Thursday, May 15, 2014

Vipers Live Another Day; Will Face Terriers On Semi-Final Saturday:

When Vernon Viper fans look back 10 years from now at big goals of the past, Cam Sylven's 1990 Centennial Cup winner will be right at the top... But the 2014 RBC Cup goal scored by Dexter Dancs came at a time when the season was within one shot of ending, giving the Vipers an opportunity to play in Saturday's Semi-Final against the Yorkton Terriers.

Unfortunately, I personally will only catch the latter half of the game as I am committed to my weekend duties at Q101 in Merritt. I thank everyone for following this week and apologize to anyone who will miss my updates in the early afternoon. I expect to be back in Vernon near 4 PM, and I look forward to once again seeing the fans and hockey-faithful in the Okanagan!

On a side note, I want to send a big thanks to Keegan Goodrich, Ryan Robins, Rob Abramenko, Don & Betty Klepp and Todd Miller for giving me the opportunity to work so closely with this event. Nothing has been more humbling and eye opening than working and offering my help to these people that without, this tournament would not happen. It's going to be one hell of a weekend!!

This was written by Kevin Mitchell of the Vernon Morning Star: 

Dexter Dancs figured he was overdue to pull something big for the Vernon Vipers.

The big North Vancouver winger went sky-high Thursday night, recording the overtime snipe as the Vipers iced the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots 3-2 in a Royal Bank Cup round-robin showdown at Kal Tire Place.

The Vipers will face the Western champion Yorkton Terriers in the national Junior A hockey semifinal Saturday (2 p.m.). Vernon, Yorkton and the Eastern Rep Carleton Place Canadians of Ottawa all finished the round-robin at 2-2. The Vipers placed second by virtue of a better goals for and against record (plus one) in games between the group.

The West No. 2 seeded Dauphin Kings topped preliminary play and will face the Canadians Saturday at 6 p.m. The Kings had the choice of either the matinee or evening game.

Dancs, voted the Vipers’ co-MVP a week ago, scored with 9:43 left in OT, beating Toronto goalie Evan Buitenhuis from in tight. Michael McNicholas and d-man Riley Guenther drew assists on the powerplay marker.

Toronto star sniper Kevin Shier had served 68 seconds of a high sticking minor.

Vernon goalie Austin Smith made a stellar save off Shier (32 points in the post-season) from the slot, three minutes into overtime.

The crowd of 2,400 figured it was game over when Demico Hannoun went hard to the net and redirected a gorgeous pass from the left side wall by McNicholas

Toronto forced overtime with seven seconds left with Viper playoff hero Colton Sparrow off for high sticking. Smooth-skating d-man Michael Prapavessis netted the equalizer on a wild scramble, the assist going to Nathan Feric. Sparrow had been in the penalty box 29 seconds.

Centre Andreas Tsogkas put Toronto up six minutes into the game with a wrister from the middle past a screened Smith. Vernon d-man Kenny Citron had just returned to the ice after serving a minor for holding.

Shortly after the Vipers couldn’t convert on a brief 5-on-3 powerplay, Brett Mulcahy tipped in a Sparrow feed from behind the net for the equalizer.

Vernon outshot Toronto 46-24 and were the better team on the night, but didn’t have a ton of quality scoring chances. The Patriots are a patient, gritty team and they hung around long enough to cause the Vipers some grief.

Winger Brendan Persley, who was injured early in Vernon’s tournament opener Saturday, played a handful of shifts before taking a seat. The Vipers’ hit parade was led by Citron and Logan Mick. Both players rocked Toronto’s Rory Bell, Citron knocking Bell’s lid flying near the Viper blueline early in the second period.

Mick belted the durable Bell along the side wall in the neutral zone seven minutes later.

Hannoun lost an edge and fell on a partial breakaway early in the third, while Mulcahy just failed to jam the puck past Buitenhuis short side a few minutes later.

Guenther made a gigantic shot block just seconds before Smith stood his ground on Shier in the extra session.

The gold-medal game goes Sunday at 4:30 p.m., live on TSN.

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