By Stephen Dafoe
Legal – With just one second left in Saturday night’s road game against Onoway, the Legal Vipers brought the contest to a tie and gave themselves another five minutes to prove they could defeat the Ice Dogs.
That proof came in the form of a Matt Kuzio – Christopher Page combo 32 seconds into overtime, a goal that put an end to the Ice Dogs’ dominance over the Vipers this season.
Heading into Saturday night’s road game the Vipers were oh-and-three with the Ice Dogs but had been steadily closing the goal gap with each successive outing. The Vipers began the season with a 10-1 loss against the Ice Dogs but had narrowed the gap to a 6-5 loss Dec. 4. The Vipers 5-4 overtime victory Dec. 10 was the reversal of fortunes the club had been hoping for and put two years of struggling to defeat Onoway behind them.
With a 9-4-0 record and 18 points in the standings, the Vipers are in fourth spot in the league, three points behind the Slave Lake Winterhawks who have played two more games than Legal this season.
Saturday night’s road game saw a determined Legal Vipers dominating the first 20 minutes, a period which ended 3-0 in Legal’s favour. Although Onoway picked up two goals in the middle frame and managed to keep the Vipers from tickling the twine, they fell one short of bringing the contest to a tie.
However, the Ice Dogs were able to bring the game to 3-3 midway through the final frame and to pull ahead by one with just 35 seconds left in the game. With one second left on the clock, Andre De Champlain, assisted by Tom Soetaert and Jeremiah Burak brought the game to a 4-4 tie, driving the contest into overtime.
A half minute into overtime and the Vipers scored the one goal they needed to walk away with their first victory over Onoway in two seasons.
The Legal Vipers have one game remaining before the Christmas break. They take on the Slave Lake Winterhawks Saturday night at the Legal Arena. Game time is 8:30 p.m.