-0

Leaders - Goals - Jonah Renouf/Brett Mulcahy (4)
             - Assists - Zane Schartz (7)
             - Points - Jonah Renouf/Braedan Russell (9)

Goaltending - Victor Adamo - 5 GP - 3-2-0-0, 3.24 GAA, .920Sv%
                   - Bo Didur - 2 GP - 1-1-0-0, 3.88 GAA, .886Sv%

As previously stated this is final meeting between these teams with the Vipers holding a series win already.  The snakes look to go for the sweep tonight.

If you can't make it down to Kal Tire Place tonight, you can catch all the action with Village Green Hotel Vipers Hockey on 1075 KISSFM starting with the pregame show at 6:45 and puck drop at 7!

Blacklock scores 2, as Vipers Clip Eagles 4-1.

It wasn't the prettiest game of the season for the Vernon Vipers, but it was effective as they would defeat the Surrey Eagles by a score of 4-1. With the win, Vernon wins the season series from the defending BCHL Champions.

The game got going in the right direction for Vernon as just 93 seconds into the game, Mark Hamilton would fire a wrist shot from the point that eluded everyone including Victor Adamo. The main story in the opening frame was the play of Austin Smith as he made a handful of big saves, none bigger than a sliding glove save off of Matt Dawson sneaking in the back door. What made those saves crucial was the timing. If those go in, who knows how the rest of the game plays out.

In the second, it was a very balanced period for the Vipers. Defensively was where they impressed. They didn't give up many opportunities and looked to be getting comfortable on the large ice surface. Vernon started to get a few chances on the powerplay, but it was later in the period where it finally converted as Dexter Dancs would knock home a rebound off a point shot and the Vipers would head into the intermission up by two.

Surrey had trouble getting much going in the early portions of the third as the Vipers had the puck hemmed in the Surrey zone. But that quickly changed off a broken play in front of the Vernon goal as Brett Mulcahy would get the Eagles within one, knocking home a rebound. Just like the other night against Penticton, instead of playing on their heels, Vernon went back on the offensive as Mason Blacklock would streak down the right wing and with a well placed wrist shot beat Victor Adamo to give the Snakes a two goal cushion. A late penalty nearly gave the Eagles life, but with the goalie pulled, a good effort once again from Mason Blacklock would seal it for Vernon as he would score his second of the game and period into an empty net.

My 3 Key Thoughts

  1. It sure wasn't pretty, but thats exactly how teams on the road draw up victories. After a few adjustments, the team played with a steady confidence and the game never really seemed out of reach.
  2. The team has quickly turned into a defence first team. Two goals against in two games will help that. Tonight was impressive because the Vipers only rolled five defenseman.
  3. Special Teams were special. Its all about small victories. For a powerplay that has struggled so much, to get one tonight was a relief. The penalty kill also has impressed all year and continued its success against a top ranked powerplay unit, shutting the Eagles down and killing off all four penalties.

Overall, lots of positives heading into the back half of the home and home with Surrey. If you can't make it to Kal Tire Place, Village Green Hotel Vipers Hockey will take the KISSFM air waves at 6:45 with the pre game show. Play by play starts at 7.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Game 8 Preview - Vipers @ Eagles

The Vernon Vipers are coming off their best performance of the season on Wednesday Night.  The offense, defense and goaltending were all impressive and the team deserved the 2 points.  They hope to continue that momentum into the weekend.  Tonight is the first of a home and home set with the Surrey Eagles.  The Vipers already hold a victory over the Eagles, although that performance was good for Vernon, it was hard to gauge how these teams stack up.

Lets take a look at the numbers.

Vernon Vipers

Record - 2-2-1-2 - 4th place in Interior Division

Home Record - 1-0-1-2          Away - 1-2-0-0

Leaders - Goals - Mason Blacklock (5)
              - Assists - Demico Hannoun (5)
              - Points - Mason Blacklock (9)

Goaltending - Austin Smith - 4 GP 1-0-1-2, 2.57 GAA, .917Sv%
                   - Danny Todosychuk - 3 GP 1-2-0-0, 4.33 GAA, .865Sv%

Special Teams - Powerplay - 14th in the league - 4 for 29 - 13.79%
                       - Penalty Kill - 6th in the league - 25 of 29 - 86.21%

Surrey Eagles

Record - 4-2-0-0 - 1st place in Mainland Division

Home Record - 1-1-0-0          Away Record - 2-0-0-0

Leaders - Goals - Jonah Renouf (4)
              - Assists - Zane Schartz (7)
              - Points - Braeden Russell (9)

Goaltending - Victor Adamo - 4 GP - 3-1-0-0, 3.16 GAA, .925Sv%
                   - Bo Didur - 2 GP - 1-1-0-0, 3.88 GAA, .886Sv%

This will be the 2nd of 3 meetings between these teams.  If its anything like the first one there will be lots of offense.  Throw in the olympic sized ice surface and it should be a great game.

I hope you'll make time to tune in on Village Green Hotel Vipers Hockey on 1075 KISSFM.  The pre game show starts at 7 with puck drop and the play by play starting at 7:15.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Winless Streak Snapped as Vipers defeat Vees 3-1.

It was a long time coming, but the Vernon Vipers finally received as close to a 60 minute effort as we've seen all year.  That effort and a stellar outing from Austin Smith lead the Vipers to a 3-1 win.

The Vees came out hungry in the opening 8 minutes putting a ton of pressure on the Viper D and Smith.  Shot blocking was a big element to both teams game early as the shot total was quite low through the opening frame.  A big key in the first period was the Vipers ability to keep the Vees top line out there for a few minutes and forcing them to ice the puck 4 consecutive times.  Vernon wouldn't score with that line on the ice, but right after a line change the Vipers charged down the ice and Brendan Persley would convert a nice passing play from newly acquired Riley Guenther to give the Vipers a 1-0 lead.

In the second period the ice was tilted in the Vees favour.  That wasn't reflective of a poor effort from the Vipers, but 3 consecutive powerplays to an offensive team like the Vees is usually a recipe for disaster.  Time of possession and shots favoured the Vees, but they couldn't score with the man advantage.  The Viper PK was very good and Austin Smith made a few huge saves with his team short a man.  Those powerplays seemed to spark the Vees however as they utilized their speed to break in on a short 3 on 2 and a nice quick shot from Max Coatta would beat Smith blocker side to get the game tied.  That one hurt as it was in the final minute of the period.

Coming into the third, I was very interested to see what type of Vipers squad would show up.  At times this season they seemed fragile, but they were far from it in the final 20.  It was a well balanced period for both teams, but the momentum shifted following a Penticton penalty.  Vernon couldn't score with the man advantage, but kept the puck in as it went back to even strength and a seeing eye wrist shot off the stick of Mark Hamilton, found its way through a maze of traffic, to beat Miska who didn't see it until the last second. 8 seconds later however, the Vipers took a penalty and once again the PK would kill of a crucial penalty and that sparked the Vipers again as Dexter Dancs would seal the game with a great individual effort and give Vernon an important 2 goal lead.

My 3 Key Thoughts

1) The Vipers seemed re-energized following the loss on Saturday Night.  The mistakes they had made in previous games were kept to a minimum.  The effort level was much improved and it showed with a victory over a very talented Vees squad.

2) The Vipers D as a whole was fantastic.  Mark Hamilton seems to be coming into his own in a Vipers uniform, scoring the GWG, playing physical and making smart decisions with the puck.  Also, Riley Guenther looked great in his first game as a Viper.  He had an assist on the opening goal.  He seems to have an offensive flare, but was very solid in his own end too and was quite mobile.

3) I'm sure anyone on the Vees staff would say they weren't at their best, but that team sure looks dangerous anytime they have the puck in the offensive zone.  I was impressed with their puck movement and speed.  Had the Vipers made more mistakes the game could have turned out quite differently.  Max Coatta was as advertised scoring the lone goal and seems to have great chemistry with Blanchard and DePourq.

Overall a ton of positives for the Vipers as they get set for a home and home set with the defending BCHL Champs, the Surrey Eagles.

You can catch all of the Viper action on Village Green Hotel Vipers Hockey on 1075 KISS FM, starting with the pre game show at 7 and play by play at 7:15 from the South Surrey Arena.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Game 7 Preview - Vees @ Vipers

I don't want to say this is a make or break week for the Vipers, but tonight they start a 3 game in 4 night swing against two very talented teams.  6 points are up for grabs and for Vernon they are very important.  Coming into the night the Vipers are winless in 5 games, but have managed to grab a few points by getting to overtime.

Lets look and see how tonights matchup against the Vees breaks down

Vernon Vipers

Record - 1-2-1-2 - 6th place in Interior Division

Home Record - 0-0-1-2       Away Record - 1-2-0-0

Leaders - Goals - Mason Blacklock (5)
             - Assists - Dallas Calvin (4)
             - Points - Mason Blacklock (8)

Goaltending - Austin Smith - 3 GP 0-0-1-2, 3.05 GAA, .907Sv%
                   - Danny Todosychuck - 3 GP 1-2-0-0, 4.33 GAA, .865 Sv%

Special Teams - Powerplay - 11th in the league - 4 for 25 - 16%
                       - Penalty Kill - 9th in the league - 21 of 25 - 84%

Penticton Vees

Record - 4-1-0-0 - 2nd place in Interior Division

Home Record - 1-0-0-0        Away Record - 3-1-0-0

Leaders - Goals - Max Coatta (5)
             - Assists - Brad McClure (4)
             - Points - Coatta, McClure (8)

Goaltending - Olivier Mantha - 3 GP - 2-1-0-0, 2.01 GAA, .925Sv%
                   - Hunter Miska - 2 GP - 2-0-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .960 Sv%

Special Teams - Powerplay - 1st in the league - 8 for 28 - 28.57%
                       - Penalty Kill - 4th in the league - 26 of 30 - 86.67%

Tonight may be the biggest test for the Vipers all season long as the defending Interior Division Champions come to town for the first of 7 meetings.  The Vees are coming off their first loss of the season, but that will only motivate them.  The Vipers have to be prepared for a full 60 minute effort.

This is the first internet broadcast of the season.  It all starts at 6:45 with the pregame show.  If you can't make it to the rink, you can listen right here....  


Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Different Day, Similar Result as Vipers lose 3-2 in OT

For the 4th straight game, the Vernon Vipers failed to win a game.  Tonight however, you saw flashes of what could make the team successful, but you also saw what has plagued the team.  A positive no doubt was getting a point, the negative, letting one slip away to a division rival.

Vernon got off to a great start, and really looked like they had responded to the extensive practice they were a part of earlier in the week.  The Vipers powerplay continued to look strong and got the Snakes on the board first as Mason Blacklock continued his hot streak with a snipe from the right circle.  The forecheck also went to work which would allow Vernon to increase their lead as Craig Martin would bury a loose puck past Connor LaCouvee.  Towards the end of the period however, momentum, for whatever reason started to shift in the Centennials favour.  That trait would continue through the end of the period and into the second.

Offensively, not much went right for the Vipers.  One big positive, the play of goaltender Austin Smith.  He was brilliant at times, and even times when he was fighting the puck, he kept his team in the lead.  The quality chances started to stack up for Merritt, and it was only a matter of time before Gavin Gould found himself open and snapped a well placed wrister over Smith's glove to get Merritt on the board.  Play would slow through the middle portion of the period with each team getting a handful of chances.  Merritt would capitalize on a loose puck in front of Smith, where the Vipers goalie had to make a few saves on his belly, before Payton Schaefer would finally jam it home to tie the game.

Both teams looked rather tentative in the third.  For Merritt it could've been fatigue playing with 2 fewer players and having played the night before.  For Vernon, any number of things, but neither team could put the other away.  It was a goaltending duel in the final frame as Smith and LaCouvee battled hard to give their teams an edge.  Regulation time would come and go with the game tied at 2.

In overtime the Vipers had an early chance at a two on one which was turned away by LaCouvee.  That would lead to some offensive time for the Cents and a nice give and go from Patterson to Gould would end the game as the Centennial forward would score his second for another tough loss for Vernon.

My 3 Key Thoughts

1) I have a strong suspicion its only a matter of time before this team learns how to put teams away.  Its been a struggle for the Vipers to hold on to leads and tonight was no different.  They need to learn that killer instinct that championship calibre teams have.  It's a hard lesson to learn and this team is going through that phase right now.

2) Austin Smith was outstanding tonight.  He was lucky on a few occasions where pucks would hit goal posts, and not go in.  But he was also very aggressive and controlled his rebounds well.  It will be very interesting to see how the goaltending tandem sorts itself out over the next handful of games.

3) Its hard not to give credit to the opposition tonight.  The Merritt Centennials came off a tough emotional loss the night before.  They had 6 regulars out of the lineup and didn't even ice a 4th line, yet were as competitive as ever and gave Vernon all they could handle.  Early in the season its easy to see teams that are well conditioned and tonight the Cents sure showed that.

Next up for the Vipers a head to head matchup against the defending Interior Division Champs the Vees.  That broadcast will be an internet only cast and I'll have the link for that in the coming days.  Of course you can catch it on FastHockey PPV as well.  Pre game show will start at 6:45 with the play by play starting at 7. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Game 6 Preview - Cents @ Vipers

Following a disappointing conclusion to the Vipers last game on Tuesday, a 5-3 defeat to West Kelowna, Vernon has had some time to practice, regroup and refocus for a matchup against the Merritt Centennials.  Last season the Vipers had 2 wins, 2 losses, a tie and an overtime loss against the Cents.

Lets look and see how tonights game will break down.

Vernon Vipers

Record - 1-2-1-1 - 5th place in Interior Division

Home Record - 0-0-1-1      Away Record - 1-2-0-0

Leaders - Goals - Mason Blacklock (4)
             - Assists - Michael McNicholas (4)
             - Points - Mason Blacklock (7)

Goaltending - Danny Todosychuk - 3GP - 1-2-0-0, 4.33 GAA, .865Sv%
                   - Austin Smith - 2 GP - 0-0-1-1, 3.10 GAA, .899Sv%

Special Teams - Powerplay - 13th in the league - 3 for 22 - 13.64%
                       - Penalty Kill - 10th in the league - 20 of 24 - 83.33%

Merritt Centennials

Record - 2-4-0-0 - 6th place in Interior Division

Home Record - 0-3-0-0        Away Record - 2-1-0-0

Leaders - Goals - Jeff Wight (4)
             - Assists - Daniel Nachbaur (3)
             - Points - Jeff Wight (6)

Goaltending - Devin Kero - 4GP - 1-3-0-0, 1.76 GAA, .942Sv%
                   - Russell Sanderson - 2GP - 1-1-0-0, 3.02 GAA, .908Sv%

Special Teams - Powerplay - 7th in the league - 5 for 26 - 19.23%
                       - Penalty Kill - 2nd in the league - 29 of 32 - 90.63%

I am quite confident that the coaching staff of the Vipers made life extremely difficult for the players as they were quite disappointed with the effort put forward in Tuesdays game.  It will be interesting to see how they respond against a team who lost a tough game on home ice last night.

If you can't make it to Royal LePage Place tonight, you can catch all the action starting at 6:45 with the Coldstream Truck Parts Pre Game Show and all the play by play on Village Green Hotel Vipers hockey on 1075 KISSFM starting at 7.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Game 5 Preview - Vipers @ Warriors

The Vernon Vipers look to get back to their winning ways as they head to West Kelowna to face their Interior Division Rivals the Warriors.  Last season the series was fairly even with the Warriors taking the series with 4 wins, 2 overtime losses and 1 regulation loss.

Looking ahead to tonights game lets break down how both teams shape up.

Vernon Vipers

Record - 1-1-1-1 - 4th place in Interior Division

Leading Scorers - Demico Hannoun 2G 3A 5 Pts
                            Dexter Dancs 3G 1A 4 Pts

Goaltending - Austin Smith 0-0-1-1, 3.10 GAA, .899Sv%
                     Danny Todosychuck 1-1-0-0, 4.00GAA, .873Sv%

Special Teams - Powerplay - 15th in the league - 1 for 19 - 5.26%
                         Penalty Kill - 9th in the league - 17 of 20 - 85%

West Kelowna Warriors

Record 2-2-0-0 - 3rd place in Interior Division

Leading Scorers - Jordan Masters 2G 3A 5Pts
                            Ambrose Firkus 1G 4A 5Pts

Goaltending - Andy Desautels 2-1-0-0, 2.77GAA, .881Sv%

Special Teams - Powerplay - 11th in the league 3 for 25 - 12%
                         Penalty Kill - 16th in the league 14 of 21 - 66.67%

We're only 4 games into the season and already we've come upon important games.  If you can't make it to Royal LePage Place tonight, you'll be able to catch all the action starting at 6:45 with the Coldstream Truck Parts Pre game Show and all the play by play on Village Green Hotel Vipers hockey on 1075 KISSFM starting at 7.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Vipers tie it late but fall in OT to Backs

From a fans perspective this was a fantastic game to watch.  As a coach, its the type of game that gives them grey hair.  A late comeback, a missed penalty shot, and a breakway goal against saw the Vipers get a point, but ultimately lose 6-5 in double OT.

Following Friday's loss, there were lots of improvements that needed to be made coming into the rematch last night.  Those improvements were prevalent early as the Vipers were skating and passing like the team that put up 7 goals against Surrey the week before.  Jason Bird would open the scoring with a rocket of a slap shot beating Angus Redmond.  The Backs would tie it late with a Jeff Kennedy tip in goal and after 1 it was tied at 1.

Vernon would go on to ultimately dominate the second period of time getting goals from Mark Hamilton and Craig Martin all before the midway mark.  But as was the case all night, the Backs refused to go away and Thomas Plese would score in the final 5 minutes of the period, which was important as they were down 3-2 after 2.

Then cue the real excitement.  Salmon Arm tied the game early as Harlan Orr would score in the first minute.  Alex Gillies would get his first of 3 to give the Backs their first lead of the game and it looked like the Backs had everything going their way.  But the lead was short lived as Dexter Dancs would knock home his 3rd of the season 18 seconds later to get the game tied up once again.  Both teams played rather conservative late with the anticipation of OT.  One costly Viper mistake however, put them down by a goal as Gillies would snap home his 2nd of the game with less than 3 minutes to go.   Vernon to their credit refused to go away and with just 18 seconds left Mason Blacklock would get his first goal of the season at a crucial time to send the game to OT.

Nothing really happened in the first OT, so lets skip to the second.  Demico Hannoun would get a Penalty Shot 18 seconds in, but was stopped by Redmond.  That truly was the turning point as Alex Gillies would break away a minute later and end the game by beating Austin Smith for his hat trick goal.

My 3 Key Thoughts

1) No doubt about it, this game was extremely exciting and emotional for everyone involved.  Entertainment value was high and the 1,725 fans in attendance were spoiled.

2) Credit to the Vipers for scrounging out at least one point.  They have points in 3 of 4 games and any early points you can get could go a long way later in the season.

3) How good is Alex Gillies right now.  He has 7 goals in just 4 games and has single handedly taken games over when the Backs needed it the most.

No time to dwell on this one if you're Vernon.  As their next game will be Tuesday in West Kelowna to face a Warriors team who took 4 points from the Centennials over the weekend.  If you can't make the trip to West K you will be able to catch all the action on Village Green Hotel Vipers Hockey on 1075 KISSFM starting with the pre game show starting at 6:45!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Vipers Fall To Silverbacks

It was a rough night for the Vernon Vipers to open the post Showcase schedule with a 6-1 loss.

The Vipers would get off to a great start to the game out shooting and greatly out playing the Silverbacks in the opening 5 minutes.  Unfortunately that momentum was difficult to maintain and it therefore shifted to the Salmon Arm side.  The Backs would capitalize on a broken play from the corner as Colton Thibault would have a few whacks at the puck in front of Danny Todosychuk and finally put it into the cage to give the Backs a 1-0 lead.  The turning point in my mind was a monumental fight at centre ice.  Captain Ryan Renz would square off with Backs captain Blake Box for a tilt and it was a very spirited even affair with Box getting credit for the take down.  It was the take down that did the most damage as Renz would limp off to the dressing room and not return.  No word on how serious the injury, we hope to find out more tonight.

The start to the second period was very reminiscent of the first for the Vipes as they would put a lot of pressure on the Backs defenders and finally the hard worked paid off after a great individual effort from Michael McNicholas.  He would find Matty Saharchuk positioned at the side of the goal and he would score his first of the season to equalize the game.  That tie would be short lived as the Vipers did an impressive job on the PK to kill of a powerplay, but couldn't get the puck out of the zone as play went back to five on five and that would prove costly as Alex Gillies would score his 3rd of the season to give SA the lead.  Colton Thibault would make his presence felt again as he blocked a shot from the blue line and went in on a break away to score his 2nd of the season and 2nd of the night to give the Backs a 2 goal lead heading to the third period.

It was all Salmon Arm in the third period as Carter Brown-Maloski would score on a penalty shot, followed by another Gillies tally and a Jack Berezan goal late in regulation.

My 3 key thoughts:

1) Powerplay just wasn't clicking.  The Vipers powerplay went 0 for 6 and really struggled to get their shots through to the net.

2) Late in the game, I thought the Vipers started to feel the pressure and that turned into frustration which led to a lack of discipline.

3) Health.  Playing with only 5 defenders, it looked as if the Vipers started to get a little tired and looked a little slow late in the game.

The one benefit to last nights game, is that the Vipers get to put it behind them right away and face the Backs on home ice in front of a good Vipers crowd.  They'll look to deal the Silverbacks a bit of their own medicine in game 2 of the home and home set.

You can catch all the action tonight at Kal Tire Place starting at 7.  Tickets go onsale at 4pm at the box office.  If you can't make it to the game, you can listen to Village Green Hotel Vipers Hockey on 1075 KissFM starting with the pre game show at 6:45!