Sunday, 26 October 2014

Another Weekend Split as Vipes Defeat Cents, Fall to Vees

Ironically enough, the Vernon Vipers played better in a losing effort this weekend rather than in their victory.  This weekend was a tough one as the team was without a number of regulars including their head coach for one game, yet were able to pull off a split.  They defeated the Merritt Centennials 4-2 in a back and forth game that saw both teams miss glorious opportunities to score.  The next night they dropped a 1-0 decision in Penticton in a game that was very even with one PP goal the only difference.

Starting with Friday night, the Vipers found themselves behind early for the 3rd consecutive game.  It took a strong will and perseverance for them to come back against a very game Merritt squad.  Both teams would probably say they weren't as strong defensively as they would have liked as both teams had many chances to score thanks to defensive mistakes.  In the end, a shorthanded goal would be the difference as the snakes scored their 6th shorty of the season to get the two points in regulation.

Merritt struck first as John Schiavo stole a puck in the offensive zone and ripped it past Schamerhorn to make it 1-0 inside the first 6 minutes.  The Vipers had a few chances and some nice push back, but couldn't get anything by Anthony Pupplo or the iron.  The Centennials would get a powerplay late in the frame and James Neil put home a rebound to give Merritt a 2-0 lead after 1.  The Cents had the lead in shots and goals, but the period was far from lopsided.

The Vipers cut into the lead early in the second and once again Thomas Aldworth showed off his blazing speed, poking the puck past the defender and burning past him to slide it by Pupplo.  Once again both teams would get chances to get on the score sheet, but both goaltenders looked very good controlling rebounds and playing the puck.  The Vipers got the game tied up very late in the period as Blaine Caton potted home his first BCHL goal on the PP to tie the game at 2 after 2.

The Vipers have used shorthanded goals to get themselves back into games and Friday was no exception as Trever Fidler scored the teams 6th shorthanded goal in 12 games to give Vernon their first lead of the night 3-2.  In the final few minutes the Cents put a ton of pressure on the Viper goal and just didn't get the bounces they needed to get the game tied, including a pair of missed open nets on one timers.   Thomas Aldworth would seal it into an empty net to give Vernon a 4-2 win and even up the season series with their Nicola Valley rivals.

Here's the scoring summary:

Period 1

Merritt Centennials - John Schiavo (8) - (unassisted) - 5:52
Merritt Centennials - James Neil (4) - (PP) - (Schiavo, Gould) - 17:47

Period 2

Vernon Vipers - Thomas Aldworth (7) - (Caton) - 4:33
Vernon Vipers - Blaine Caton (1) - (PP) - (L. Coughlin) - 19:52

Period 3

Vernon Vipers - Trever Fidler (4) - (SH) - (Latina, Shiplo) - 7:22
Vernon Vipers - Thomas Aldworth (8) - (EN) - (L. Coughlin) - 19:27

Shots - Merritt 39     Vernon 33

Powerplays - Merritt 1 for 3     Vernon 1 for 6

The win gave the Vipers consecutive wins over Interior division rivals in hopes of sweeping the weekend with a game the next night in Penticton.

The last time the Vipers were in the SOEC was game 7 of the Interior Division Finals as the road team was able to win an emotional game in overtime to move on in the post season.  Both teams looked different from player personnel and coaching staff, but the emotion in the game was quite the same.  Unfortunately for the Vipers this game wouldn't go like game 7 did as one PP goal proved the difference as the Vees would win 1-0 and increase their win streak to 9 games.

Goaltending and defense were instrumental in the first period as both teams traded some quality chances, but really played a controlled game.  Both teams made smart plays out of their own zones, clogged up the neutral zone and when given the opportunity got some chances on goal.

The Vees got a PP early in the second period and it took just 7 seconds to strike as Dante Fabbro let a long slapper go that went off a Viper stick in front and by Schamerhorn.  The Vipers would get a few chances on the PP of their own, but couldn't get anything past Hunter Miska.  Miska was a huge story as midway through the period stacked the pads to rob Mitch Meek and keep the game 1-0.

The Vees shut it down after that limiting the Viper chances, keeping the shots against down and sending the puck as far into the Vipers zone as they could.  Of course, the Vipers still got a handful of opportunities including a great individual effort from Thomas Aldworth that came up just a bit short thanks to a pad save from Miska.  The Vipers would pull the goaltender in an attempt at tying the game, but they couldn't get anything to the goal and game would finish 1-0.

Here is the scoring summary:

Period 2

Penticton Vees - Dante Fabbro (3) - (PP) - (Jost, Hannoun) - 1:05

Shots - Vernon 28    Penticton 26

It was a much better defensive game for the Vipers as they limited the Vees to just 26 shots on goal.  There were definite positives to take away from the game and build for a matchup next Saturday against the Merritt Centennials.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Shorthanded Goals Help Vipers To Weekend Split

Two solid efforts from the Vernon Vipers over the weekend didn't go exactly as planned, but in the end they were able to take a split.  The Vipers fell 3-1 to the Penticton Vees Friday night, then prevailed in a wild affair Saturday over the West Kelowna Warriors.

Friday wasn't the prettiest game, but one thing that has remained the same since Mark Ferner took over is the work ethic.  The Vipers generated many chances on Friday night and had it not been for a stellar performance from Hunter Miska, the result may have been a little different.  Demico Hannoun proved to be a difference maker for the Vees in his first game against his former team as the Vees would improve their win streak to 6 games.

The first period was pretty even as both teams peppered the goaltenders, but made some defensive misplays.  It was uncharacteristically sloppy by both teams inside their own zones.  That could have been because of the forecheck from both sides, but it forced the goaltenders to be on their game early.  The Vees would get the upper hand on a miscue between Jarrod Schamerhorn and the defense, but the puck would find its way to Demico Hannoun and he deposited it into the empty net and the Vees led 1-0 after 1.

The Vipers found themselves in some penalty trouble in the second period, but their penalty kill nearly equalized the game as Thomas Aldworth would be awarded a penalty shot.  The puck rolled on him just as he was ready to release the shot and Miska was able to get a glove on it to keep it 1-0.  That proved to be a big turning point as the Vees would get a PP marker a few minutes later and it was Demico Hannoun striking again with a slap shot from the point.  It was a good period for the Vees 5 on 5 getting lots of shots on goal and Schamerhorn was impressive stopping 15 of 16.

The Vipers pushed to get the game tied in the third, but the Vees managed the clock really well and slowed the Vipers speed by clogging up the neutral zone.  It took 16 minutes before the Vipers got on the board as Thomas Aldworth found a loose puck in the slot and ripped it by Miska to make it 2-1.  That prompted the Vipers to pull the goalie to try get it tied, but Matt Serratore would find the empty net to finish the Vipers off with a 3-1 final.

Here's the scoring summary:

Period 1

Penticton Vees - Demico Hannoun (7) - (Cooper) - 19:25

Period 2

Penticton Vees - Demico Hannoun (8) - (PP) - (Fabbro) - 11:06

Period 3

Vernon Vipers - Thomas Aldworth (6) - (L. Coughlin, Dumonceaux) - 16:14
Penticton Vees - Matt Serratore (4) - (EN) - (Alferd, Fabbro) - 19:59

Shots - Penticton 35         Vernon 31

Powerplays - Penticton 1 for 5    Vernon 0 for 1

Saturday night was a completely different story for the Vipers as they would hit the road for just the third time this season.  Different may be an understatement as the entire game against West Kelowna was the polar opposite of Friday against the Vees.  There was a definite edge to the Saturday game with a ton of goals, a lot of special team chances and a line brawl to boot.  When the dust settled it was the Vipers coming out on top of a 7-4 victory.

It was all West Kelowna to start as they seemed to find their way into the Viper zone with ease.  They had net front presence to start and that directly led to a Liam Blackburn goal as he banged home a rebound in front to make it 1-0.  A few minutes later Mike Buonincontri would be found wide open in the slot and snapped home a well placed shot to make it 2-0.  The Viper short man was phenomenal on this night and threatened immediately as Liam Coughlin scored the 4th shorthanded goal of the season for the Vipers to make it 2-1.  The momentum had shifted as the Vipers continued to push as Trever Fidler drove to the net and appeared to have tied the game up.  The referee called goal, but the nearest linesman immediately went over and the goal was waved off.  From my vantage point it appeared the puck went in off the abdomen of Fidler and not his hand, but at the end of the day I thought discussing it was the right thing to do to ensure the right call was made.  The score would remain 2-1 after 1 period.

It was all Vernon in the second period.  Part of that was thanks to a 5 minute powerplay which helped momentum.  For the first time in 6 games the Viper powerplay clicked as Mackenzie Bauer pounced on a loose puck to tie the game up at 2.  A few minutes later a nice power rush from Anthony Latina resulted in a backhanded shot that found its way through Desautels to give the Snakes their first lead of the night.  That lead was shortlived as a bad turnover behind the Viper net led to Jason Cotton getting a pass in front and rifling it past Todosychuk to even it up at 3.  Vernon was shorthanded again when the offense would find their rhythm again as TJ Dumonceaux finished off a well executed 2 on 1 to make it 4-3 for the Vipes on their second shorthanded goal of the season.

The Vipers have been in many 1 goal games this season and it appeared this one was going to be destined to one too.  That was until Luke Voltin scored his first of the season to make it 5-3. The Vipers would increase that lead on the PP as Trever Fidler would score his third of the season and it was 6-3.  Down by 3 with 4 minutes left, Rylan Ferster opted to pull Andy Desautels in attempt to get back into the game.  It was a curious move, but one that worked immediately as Jordan Masters made it 6-4 on the ensuing faceoff.  The Warriors almost got another one before Anthony Latina scored into an empty net and the final score would end 7-4.  But that goal was far from where the game ended.  Just as the horn sounded a big scrum ensued as Kyle Marino and Ryley Booth started to scrap.  Booth appeared to be over his head with the much sturdier Marino which had Riley Brandt trying to break the scrap up and then everyone got involved, including Danny Todosychuk who paired off with Kade Kehoe.  It was a great fight with Todosychuk scoring the take down.  All of this happened with no time left on the clock with game misconducts following.  No word yet on the suspensions, but it would be no surprise to see a few players miss time.

Here's the scoring summary:

Period 1

West Kelowna Warriors - Liam Blackburn (8) - (Yaremko, Cotton) - 6:57
West Kelowna Warriors - Mike Buonincontri (5) - (Blumenschein, Blackburn) - 10:29
Vernon Vipers - Liam Coughlin (4) - (SH) - (Latina) - 14:26

Period 2

Vernon Vipers - Mackenzie Bauer (3) - (PP) - (Shiplo, Guenther) - 5:50
Vernon Vipers - Anthony Latina (5) - (Bauer) - 10:46
West Kelowna Warriors - Jason Cotton (5) - (Buonincontri) - 12:31
Vernon Vipers - TJ Dumonceaux (1) - (SH) - (L. Coughlin) - 16:46

Period 3

Vernon Vipers - Luke Voltin (1) - (Fidler, J. Coughlin) - 5:52
Vernon Vipers - Trever Fidler (3) - (PP) - (Latina, Voltin) - 9:43
West Kelowna Warriors - Jordan Masters (4) - (Marino, Buonincontri) - 16:03
Vernon Vipers - Anthony Latina (6) - (EN) - (unassisted) - 17:06

Shots - Vernon 35   West Kelowna 24

Powerplay - Vernon 2 for 5    West Kelowna 0 for 5

There was no lacking excitement this weekend for the Snakes and they'll look continue the momentum into next weekend when they face the Merritt Centennials and Penticton Vees.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Vipers End Weekend with 5-4 Win in OT

I firmly believe a talking point all year long will be the impressive offensive skill set that Thomas Aldworth has.  There is no question he is an explosive player in all offensive aspects, its his play in his own zone that will turn him into a complete player.  On Saturday night all three zones were improved upon as Aldworth scored two including the game winner to give the Vipers a big 5-4 overtime win and extend their winning streak to 3 games.  The Vipers put a less than stellar first 20 minutes behind them and ended the night with two points.  The game itself was quite an entertaining one considering these two teams only play twice a year.  They were evenly matched, the goaltending was solid at both ends.  Momentum shifted from one side to the other.  Fans at KTP had to be entertained.

As I stated earlier, it was a period to forget for the Vipers who were guilty of making too many defensive zone mistakes.  Those mistakes would be costly as Jake Larson would end off a nice play after a Craig Puffer steal.  The Viper powerplay has struggled and it was victimized shorthanded as Luke McColgan would get his first of the night while a man short.  Despite leading in shots the Vipers were down 2-0.

The Vipers would chip into the lead early int he second as Jagger Williamson would find a loose puck at the side of the net and beat Aidan Pelino to cut the lead in half.  Both teams traded chances through the following few minutes before a defensive zone mishap allowed Luke McColgan to rifle a shot past Schamerhorn to make it 3-1.  The Vipers would respond quickly as Thomas Aldworth was absolutely robbed by Pelino, but Branden Wagner was able to pot home a rebound to make it 3-2 Chiefs after 2 periods.

Vernon continued to play with energy and the momentum swung in their favour thanks to a 2 on 1 rush finished off by Trevor Fidler and the game was tied at 3.  A few minutes later Thomas Aldworth would find a loose puck in the slot and snap it home to give the home team their first lead of the game 4-3.  The Vipers seemed to be in good shape, but a late push from the Chiefs saw Luke McColgan get his third of the night with just 53 seconds left on the clock to send this game to overtime.

It only took one shot in overtime as Thomas Aldworth stole a puck at his own blue line and went in alone on a breakaway and after a nice move flipped it past Pelino to give the Vipers a 5-4 OT win.

Here is the scoring summary:

Period 1

Chilliwack Chiefs - Jake Larson (5) - (Puffer) - 6:38
Chilliwack Chiefs - Luke McColgan (4) - (SH) - (Larson, Roberts) - 18:18

Period 2

Vernon Vipers - Jagger Williamson (1) - (Booth) - 1:56
Chilliwack Chiefs - Luke McColgan (5) - (Hand, Roberts) - 11:52
Vernon Vipers - Branden Wagner (2) - (Aldworth) - 13:00

Period 3

Vernon Vipers - Trevor Fidler (2) - (Voltin, Latina) - 7:11
Vernon Vipers - Thomas Aldworth (4) - (Bauer, Brandt) - 11:05
Chilliwack Chiefs - Luke McColgan (6) - (Cholowski, Kawaguchi) - 19:07

Overtime 1

Vernon Vipers - Thomas Aldworth (5) - (unassisted) - 0:48

Shots - Chilliwack 26     Vernon 37

Powerplays - Chilliwack 0 for 3    Vernon 0 for 2

The Vipers will look to finish 4 for 4 on their homestand as they host the Penticton Vees on Friday.  The Vees roll in red hot having won 5 in a row.  Puck drop is 7pm at KTP!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Vipers Rally Late To Defeat Silverbacks 3-2

The Vernon Vipers came into the weekend riding a small high.  They defeated the Cowichan Capitals a week prior to end a slump and played very well in the process.  The key to any successful team is to sustain that play and that was what the Vipers were hoping to do as the rival Salmon Arm Silverbacks came to town.  It was a very entertaining game with a ton of emotion in front of over 1700 fans at KTP.  The Vipers were able to score first which is always nice, but they were also able to come from behind and get the game winner late in the game.  Defensively the team was very solid and in goal Jarrod Schamerhorn continued his great play for his second straight win.

The Vipers struck first in the opening period as Luke Voltin would make a strong power move to the net.  He would be poked checked, but following up was Anthony Latina and he would slide it into the open cage.  The Silverbacks had a quick response however as Taro Hirose would finish off a well executed 3 on 2 rush to even the game up at 1 after 1.

The Silverbacks would take the lead for the first time on a powerplay as a seeing eye wrist shot from Chase Priskie would find its way through a maze of players and behind Schamerhorn to make it 2-1 Salmon Arm.  The momentum swung back in the Vipers favour and it came shorthanded as Thomas Aldworth stole a puck at center and went in on a partial breakaway and despite a Silverback player draped all over him still managed to snap it over Redmond to make it 2-2.

The third period was all Vernon as they limited Salmon Arm to just 1 shot through 18 minutes.  Angus Redmond was tested often in the final period, but he couldn't stop them all as Liam Coughlin snapped a wrist shot past him inside the final 2 minutes to give Vernon a 3-2 lead.  The Backs didn't quit as they put 5 shots on net in the last few seconds, but Jarrrod Schamerhorn was up to the challenge and the Vipers would hold on for a 3-2 win.

Here is the scoring summary:

Period 1

Vernon Vipers - Anthony Latina (4) - (Voltin, Guenther) - 8:24
Salmon Arm Silverbacks - Taro Hirose (4) - (Maruya) - 11:48

Period 2

Salmon Arm Silverbacks - Chase Priskie (2) - (unassisted) - 1:29
Vernon Vipers - Thomas Aldworth (3) - (Fidler) - 8:58

Period 3

Vernon Vipers - Liam Coughlin (3) - (Aldworth) - 18:02

Shots - Salmon Arm 23             Vernon 30

Powerplays - Salmon Arm 1 for 5        Vernon 0 for 3

The Vipers have a big challenge on Saturday as the Chilliwack Chiefs come to town for the first and only visit.  Puck drop is 6pm from KTP

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Vipers Split Over the Weekend

The effort level on Friday and Saturday for the Vernon Vipers was much better than the weekend prior.  Unfortunately it only resulted in two points.  The Vipers fell 4-0 in Merritt on Friday then pulled off a 2-1 win over Cowichan.

We'll start with the Merritt game that saw the Vipers drastically outshoot and outchance the Cents, but couldn't get anything by Jonah Imoo or Anthony Pupplo.  The Cents opened the scoring as Braden Fuller tapped home a loose puck off a rebound from Jarrod Schamerhorn and it would finish 1-0.

The Vipers continued to press and get chances in the middle period, but against the flow of momentum off a neutral zone turnover, James Neil rifled home a shot from the slot to make it 2-0 Merritt.  Less than 5 minutes later Gavin Gould would convert on the PP to make it 3-0 Cents through 40 minutes.  At the tail end of the period however, the Cents would be dealt a blow as Jonah Imoo would stretch out to make a save and come up lame.  He would leave the game with a lower body injury and would not return.  Anthony Pupplo would come in the rest of the way.

Merritt started the third period on the PP and it didn't take long as John Schiavo found some open space in the circle and wired a hard wrist shot over the glove of Schamerhorn making it 4-0.  Thats all the scoring Merritt would need as Pupplo would shut the door the rest of the way for a 4-0 final score.

Here is the scoring summary:

Period 1

Merritt Centennials - Braden Fuller (2) - (Oakes, Gould) - 5:50

Period 2

Merritt Centennials - James Neil (2) - (Gould, Teves) - 11:46
Merritt Centennials - Gavin Gould (2) - (PP) - (Teves, Schiavo) - 16:02

Period 3

Merritt Centennials - John Schiavo (5) - (PP) - (Ederer, Teves) - 0:52

Shots - Vernon 38   Merritt 22

Powerplays - Vernon 0 for 4    Merritt 2 for 4

It was a quick turnaround for the Vipers as they would head home to play a struggling Cowichan Capitals team.  The Caps had also lost the night before and both teams were looking to turn their luck around.  Overall it was a very balanced game.  Once again I thought the Vipers compete level was there and the execution arrived as well early in the game.

The Vipers pushed the pace early in the game testing the resolve of the Capital defenders and they managed to withstand the pressure through the opening minutes, but eventually the levees broke and Anthony Latina was able to bust down the right wing and put home his own rebound to end a 73 minutes goalless drought.  The Vipers continued to play a solid well balanced period to lead 1-0 after 1.

The Capitals came out firing in the second thanks to a couple of early powerplays.  The Caps didn't score with the man advantage, but they sure gained confidence and momentum testing Jarrod Schamerhorn 17 times in the period.  The Vipers however were able to mount a comeback that resulted in a goal as Branden Wagner was able to bang home a loose puck to make it 2-0.  Things then got a little heated after the whistle late in the period as a couple of scraps broke out with Thomas Aldworth pairing up with Thomas Gobeil to drop the gloves, then Linden Hora giving up 7 inches in a scrap with Charlie Pelnik.  Both Vipers held their own which is impressive considering neither player is known for their fighting skills.

I thought Vernon played a very smart third period up by 2 goals.  They killed off a two penalties and hunkered down with smart plays in their own end.  They didn't appear to nervous with the lead which is always a positive.  Things got interesting late in regulation as Jesse Neher was finally able to flip a puck past Schamerhorn in the final 2 minutes.  The Vipers won a couple of big defensive zone faceoffs and killed the clock to skate away with a big 2-1 victory.

Here is the scoring summary:

Period 1

Vernon Vipers - Anthony Latina (3) - (Fidler, J. Coughlin) - 5:52

Period 2

Vernon Vipers - Branden Wagner (1) - (Brandt, Caton) - 14:44

Period 3

Cowichan Valley - Jesse Neher (2) - (Horsman, Gelsinger) - 18:47

Shots - Cowichan Valley 35    Vernon 38

Powerplays - Cowichan Valley 0 for 4    Vernon 0 for 4

The Vipers will now get a few days off before getting back on the ice against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks Friday night at KTP.  That game will be on KISSFM starting at 6:45!