Monday, 17 November 2014

Vipers play 5 good periods and split weekend set

The Vernon Vipers came within 20 minutes of a 4 point weekend as they squared off with the Penticton Vees and Victoria Grizzlies.  One lack luster period led to their demise as the Vees would rattle off 3 straight powerplay goals to come from behind with a 4-2 victory.  The Vipers seemed to learn their lesson on Sunday as they had a 2 goal lead and put the Grizzlies away with 3 goals in the first five minutes of the third period.  Overall there was a lot to like about the Vipers game this weekend, but the poor third period Friday is the lone disappointment.

The Vipers started the weekend with a home game with the league leading Penticton Vees.  These two teams are very well matched as demonstrated in the previous games which were solved by a goal.  The Vipers led for 40 minutes before a surge from the Vees in the third led to powerplay opportunities which they converted on to win the game 4-2.  The Vees now own 3 victories over the Vipers, but they have been far from easy wins.

The Vipers struck just 16 seconds into the game as Luke Voltin stole a cross ice pass from the Vee defenders and powered a wrist shot by a surprised Hunter Miska to get the home side off on the right foot.  The Vipers killed off two penalties and thanks to fantastic goaltending from both sides the Vipers took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.

The Vipers found themselves shorthanded again in the second period and has been a common theme all year it was the shortman that found the offense as Anthony Latina stole a puck at his own blueline and broke in on Miska and slipped a puck under the Minnesota product to give Vernon a 2-0 lead.  The game was back and forth with both teams trading time in the offensive zone a producing a ton of shots.  Once again the middle period had stellar goaltending.  The Vees would finally take advantage of a powerplay as Riley Alferd skated onto a puck in the slot and rifle it over the shoulder of Jarrod Schamerhorn to make the score 2-1.  The Vipers had a glorious opportunity in the final minute of the frame, but Hunter Miska made arguably the save of the season robbing Luke Voltin and keeping it 2-1 after 2 periods.  That save combined with a double minor penalty proved to be a turning point in the game.

The Vees came out buzzing as they really carried the play and hemmed the Vipers in their own zone, but the Vipers seemed to weather the storm until the final 5 minutes when Trever Fidler was penalized for double minor high sticking penalty.  The Vees immediately converted as Demico Hannoun snuck in the back door and tied the game up at 2.  The Vees took the lead a minute later as Jack Ramsey showed off some nice hand eye coordination redirecting a puck past Schamerhorn to give the Vees their first lead of the game.  Matt Serratore would finish the game into an empty net to make the final score 4-2.

The Vipers saw a great opportunity slip away on Friday and were rightfully disappointed in their third period effort.  Learning how to put teams away is a lesson not easily learned and the Vipers learned it the hard way.

Here's the scoring summary:

Period 1

Vernon Vipers - Luke Voltin (3) - (Meek, Shiplo) - 0:16

Period 2

Vernon Vipers - Anthony Latina (10) - (SH) - (unassisted) - 6:40
Penticton Vees - Riley Alferd (15) - (PP) - (Serratore, Bast) - 17:05

Period 3

Penticton Vees - Demico Hannoun (15) - (PP) - (Russell, Jost) - 14:31
Penticton Vees - Jack Ramsey (15) - (PP) - (Bast, Alferd) - 15:31
Penticton Vees - Matt Serratore (10) - (EN) - (unassisted) - 19:25

Shots - Penticton 46     Vernon 32

Powerplays - Penticton 3 for 7      Vernon 0 for 3

The Vipers looked to put that tough loss on Friday behind them when the Victoria Grizzlies came to town on Sunday afternoon.  After a slow start to the game on both sides the Vipers would pull away from a Grizzlies team that looked tired both physically and mentally.  Overall it was a pretty good effort from a Viper team that won't see home ice again for a week and a half.

There were lots of stops and starts in the first period as neither team really seemed that engaged or energized.  Chalk that up to a Sunday start or feeling the opposition out, but it took both teams at least half the period to get their game legs under them.  The Vipers found themselves on a powerplay midway through the period and that man advantage really didn't generate any chances, but as luck would have it another Grizzly penalty put them back on the powerplay and it was night and day.  They moved the puck around and put pucks at the net and it was that philosophy that allowed TJ Dumonceaux to open the scoring.  That sparked the Vipers who took it to the Grizz in the final minutes, but couldn't beat Stiliadis.

Just like the first period, the second period was a bit slow paced to start.  The intermission seemed to suck the life out of both teams.  One bright spot to a slower period is that the Vipers seemed to be making the smart plays in their own zone.  I can't recall too many poor plays in their own end and thats a positive that would serve them well.  The PK was another bright spot on Sunday as they had two crucial kills.  They switched the momentum to offense as Colton McCarthy batted home a rebound in front of the net for his first goal in a Viper uniform.  The Vipers held the dreaded two goal lead into the intermission.

Unlike two days prior, the Vipers started the period off well and generated more offense as Trever Fidler tipped a point shot past Stiliadis to make it 3-0.  Less than two minutes later Luke Shiplo converted for his second of the season to make it 4-0.  Just 14 seconds later Liam Finlay snapped home a pass from Williamson to make it 5-0.  They scored 3 goals in 2 minutes and 4 seconds which looked like they learned how to put a team away.  The Grizzlies would get a PP marker midway through the period to make it 5-1, but thats the way this contest would end.

Here's the scoring summary:

Period 1

Vernon Vipers - TJ Dumonceaux (5) - (PP) - (Shiplo, Finlay) - 15:32

Period 2

Vernon Vipers - Colton McCarthy (1) - (Meek, Latina) - 14:20

Period 3

Vernon Vipers - Trever Fidler (5) - (Citron) - 2:20
Vernon Vipers - Luke Shiplo (2) - (Finlay) - 4:10
Vernon Vipers - Liam Finlay (6) - (Williamson) - 4:24
Victoria Grizzlies - Brett Gruber (10) - (PP) - (Moore, Dixon) - 10:06

Shots - Victoria 31    Vernon 34

Powerplays - Victoria 1 for 6    Vernon 1 for 7

The Vipers will head into an important week of practice before heading on the road for a weekend set in West Kelowna and Langley.  The Viper coaching staff has seen direct correlation between work ethic in practice and in games, so I'm very confident it will be a strong hard working practice week for a big divisional matchup in West Kelowna.  You can catch all the action on Friday on 107.5 KissFM starting at 6:45 with the pregame show!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Vipers Shut Out Spruce Kings

The Vernon Vipers were gradually building towards the ultimate goal which is a 60 minute effort.  Over the course of the weekend the Vipers got better and better and the results improved and culminated with a 3-0 win over Trail.  The trick then became building on that in a very tough place to play.  Not only did the team play a 60 minutes, but it was a very dominating 60 minute performance.  They outskated, outchanced, out hit and outscored the Spruce Kings allowing them to increase their unbeaten streak to 3 games with a 3-0 win over PG.

The game started out fairly even with both teams getting a feel for each other.  Lots of speed and not many whistles in the first period.  Both goaltenders had to make some saves, but none of the spectacular variety.  The first real good scoring chance came from TJ Dumonceaux as he got himself open down the right wing and lifted a shot over the shoulder of Jesse Jenks to get the road team out in front.

It was all Vipers in the second period as they peppered the PG goal with 4 shots in the first minute and carried the flow of play.  The Vipers would increase their lead as Luke Shiplo would join the rush and get a beautiful pass from Jagger Williamson and backhand it over Jenks to make it 2-0.  The Vipers killed off two PP chances for the Spruce Kings and then rattled a couple of shots off the iron.  The game very well could have been out of reach, but after 40 minutes the Vipers led 2-0.

The Vipers killed off a short PP to start the period then increased the lead to 3-0 as Liam Finlay whacked home a loose puck off a scramble in front of Jenks.  The Vipers shut it down from there and thanks to a couple of nice saves from Schamerhorn would get to the end siren 3-0 victors.

Here's the scoring summary:

Period 1

Vernon Vipers - TJ Dumonceaux (4) - (Latina, L. Coughlin) - 11:26

Period 2

Vernon Vipers - Luke Shiplo (2) - (Williamson, Finlay) - 6:16

Period 3

Vernon Vipers - Liam Finlay (5) - (Shiplo, Voltin) - 2:59

Shots - Vernon 39    Prince George 22

Powerplays - Vernon 0 for 4   Prince George 0 for 4

The Vipers haven't given up a goal in their last 7 periods while outscoring the opponents 6-0 in their last 2 games.  They are trending in the right direction which will be important when they face the BCHL leading Penticton Vees Friday night at KTP.  It's $5 Friday at the rink which means students and children get in for just $5.  You can also listen to the game on Vipers MixLR and Fasthockey!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Vipers Smother Smokies 4-1

The Vernon Vipers began a busy week on Wednesday and kicked it off with a very tidy 4-1 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters.  The Vipers were able to generate a lot of offense and had it not been for the great play of Brett Clark, the score could've been higher.  Defensively, the team was good, but still leaving something to be desired.  The main goal is to limit the defensive mistakes and they made a few, but overall it was a good effort all the way around to help get them the two points.

The Vipers started quickly with the first three shifts of the game being spent in the Trail zone.  The Smoke Eaters adapted nicely to the pressure and with the help of Clark kept the game scoreless.  A late powerplay for the Smokies led to some quality scoring chances of their own, but after the first 20 minutes the game remained scoreless.

In the second, the pace was slower and deliberate until the physicality picked up.  The Vipers would capitalize on a nice odd man rush as Luke Voltin wired home a shot from the left circle that went post and in.  That lead wouldn't last long as Kienan Scott would steal a puck at his own blue line and break in and slip a puck five hole to tie the game up at 1.  It wasn't until a late powerplay for the Vipers that they would get the lead back as TJ Dumonceaux jumped on a end board bounce that found its way to the slot and in turn the back of the net.  The Vipers were up 2-1 after 40 minutes.

Anthony Latina would score an important goal early in the third to increase the lead to 3-1 as Trever Fidler stole a puck behind the net and fed the Viper veteran in front.  Once the Vipers got the two goal lead they continued to carry the play, but also efficiently in their own end.  TJ Dumonceaux hit two goal posts and Jarrod Schamerhorn made all 7 saves in the third to get the Vipers to their second straight win.

Here is the scoring summary:

Period 1

No Scoring

Period 2

Vernon Vipers - Luke Voltin (2) - (Williamson, Finlay) - 5:28
Trail Smoke Eaters - Kienan Scott (4) - (unassisted) - 8:52
Vernon Vipers - TJ Dumonceaux (3) - (PP) - (Shiplo, L. Coughlin) - 19:16

Period 3

Vernon Vipers - Anthony Latina (7) - (Fidler) - 2:26
Vernon Vipers - Liam Coughlin (6) - (EN) - (Dumonceaux) - 18:07

Shots - Trail 26    Vernon 39

Powerplays - Trail 0 for 3        Vernon 1 for 3

The Vipers busy week will continue Friday as they make the short trip to the Shaw Centre.  The Vipers hold a victory over the Silverbacks who have lost 4 straight games.  You can catch all the action on 107.5 KissFM starting at 6:45.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Vipers Top Cents 5-3

Saturday night was the type of game that from a fans perspective was an entertaining affair, but from a coaches standpoint at times it was maddening.  Both teams were able to generate quality offensive chances and end to end rushes, but in their own ends were at times prone to mistakes.  At the end of the day it was the Vipers play 5 on 5 that propelled them to a 5-3 victory over the Merritt Centennials.

For the first time in 5 games, the Vipers were able to score the games first goal as the Cents had trouble clearing the puck from the slot and that enabled Thomas Aldworth to snap a shot past Anthony Pupplo to give the Vipers a 1-0 lead after 1 period.

The Vipers found themselves in penalty trouble in the second period as at one point they were given 5 straight minor penalties.  The Cents would make them pay as John Schiavo re-directed a backdoor slap pass to knot the game up at 1.  The Cents would get the lead later on in the period, once again on a powerplay as James Neil would cap off a pass from below the red line to make it 2-1.  The puck had exited the net quickly and there was doubt whether or not the puck hit the crossbar, but in the end the right call was made and the Cents had their first lead of the night.  The game started to open up five on five and Liam Coughlin would get the game tied with a tap in after a beautiful effort from Luke Shiplo.  Less than two minutes later Liam Finlay would score his first as a Viper on a well executed 2 on 1 rush.  The two Viper goals coming in the final 4 minutes of the period to give them a 3-2 lead after 2.

In the third period, it was the Vipers turn on the powerplay and it would capitalize as TJ Dumonceaux would get open in the high slot and rifle a wrister thru Pupplo to increase the Viper lead to 4-2.  On their next powerplay Mitch Meek would score his first goal as a Viper by sneaking down the right side and ripping one past Pupplo to make it 5-2.  The Vipers thought they made it 6-2 on a very similar play to the Neil goal where it appeared the puck may have hit the back bar and came out, but play continued and Nick Fidanza would steal a puck in the Vernon zone and snap it past Schamerhorn to make it 5-3.  The Vipers would limit the Centennials opportunities in the final 2 minutes and take the game 5-3.

Here is the scoring summary:

Period 1

Vernon Vipers - Thomas Aldworth (9) - (Dumonceaux, J. Coughlin) - 15:22

Period 2

Merritt Centennials - John Schiavo (11) - (PP) - (Teves, Poulsen) - 5:29
Merritt Centennials - James Neil (8) - (PP) - (Cuglietta, Foley) - 14:13
Vernon Vipers - Liam Coughlin (5) - (Shiplo, Meek) - 16:33
Vernon Vipers - Liam Finlay (2) - (J. Coughlin, Williamson) - 18:23

Period 3

Vernon Vipers - TJ Dumonceaux (2) - (PP) - (Finlay, Shiplo) - 11:58
Vernon Vipers - Mitch Meek (2) - (PP) - (Williamson, Latina) - 15:29
Merritt Centennials - Nick Fidanza (2) - (unassisted) - 17:05

Shots - Merritt 31    Vernon 33

Powerplays - Merritt 2 for 8     Vernon 2 for 3

A couple of things to mention is the effectiveness of the Viper powerplay.  They didn't get many chances, but when they did they moved the puck around nicely and made the most of those opportunities.  Also the inclusion of Liam Finlay in the lineup really seemed to reinvigorate Jagger Williamson and Luke Voltin.  They were by far the best line for the Vipers and really seemed to play solid in all three zone.  Final talking point is the play of Luke Shiplo, who is know as a defenseman with offensive upside and he showed that a number of times and that showed with his two assists.

Next up for the Vipers is a Wednesday night home game against the Trail Smoke Eaters.  Puck drop is 7pm from KTP