Wednesday, April 20, 2011

VIDEO: When Russian Fans Attack

This video comes from a local Russian news station. It's from the BCHL Select Squads game agianst the Russian Junior National Team.

Late in the third period things get a little chippy in the Russian end. Players come together as everyone pairs off in some good old fashion face washing and shoving.

WAIT! WHAT? From over the top...

From Eddie Gregory's BCHL in Russa Blog, the culprit was escorted to the penalty box and allowed to return to his seat!

Only in Russia...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mid Week Thoughts

Look for a year end piece out shortly. Sorry for the lack of updates in the last week. I've had a few things to take care of but I will try to update as much as I can.

In other news...

  • Some potential big news out of the Cariboo. The Quesnel Cariboo Observer is reporting that the Millionaires are for sale.  President Bob Sales stated the team has lost significant money two years in a row and the biggest issue was attendance.
The real problem, Sales said, there were too many empty seats on too many nights, this despite "heavy marketing" based on the previous year's playoff run.
"We just can't get anybody to walk into the building," Sales said with a resigned shrug of the shoulders.
"That's our biggest problem.

The entire piece can be found by clicking here. Also credit to Brian Weibe at the Making Cents blog for the story. There have been rumours flying around saying the group that did own the Chilliwack Bruins might be interested in buying a BCHL franchise for the now vacant Prospera Centre.

  • As you may or may not know a BCHL Select squad is over in Russia for an exhibition tour against  Russian junior teams. Eddie Gregory, the voice of the Express is the Media Director on the tour and is running a blog which can be found here. The squad lost their first exhibtion game today 9-2 to the Russian Red Stars. Ron Gallo has put up a game summary on his blog which you can find by clicking here
  • The Kings held their Awards night on Saturday at Dwight Hall. The event was well attended as over 160 guests were on hand for the night.The 2010 - 2011 award winners were as follows:
MVP – Matt Garbowsky & Michael Garteig
Coach’s Award – Jason Yee
Inspiration Award – Chris Williams
Armitage Men's Wear Player of the Year – Chad Niddery
Top Scorer – Matt Garbowsky
Scholastic Award – Cohen Adair
Plus/Minus Award - Chad Niddery & Matt Garbowsky
Community Involvement – Bond & Brendan Hawryluk
Most Popular Player – Chad Niddery
Unsung Hero – Brenden Forbes
Most Sportsmanlike – Daniel Schuler
Top Defenceman – Jason Yee & Justin DaSilva
Most Improved – Steven Schmidt
Rookie of the YearCraig Dalrymple
True Grit Award – Andrew Pettitt
Play-off Performer – Jon Jutzi
True Beauty Award – Doug McCormick
BCHL Volunteer of the Year – John Harris

  • Vernon`s Michael Zalewski was named the BCHL Player of the Week by the BCHL. The foward scored arguably the biggest goal of his hockey career in game four against the Kings. The complete write up can found here. Speaking of the Vipers, their Doyle Cup showdown with Spruce Grove starts Friday at the Wesbild Centre. The Vipers and Saints are meeting for the second straight season. Also the Doyle Cup site is up and running and can be accessed by following the Doyle Cup link.

Saying goodbye to 2010-2011

I’ve had trouble putting myself in front of a computer and writing this entry for quite some time. It was just over a week ago that the Kings season was ended eight minutes into overtime of game four. Michael Zalewski ended Powell River’s season on a rebound in front of the Kings net.

The goal gave the Vipers their third consecutive Fred Page Cup and left the Kings searching for answers once again.

There was immediate disappointment when the season ended prematurely. The Kings had high expectations coming into this season. Their goal was to not only win their first Fred Page Cup, but also travel to Camrose for the 2011 RBC Cup. You could argue the majority of the BCHL had the same goal back in early September. Almost every team dreams of finishing on top come May. Was Powell River in a better position than quite a few teams? Yes they were, but it doesn’t mean the season was a loss or a failure by any stretch. This year’s group had plenty to celebrate.

The season started off with a 3-0 win over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on September10th. A few highlights in particular ended up fore shadowing a few individual and team performances throughout the season. Mike Garteig made 20 saves in game one for his first of seven shutouts on the season. Garteig's mark this year tied a five year old BCHL record held by Brad Thiessen. The Kings became known as a nearly air tight team defensively as they set a new BCHL goals against mark, Garteig set a new goals against average record and he teamed up with Sean Maguire to share the team award for lowest goals against average in the BCHL.

Chad Niddery and Matt Garbowsky both had one goal and three points in the first win of the season. A glimpse into what was to become a dynamic duo as Niddery went on to finish with 86 points,which was fourth best in the BCHL, and Matt Garbowsky lead the league in scoring with 44 tallies. Speaking of Garbowsky a story shared at the team banquet shows the type of person he is on and off the ice.

Garbowsky told Kent Lewis that one of his goals this season was to score 45 goals. He had that opportunity on the final day of the regular season in Port Alberni. Facing an empty net and leading 3-1 late in the third period, Garbowsky passed up scoring number 45 and elected to set up Jason Yee's first goal of the season, and first in over 80 games dating back to November of 2009. That goal was the most celebrated empty netter I've seen in my broadcast career and goes to show you how special this team was.

The Kings would go on from the season opener to set more records and continue to add on more W's in the win column. The team played just like that, a team, and were getting staggering results. By Christmas, Powell River had a double digit point lead for first place in their conference and a sizeable lead for first place in the BCHL. By the winter break the Kings hadn't faced any real significant adversity except a few key injuries to their forwards. The Kings still managed to pick up wins during that stretch and headed into the Christmas break as the number one ranked team in the country.

There were a couple of hiccups after the break as the Kings lost to Malmo in their New Year's Eve tilt at the Hap Parker Arena. However that night will be remembered for the atmosphere and the post game celebrations with both teams, fans and parents at a speical dinner and dance. Their first league game in the new year was a poor effort as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Langley Chiefs over on the Mainland.

The team returned to form as they won the next nine of eleven games and finished the first month of of 2011 with a 9-3 record. January was busy as the Kings played five games in seven days, including a four game interior road trip. One of the biggest highlights of January was a wild 7-6 come from behind double overtime win against Cowichan Valley. The Kings scored twice with the goalie pulled with under two minutes left in regulation and then won it in the second overtime on a rocket by Matt Garbowsky. Not a coaches dream but one of the most talked about games for sure by the fans. By the end of January the Kings had 38 wins and were sitting pretty at the top of the BCHL. However that doesn't mean February didn't have it's fair share of excitement.

Of note, the Kings swept their three game Mainland road trip to start the month, and in doing so, Kent Lewis recorded his 500th win as a Head Coach-GM in the BCHL. Also on that swing, Mike Garteig tied the BCHL shuout record with a 3-0 win in Surrey for his seventh shutout of the season. Powell River would finish the last month of the regular season with an 8-1 record, with six of the wins coming on the road. The regular season was over and the Kings had plenty of accomplishments.

  • Franchise record in wins with 46, surpassing the orginal mark of 44 set in 1993-1994.
  • Franchise record in points with 97, clipping the total of 89 also set in '93-94.
  • Franchise record in road wins with 21.
  • BCHL goals against record of 115. Besting the previous season's total of 119 set by the Vernon Vipers.
  • BCHL goals against average record set by Mike Garteig at 1.69, passing Vernon's Blake Voth's 1.79  from 2009-10.

As you might expect, there was plenty of excitement going into the playoffs come March. The Kings would get a first round bye and in turn have a full 17 days off from the end of the regular season to the beginning of round two on March 8th.

Powell River would meet Victoria in the Coastal Conference semi-final and this series didn't dissappoint. The series had all the recipies for a classic. The drama, makings of an early upset, and a comeback all made for one great seven game battle.

The Kings did start out as expected with a 6-2 game one win over the Grizz but the story did not follow script after that. Victoria would win the next three games including back to back overtime wins in games two and three. Evan Richardson's OT winner in game two seemed to turn the tide in the series. The Grizzlies held strong at home, winning games three and four at the Bear Mountain Arena.  That set up a must win game five at home and it was a game no one will soon forget.

Powell River had a 2-1 third period lead in front of a loud home crowd and looked like they would force a game six in Victoria. However, Dustin Johnson had plans of his own scoring with just one minute and one second left to force overtime. I'm sure many fans and even some players thought... here we go again.

Panic was subsided when Jon Jutzi played hero in the first overtime session, taking a drop pass from Chad Niddery and ending the game at 11:11 (make a wish anyone?) of the first overtime period. The emotional win seemed to wake up the Kings as they turned in two text book 4-1 wins in game six and seven to complete the comeback. Game seven was closer than the 4-1 outcome reads, as it was 2-1 for the Kings with just minutes remaining and Victoria pressing.  The Kings capitalized on a rare mistake by Victoria goalie Matt Ginn when he misplayed the puck to Carter Shinkaruk who made no mistake. Dan Schuler finished off a brilliant night with an empty netter to cmplete his hat-trick performance.

Powell River lived to play another day.

The Confernce Final pitted the Kings against the Surrey Eagles who came in riding high as they were 8-2 through two playoff rounds. The Eagles swept Coquitlam in round one and downed Langley in round two in six games. This series started similar to the previous one with Victoria. The Kings won game one by a count of 4-2 but yet again stumbled in game two, losing 2-1 in overtime. Like the Victoria series, the Kings were going on the road with an unwanted split at home. Throughout the regular season and the playoffs the road had been good to the Kings, and that was no different in Surrey. Powell River won game three 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 was a pivotal game in the series and it was a very entertaining game that didn't end until 11:45pm.  That's when Steven Schmidt scored in triple overtime to give the Kings a 3-1 lead in the series and a chance to close it out on home ice.  It was an opportunity for the taking, but the Eagles had other plans.

Surrey would summon their best performance of the series and take game five 3-1 with only 9 forwards and five defensemen. A lesson for the Kings not to look ahead before the task at hand was accomplished. Powell River would bounce back and win in convincing fashion, 4-1 in game six and advance to their third straight Fred Page Cup. A rematch with the two time defending national champion Vernon Vipers.

The Kings would, as you well know, end up losing the Fred Page Cup in four games. All four of the games very close and could have gone either way. Powell River had an opportunity to win each of the four games, including the final two in Vernon. However, unlike the previous two series, the Kings could not find a bounce or recover from a Vernon chance. It seemed like the Vipers scored on almost every chance they had. That's how championship teams win in a tight series such as this one.

The Kings can't be faulted for a lack of effort or will to win. If you looked at the players faces after game four, you knew they did every thing they could. There were a few things that dogged the Kings in the finals. The power-play struggled in the first two games, not scoring in the series until game three. Also the scoring dried up at the most inopportune time. In the first two games the Kings only scored once on 46 shots and went down 0-2 heading to the Interior.  They managed to score 7 goals in the two games in Vernon, but it wasn't enough to get a road win as the Vipers swept the series in four straight. 

Congrats to the Vernon Vipers for capturing yet another Fred Page Cup and good luck to them as the BCHL representatives in the upcoming Doyle Cup versus the Spruce Grove Saints from the AJHL.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


THE SET UP: Powell River is in a must win tonight in game four trailing the Vipers 3-0 in the best-of-seven Fred Page Cup. The Kings lost another one goal game last night 4-3 on John Knisley's game winning goal late in the third period. Knisley's winner came from the corner, as he threw it to the net and had the puck go off a King defender and in.

Powell River quite simply out played Vernon for the majority of the game yet still came out on the losing end. How does Vernon find a way to win? Being opportunistic.

When the Kings made a rare mistake it seemed like it would end up in their net. The Vipers scored twice in 50 seconds in the first off two miscues and the final two goals were the result of poor checking.

Powell River will need to find a way to play a desperate but air tight game from wire to wire.


The Kings will have to find a way not to deviate from their game plan and keep within their style of play for a complete 60 minutes in game four. Powell River did control game three for long period of stretches including most of the first and latter half of the second and third periods. However when the team made mental mistakes it seemed like the Vipers were there to pounce on them and manufacture goals. Good teams are opportunistic and tonight the Kings need to return the favour to the Vipers.

In my game three preview I stressed the power-play needed to kick into high gear and it did scoring twice on three opportunities and the penalty-kill came up with a short handed goal. Usually when that happens in a game you are sitting pretty so to speak. In saying that, in the Fred Page Cup you need to find a way to manufacture offense five on five.

Powell River was effective with their cycle game down below the circles in the Vernon end. The Kings executed a physical fore check on the Snakes defense and in turn created plenty of turnovers. However the team failed to get quality chances on goal from that and were frustrated for most of the night. For game four Powell River will have to find a way to work off the boards and drive the net and challenge Kirby Halcrow.

The twenty year-old's on this team won't let their final junior season end tonight  and I expect you will see a desperate and determined effort by the entire team.

  • Continue to throw the body on the Vipers D-core. The Kings pounded them for most of the night and were given opportunities in close.
  • Get Kirby Halcrow moving. The Snakes 'tender didn't look very comfortable in goal last night as he had trouble with his rebound control and tracking the puck around his crease. If you can move the puck quickly there will be openings.
  • Dont' allow Vernon to counter quickly through the neutral zone. The Vipers like to stretch it out with rink wide passes on their break outs. Get sticks and traffic through the middle of the ice.
  • Play like its a game seven...from here on out it's do or die for Powell River. Play with that desperation and the dogged determination that we have seen before.
  • Goaltending will need to be razor sharp

Vernon can win their third consecutive and 12th BCHL championship tonight at home. However the Vipers will have to better then last night to finish this series on home ice. One cold argue that the Vipes' were fortunate to win both games two and three. Vernon will have to match the desperation that the Kings will bring in game four and as the saying goes, the fourth game is the hardest to win.

The Snakes are on a roll as they're riding a seven game win streak dating back to game three against Salmon Arm. Vernon has kept themselves in a position to win in every game and as mention earlier are a very opportunistic team in this series.

Malcom Lyles finally broke out for a sterling performance in game three. The Kings did a masterful job in the previous two games of not allowing him to be a factor offensively. However last night we saw the talent he can bring utilizing his speed and vision to factor in the first two Viper goals. The Miami native can turn up the ice at a moments notice and become a offensive factor in any game. The Kings will need to keep him in check and not allow him to jump up on the rush.

Kirby Halcrow, who is the Player of the Week, will need to be his sharpest tonight. The Kings will certainly not leave anything on the table and that should mean an increased work load for the Vipers netminder. He didn't look as sharp last night in games past and the Kings will need to capitalize on the rebounds he will give out.

WHO'S HOT:  Malcom Lyles was a one man wrecking crew last night. Lyles had a  goal and a assist in the first 40 minutes of game three. The blue liner has the offensive abilities to be like a fourth forward but also can be a force in his own end.

Chad Niddery is trying everything he can to keep is junior career going. The 20 year-old had a goal and a assist as well to go along with his 18 points in 15 games. Niddery will need to be even better tonight up front to force a game five in Powell River.

STAT PACK:  The Kings are 3-0 when facing elimination in the playoffs. However they haven't won in Vernon in their last four games. That will need to change tonight.

PUCK DROP: Pre-game show at 6:45pm and face-off at 7pm on 95-7 SUN FM.

Monday, April 4, 2011


The Vipers lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 after taking both games in Powell River by a combined score of 4-1. Vernon took game two 1-0 on a goal by Dave Robinson with just over five minutes left in the third period.

The Kings have put 46 shots on Kirby Halcrow in two games, but Dan Schuler, in the second period of game one, is the only King to score thus far.

Game three shifts to Vernon at the Wesbild Centre where the Vipers are 3-3 in the playoffs. The Kings dropped their only game in Vernon this season 3-2 back on January 21st.  The Kings lost their first two road games of the playoffs in Victoria in games 3 and 4, but have won their last four picking up wins in game 6 in Victoria and games 3, 4 and 6 versus Surrey.


The Kings have hit a dry spell offensively in the BCHL Finals. Through two games, Powell River has been outscored 4-1 by the Vipers. However, it isn't for a lack of effort, as the Kings have put 46 shots on net in two games but the coaches will tell you that is not nearly enough.

Powell River will need to get pucks through to the net and get the "ugly goals" to get on the scoresheet. The first two games have been very tight as both teams are in a chess match so to speak. Every inch of ice has been contested and that won't change in Vernon. So how do they do it?

The power-play is one area that needs to find success. In their 8 wins in the playoffs, the Kings have scored a power-play goal in six of them. Furthermore, in three of the four road wins the Kings have scored two or more power-play goals. It's safe to say the power-play will need to start producing for Powell River to get back into this series.

In saying that the Kings will also have to generate more offense playing five on five. The Kings' only goal came at even strength in game one. That goal was scored on a rebound off the end wall by Dan Schuler and they will need more of that going forward.  The Kings will have to find a way to get more pucks on net and generate second and third opportunities around the Vernon net.

As the saying goes, "if ain't broke don't fix it."  The Vipers presumably won't be making any major changes to their game. Vernon took two games in Powell River by being opportunitsitc and playing cautious when in their own end.

Vernon was successful at clogging up the middle of the ice in both the neutral and defensive zones. The Vipers come back hard and use their stick to disrupt not only passing but shooting lanes as well. The Kings will need to find a way to fight through the traffic and find what open space there is and get to Kirby Halcrow.

At the center of their success in the post-season has been scoring first. The Vipers are 10-0 in the playoffs when scoring first, but 0-4 when the opposition scores first. As you can gather, the Kings will need to find a way to get the first goal tonight and play with a lead for the first time in the series.

The Vipers are expecting a nearly sold out crowd and will be feeding off the energy at the start of this game. The Kings will have to match Vernon's intensity to start the first period and try to take the crowd out of the game early.


Kirby Halcrow has stopped 45 of 46 shots in games one and two. Halcrow has not allowed a goal in 80:56, dating back to the late stages of the second period in game one. The Vernon netminder has dropped his goals against to just over two and bumped up his save percentage over 90 percent. However, don't discount Mike Garteig either.

Garteig has been tagged with both losses but has a goals against under two and a save percentage just above 92 percent. The 19 year-old has been stellar in the playoffs to date and he will have to outduel Halcrow in order for the Kings to win tonight.

Both team's defensemen have played great, blocking a lot of shots and snuffing out rushes.  At this point in the series, Powell River's defense is going to have to step it up that much more in order to climb back in to the series.

STAT PACK: The Kings will be looking for their fifth straight road win in the playoffs. The win streak dates back to game six in Victoria.

PUCK DROP: The broadcast gets underway at 6:45pm on 95-7 SUN FM.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kings snake bitten in game 2

  • The goals have dried up for the Kings through two games versus Vernon. Powell River has put 66 pucks on goal in two games but has only one goal to show for it.
  • Scoring has been an issue for this team throughout the playoffs. Coming into the Fred Page Cup the Kings were averaging just under three goals per game.
  • So why has the scoring fallen off? Give credit to the Vipers who don't give much time and space to the Kings when they have the puck-especially in their own end. When there is rebounds and chances in and around the Vernon net, it just doesnt click for the Kings. Either the pass is half a foot ahead or behind its' intended target or it's a rolling puck to contend with.
  • Powell River will have to find a way to bare down on their opportuinites, as there won't be many-on either side in this series.
  • The power-play can be an area where their offensive plight could be turned around. If the Kings went even one for three last night we could be talking about a series tied at one.  The power-play is where you need to capitalize, especially in a series as tight as this one.
  • The Kings brought a much better effort last night. There was fire in the Kings game as they came out with great job and in turn resulted in an entertaining product.
  • Coming back to the offensive woes, it's hard to generate chances when you are starting in the neutral zone or further back. The Kings need to fight tooth and nail to generate more offensive zone face-offs. In the first period Powell River didn't have a draw in the Vipers end for the first six minutes. The team did generate more as the game wore on. Making it a short rink can benefit any offense.
  • What it comes down to is being opportunistic and that's what the Vipers have been this series. Don't get me wrong they've played well but by no means have they out played Powell River. This series has been extremely close.
  • I would like to single out a few individual performances from last night. Jusitn DaSilva was a rock on the back end for the Kings. Big number 25 was a physical force throwing his weight around and using his speed in joining the rush and easily was his best game of the playoffs. In fact the entire defense was terrific for the Kings.
  • Chris Williams was great with the body as well and using his speed to generate chances through the neutral zone. Jon Jutzi and Craig Dalrymple are going to be quite the duo next season. They have the size, the speed and vision. Both are getting better in every game they play. Jason Yee put in another unhearalded performance and AP Justin Sotkowy is fitting in nicely.
  • The same can be said about the Vernon back end. Adam Thompson and Steve Weinstein are chewing up lots of minutes and are just so steady. Malcom Lyles can do it all, five on five, power-play and penalty-kill. He's one of the best in the league.
  • Player nor fan should hang their head after last night's result. A tremendous effort and compete level shown by the Kings and Vipers. Remember Vernon came back down 2-0 against Salmon Arm.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


View 8136.jpg in slide show

SERIES: Vernon grabbed a 1-0 series lead with their 3-1 game one win over the Kings. Dylan Walchuk and Bryce Kakoske gave the Snakes a 2-0 first period lead and Dan Schuler and Michael Zalewski traded goals in the final two periods.

Kirby Halcrow faced only 21 shots in picking up his eigth playoff win, while Mike Garteig was tagged with his sixth loss in the King net. 

Special teams were a non-factor as both teams were 0-2 on the power-play.


The Vipers got the all important first win by taking game one in Powell River. Vernon's game wasn't sexy by any means but it was well executed in squeezing the Kings attack throughout the night. The Snakes didn't give the Kings much time or space through the neutral zone or in the Vernon end of the ice. When the Kings managed to step around a forecheck there was another Viper stick there to knock the puck away.

As wrote about last night, the Vernon defense did an effective job of fighting off the Kings forecheck and getting away from traffic and getting pucks quickly out of their zone. Also ,the back end disrupted the Kings cycle game in the corners and won some key puck battles along the boards.

The first goal in the playoffs has been key for the Vipers as they are 9-0 when they score first. Last night, after surviving a five minute opening burst by the Kings, Walchuk's ninth of the playoffs gave theVipers the first goal and seemed to settle them in as well. The key for the Kings is scoring first on the Snakes and getting the large crowd involved early. The numbers don't lie, Vernon is 0-4 when scored on first.

The Kings will need to take confidence away from the Vipers any way they can, as Vernon is riding a five game winning streak dating back to game three versus Salmon Arm.

The Kings will need more contributions from their veteran players going forward in this series. Powell River took notice of the Vipers leaders making an impact in game one and the Kings will need to duplicate that performance for game two.

The driving force up front throughout the season has been Kings Captain Matt Garbowsky. The quiet sniper does have 10 points in 13 playoff games, but he has only two goals this postseason.  He has scored one in his last seven games, and that was into an empty net. The 20 year-old has been in a classic slump in the past two rounds.   Simply put...he has been snake bitten in recent weeks. The team feeds off of him and as he goes, so too do the Kings. Garbowsky is overdue for a breakout performance.

Also the Kings will have to find a way to break through the Vipers defensive shell.  Powell River struggled to get quality rushes into the Vipers end. One way to correct that problem will be to use their trade mark speed and stretch the play wide coming through the neutral zone. We saw glimpses of it in the late stages of the second and moments in the third period. Getting back to an up tempo attack will produce scoring chances for Powell River.  They were able to force turnovers when their first forechecker made body contact.

WHO'S HOT: No one is feeling it more than Dylan Walchuk. The Viper forward now has five goals in his last six periods, dating back to game six versus Salmon Arm. In that game Walchuk broke out for four goals in a 5-4 win. With his assist last night, Patrick McGillis has four helpers in two games, three came in game six against the Apes.

Dan Schuler's marker last night gives the 18 year-old three in two games and eight in the post season. Schuler had a pair of goals in game six against Surrey. Niddery's assist gives him points in back-to-back games.

STAT PACK:  Dating back to the last two Fred Page Cup's, the Kings are 3-4 on home ice versus the Vipers.

PUCK DROP: Pre-game show starts at 7:15pm on 95-7 Sun FM. Join Andy Welsh, Dean Merrick and myself for all the action. Don't forget we will be broadcasting the post-game show from the Wolf Den in the Cedar room located in the upper lobby immediately following the game.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Snakes take game one 3-1

  • Powell River knew it wouldn't come easy against a very stingy Vipers squad and tonight showed why. The Vipers limited the Kings to just 22 shots and one goal en route to a 3-1 game one win in Powell River.
  • The Vernon defense core didn't give much to King shooters as the middle of the ice was almost completely blocked off. Powell River struggled at getting their sticks on pucks in the middle of the Snakes zone and if they did a Vernon stick was there to knock it away.
  • One could argue all three Vernon goals were self inflicted. Walchuk's opener came off a rebound in front as he was left open on top of the blue paint. Off the draw a Kings failed out and a missed coverage to pick up the winger as he made his way to the goal. Kakoske's goal came off a careless turnover right in front of the Kings goal. Adair was trying to bring it out in front and was pick pocketed by Kakoske who snapped a low shot by Garteig. Zalewksi's ended up going off Dalrymple and in. The intial rush was a three on two and the Vipers were allowed to drive the net.
  • Both power-plays were non-factors as both teams went 0-2 on the man advantage. Give credit to both PK's as they were aggressive and effective.
  • Kirby Halcrow came in and got the job done tonight. The goaltending match up was spot lighted and Halcrow was good when he had to be -witch wasn't often.
  • 22 shots is acceptable and the Kings will have to be much better tomorrow.
  • When there is a large crowd this post season it isn't always a good thing for the Kings. Dating back to the last two finals, the Kings are only 3-4 on home ice in the Fred Page Cup.
  • A good first five minutes but where was the rest of the 55? Yes the Kings had moments in the second period and in the third. The Vipers felt out the Kings early on and came alive and control the game for the majority of time.


History repeats itself: For the third straight season the Kings and Vipers meet in the Fred Page Cup. The Vipers have bested the Kings in the previous two encounters, winning in six games in '09 and in seven games last season.

These two cubs did face off in the league finals in 1991, with different names and colours on their sweaters. The Vernon Lakers swept the Powell River Paper Kings in four games that season.

Familiar Faces: Six players will be making their third straight Fred Page Cup Final. Chad Niddery, Andrew Pettitt and Jason Yee have played in the previous two finals for the Kings. Bryce Kakoske, Adam Thompson and Steve Weinstein are looking for their third ring for the Vipers.

Returnee's from last year's teams:

Kings                                  Vipers
Chad Niddery                      Bryce Kakoske
Andrew Pettitt                      Adam Thompson
Jason Yee                            Steve Weinstein
Matt Garbowsky                  Dylan Walchuk
Justin DaSilva                       David Robinson
Klay Kachur                         Blake Voth
Brenden Forbes                    Patrick McGillis
Carter Shinkaruk
Steven Schmidt
Mike Garteig
Braeden Pears

Road to the Fred Page Cup

Coastal Conference Quarter-Final: Bye
Coastal Conference Semi-Final: Kings 4 vs. Grizzlies 3 (6-2 3-4OT 1-2OT 2-5 3-2OT 4-1 4-1)
Coastal Conference Final: Kings 4 vs. Eagles 2 (4-2 1-2OT 3-2 2-1OT 1-3 4-1)

Interior Conference Quarter-Final: Bye
Interior Conference Semi-Final: Vipers 4 vs. Warriors 2 (3-2 2-5 2-4 5-2 7-1 2-1)
Interior Conference Final: Vipers 4 vs. Silverbacks 2 (3-5 6-0 5-1 3-2 3-2OT 5-4)

Team Profile:

For more on the Powell River Kings, please visit Vernon Vipers blog

History is on the Vipers side heading into tonight's game one. Vernon is the two time defending national champions and still are until they're beaten. Mark Ferner's club has been to this stage before and will be ready to defend their back-to-back titles

Vernon graduated 15 players from last year's squad including the dynamic twin duo of Connor and Kellen Jones. The team did struggle offensively compared to last year with key offensive weapons departing as the Vipers scored 101 less goals this season from last. The Vipers had seven players who scored 50 or more points last season, compared to just three this year. However the key for Vernon this year was their depth.

Vernon this season were lead up front by David Robinson, Dylan Walchuk and Bryce Kakoske but it didn't stop there. The Vipers boasted eight players who scored 10 or more goals and 11 players who recorded 25 or more points. It's not just the top line that can hurt you, as every line seems capable of putting goals on the board at any given time. The blue line also reloaded this season and didn't seem to miss a beat.

Five regulars from last year either graduated or were traded before this season. Gone are Curtis Gedig, Dan Nycholat, Garrett Noonan and Darrin Robak. The two that are holdovers are two of the most dependable on the back end. Adam Thompson and Steve Weinstein are two anchors on the Vipers blue line and are minutes eaters for Mark Ferner. They're grouped with new faces in Malcom Lyles, Ryan Renz, Brett Corkey, Max Mowat and Philip Patenaude. Lyles and Renz aren't green horns by any means for Vernon.

Lyles comes from Boston College where he played 16 games for the Hockey East powerhouse.  Lyles is regarded as one of the top defenseman in the BCHL this season and deservedly so. The rear guard posses great speed and will not be shy about joining or leading the rush down the ice. Renz also has experience under his belt as he came over from Alberni Valley earlier this season in a trade. Renz isn't flashy but very effective in his own end and is a physical element to the Vipers defensive corps. Like Lyles, Renz will be going to a Hockey East Program next season in Northeastern, Lyles will apply his trade at UMass-Lowell.

The most debated area has been in between the pipes for the Vipers. In late December, before the January 10th deadline, the Vipers acquired Kirby Halcrow from the Quesnel Millionaires. Mark Ferner and Jason Williamson know all too well what he can do in the playoffs, as Halcrow stood on his head last season against the Vipers in the second round. One could say the only reason the series with Vernon and Quesnel went the distance was the play of Halcrow.

Like the Kings, the Vipers are very comfortable with both goaltenders they have in Halcrow and Blake Voth. Voth was the starter before Christmas and had the second best numbers only to Mike Garteig. I expected the difference in this series will come down to who out plays who in goal.

Will the third time be the charm for the Kings? Powell River is looking for their first Fred Page Cup and once more they will have to go through Vernon. The success they had in throughout regular season and up until this point of the playoffs shows that this year's squad could have the best chance at doing just that.

After a season with little or no adversity the Kings were tested in the first series against the Victoria Grizzlies. In a season where you win 46 of your 60 games you can be accustomed to things going your way. That wasn't the case in the second round match up as Powell River had to battle back from a 3-1 series deficit. It was a good test and a good response as this team did show the fire that was needed and won the series in seven.

In the Conference Finals the team was guilty of not always being mentally focused and not having that killer instinct that is needed to put teams away when you can. However, the team did save their best for last in a convincing game six win in Surrey. The Kings went on to 4-1 win and controlled the game from wire to wire. That type of performance in game six will need to be duplicated over this best of seven BCHL final.

Keys for the Kings vs. Vernon:

  • They don't call it home ice advantage for nothing. The Kings will have a large crowd behind them for the two games and will need to take full advantage of that. The Vipers had the luxury of home ice last season and it can be the difference the longer this series goes on.
  •  Depth scoring sounds cliche but this will be crucial for the Kings. The Kings have had players step up throughout this playoff, however they will be counted on even more. Line matching and checking assignments will be stressed throughout the series. It's the players who can get their team a goal on the third and fourth lines.
  • Special teams...surprise! The Kings and Vipers both have had their fair share of struggles on the power-play. The Kings have actually fared better scoring two more power-play goals and their man advantage is operating at four and a half percentage points higher. Making your opposition pay for taking penalties is key in any game, let alone a league final.
  • Goaltending-This series will be decided by the masked men in the blue paint. The Kings have the leagues top netminder in MikeGarteig and Vernon has two capable starters at their disposal. Halcrow has been very sound in the Viper net and his team will need more of the same.