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rivermen swamp vipers in third

rivermen swamp vipers in third

by don klepp | Added 2011-11-19

Another weak third period cost the Vernon Vipers as they lost 5-2 in Langley on Saturday.

The Rivermen scored four unanswered goals after the Vipers had taken a 2-1 lead in the second period. Three of those goals came in the third period, which continued Vernon’s pattern of third period collapses on their weekend three game road trip.

In each game, they were tied heading into the third period, but succumbed to a hungrier team in each contest. In the three games, the Vipers were outscored 7-2 in the final 20 minutes.

In Langley, the teams traded power play goals in the opening frame. Aaron Hadley, who replaced John Knisley on the Nowick/Zalewski line, broke the ice at 2:45.

That lead stood up until 13:01, when Darnell Dyck potted his first of two power play markers. His second, at 17:36 of the second period, tied the game at 2-2. Dyck swatted in his own rebound after Danny Todosychuk had made a good save on a point shot and then another good block of Dyck’s first attempt.

Earlier in the period, at 8:28, Ryan Renz had stepped in off the right point and taken a pass from Mike Zalewski, who had won a puck battle along the right boards. Renz’s high snap shot went under Jim Kruger’s blocker.

The Renz goal culminated eight minutes of Viper pressure, but then the Rivermen seemed to be energized by falling behind, while the Vipers stopped skating as hard as in the first 28 minutes of the game.

That disparity in energy levels was especially noticeable in the third period. Although the Vipers generated three good scoring chances early in the period, they either missed the net or shot the puck into Kruger’s body.

The winning goal came off the stick of 6’4”, 215 pound Mike Tebbutt, whose pro-quality wrister from the high slot gave Todosychuk no time to react to the puck that went high shelf.

The real back breaker came 9 seconds after the Tebbutt goal. After the ensuing faceoff, Patrick Martens chased the puck into the Viper zone and attempted a pass in front. The puck caromed in off a skate. Todosychuk fanned at a long wrist shot by Thomas Nitsche at 12:38, to end all doubt concerning the game’s outcome.

Earlier in the period, Todosychuk had been brilliant, robbing Chris Tracy and Mike Tebbutt with his catching glove.

The two teams seem to be heading in opposite directions. The Rivermen started the season losing seven of their first ten games, but have since won three of their last five. The Vipers started brightly, winning their first seven contests, but have lost three in a row and five of their last ten.