Vipers off to a solid start

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By Stephen Dafoe

Legal – It’s been a good start to the North Central Hockey League season for the Legal Vipers. After earning back-to-back victories in their season and home openers Oct. 16 and 23, the club went on to suffer a 10-1 defeat at that hands of the Onaway Ice Dogs but rebounded Saturday night with a 9-3 victory over the NCHL’s Rocky Mountain Rams.

“We were lucky we got some goals early and good goaltending from Matthew [xxxx] and the fourth line scored a couple goals,” said Head Coach Ray deChamplain of Saturday night’s victory. “It made it easy and took the pressure off the so-called guys that are supposed to score.”

The victory was a reversal of the lopsided beating the Vipers took Oct. 27 from the Ice Dogs, a club the Vipers struggled with last season.

“Onaway’s a hell of a team,” de Champlain said. “They’ve got a real good team. They’ve got good goaltending. They’ve been playing together for the last three – four years and they can play hockey.”

DeChamplain said he felt his team might have gone to Onaway with a little bit of overconfidence after their opening victories. “You can’t go in there at all thinking that you’re going to get away with anything because Onoway, the first mistake you make, they’re going to score three goals on you. They can score and they can skate, and they can handle the puck.”

The coach said he felt by the end of the year the Vipers should be able to give Onoway a better game, but it is something they’ll have to work hard to achieve. “They’re the cream of the league and there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

The Vipers, now 3-1-0, take to the Road Saturday to take on Slave Lake. The club returns to the Legal Arena Nov. 10 to take on the Onoway Ice Dogs for the second time this season. Game time is 8:30 p.m.

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