The goaltenders took a little while to settle in, as Riley Brandt opened the scoring and Nick Rutigliano tied it up before the real big saves started to get traded back and forth between Matthew Greenfield and Andrew Shortridge.
Both netminders used their toes, gloves, sticks, it really didn't matter in a highly energized game that left some fans speechless from what they just saw.
Jagger Williamson gave Vernon a 2-1 lead into the third period, before Liam Finlay scored an almost guaranteed highlight reel marker to put the Vipers up 3-1 late. Rylan Yaremko got the Warriors within one, but blocked shots and a couple key saves finished up a Vipers victory, but that wasn't the end of the night.
- While the Warriors came out strong in the opening period, it was the Vipers who had a good chunk of the scoring chances in the first two periods from my vantage point. It was one of those games where West Kelowna didn't create much until the third period, then threw everything but the kitchen sink at Andrew Shortridge, just could not come up with an equalizer. It will be interesting to see what the coaching staff has to say about the first forty minutes of tonights game.
- Goaltending was a big story throughout the night, as both netminders traded big saves back and forth. Andrew Shortridge made a couple of huge stops in the first and third periods, including one absolutely robbing Jonathan Desbiens on a back door pass. That end of the rink had something special tonight, as Matthew Greenfield made big saves down there in the second period, including one where he was down and out and somehow got the glove on the attempt. Unfortunately for Greenfield, he'd like to have Jagger Williamson's slapshot back, as you could tell from his body language that he knew he should have had it. With the way he's played though, it's just an unfortunate little blip on a 1.94 GAA.
- Both goals came from defensemen tonight and I don't think you fault the Warriors forwards lack of effort. Rutigliano and Yaremko both found the back of the net, picking up opportunities by joining the rush. The Warriors didn't seem to get enough traffic in front of Shortridge throughout the game, and just couldn't beat him when it counted in the final 90 seconds.
- The end of the game actions were an unfortunate part of an exciting hockey game. Andrew Shortridge was more or less the story all night long, and made himself the story at the buzzer. It was a key win for the Vipers, and a big performance from him, just unfortunate that it escalated past the boiling point. These two teams play each other three times in four days in the middle of February. That should be fun.