It was an even game in the first period, the only difference was the Caps took advantage of their opportunities on special teams. Patrick Geary opened the scoring on a nice shot up over the shoulder of Andrew Shortridge, while the Caps were shorthanded. On their first PP of the night, the Capitals would get a goal from Jared Domin who just jammed the puck inside the near post to give Cowichan a 2-0 lead. The period would end a bit early after a breaker in the building blew. They would get the lights back on and play the remaining few minutes, but the Vipers would end the period down by 2.
The Caps continued to press and Darien Craighead would increase the lead to 3-0 at the five minute mark of the second period. That really got the Capitals moving as they controlled the flow of play for a good three minutes where the action was entirely in the Vipers zone. A rush against the flow of momentum had Odeen Tufto snap a low hard shot past Lane Michasiw to make it 3-1. The Vipers then picked up their physical play and it was Riley Brandt leading the charge. He crushed Kade Kehoe into the boards, then absolutely ran over Jared Domin in the neutral zone. The latter hit drew the ire of Patrick Geary and the two would fight it out in a nice tilt before hitting the showers. That really seemed to spark the Vipers who were much better in the final few minutes of the second, but still remained down 3-1.
The Vipers came out flying the third and most importantly seemed to change their mindset a little in the offensive zone. Shots started coming from everywhere and there were more quality scoring chances. Steven Jandric would cut the deficit to one off a beautiful shot from the left circle, right up under the bar to make it 3-2. Liam Finlay would tie it up a few minutes later after creating his own rebound in the Capitals crease to slide it home.
Nothing solved in overtime number one, but in OT number 2 it took just 23 seconds for Finlay and Tufto to work their magic with Tufto finishing off a 2 on 1 rush to complete the Viper comeback 4-3 in double OT.
Here is the official scoring summary:
|1-0 Cowichan Valley Capitals at 4:25 (SH) - Patrick Geary from Matthew Hudie|
|2-0 Cowichan Valley Capitals at 10:29 (PP) - Jared Domin from Connor Russell|
|3-0 Cowichan Valley Capitals at 5:01 - Darien Craighead from Jacob Switzer and Ryan Hogg|
|3-1 Vernon Vipers at 10:02 - Odeen Tufto from Steven Jandric and Mitchell Oliver|
|3-2 Vernon Vipers at 4:34 - Steven Jandric from Mitchell Oliver and Griffin James|
|3-3 Vernon Vipers at 12:22 - Liam Finlay from Steven Jandric and Odeen Tufto|
|OVERTIME PERIOD 2|
|4-3 Vernon Vipers at 0:23 - Odeen Tufto from Liam Finlay|
|STARS OF THE GAME|
|1st STAR||2nd STAR||3rd STAR|
|Cowichan Valley Capitals|
|Cowichan Valley Capitals||12||10||13||0||35|
|Cowichan Valley Capitals||1 for 2 (50.0%)|
|Vernon Vipers||0 for 6 (00.0%)|
This was a really good example of a team fighting off a poor start to come around and get a victory. In their losses this season, the Vipers have almost been hard luck losers, playing better than the outcome would indicate. Sunday was a different story as they hung in it long enough to turn the tables and come away with 2 points.
The Viper top line combined for 8 points and were in on all 4 Viper goals. This line has continued to impress all year long and Sunday was no exception. They have incredible vision, talent and finish, not to mention uncanny chemistry.
Andrew Shortridge hadn't played in over 2 weeks and looked a little rusty, but when the game was tight in the third period, he made 4 phenomenal saves to keep the comeback alive and well. Its not always how you start, but how you finish and Shortridge, like the whole team, finished very strong.
Its easy to see why the Capitals have had success early on this season. They are big, mean, fast and talented. They have great goaltending and great leadership. Its been said they take too many penalties, but their PK was very strong as well. These two teams will play again the first weekend in November as the Vipers head out on their second Island trip of the season. I wouldn't be surprised if its as fun as Sunday's game was.
Next up for the Vipers is a trip to Powell River as they get set to square off against a Kings team who swept their Showcase weekend and sit atop the Island Division. You can hear all the action on 107.5KissFM starting at 7pm from the Hap Parker Arena with myself and Don Klepp.