By Stephen Dafoe
Legal – Saturday night’s home-ice show down between the Legal Vipers and Slave Lake Winterhawks was a different outcome for the Vipers than the last time the two teams met. Instead of a tightly contested 9-8 victory for the Vipers, the snakes came away with an 8-5 loss, their second defeat against Slave Lake this season.
The defeat, the Vipers second in eight outings, brought the club to a 9-5-0 record on the season and positions them in fourth spot in the North Central Hockey League, five points behind third place Onoway. However, the Ice Dogs have played two more games than the Vipers at this point in the season, giving the Vipers an opportunity to close the gap to within a point if they are successful in their next to outings, one of which is against Onoway themselves.
Saturday night’s home game saw the Vipers trailing the Winterhawks by two at the end of the first period. Legal’s contributions coming from Sunny Boudreault and Christopher Page at the 11:37 and 6:30 mark, respectively.
Although Sunny Boudreault closed the 4-2 gap to a 4-3 midway through the second period, the Winterhawks answered back with two goals to widen the gap to 6-3 in their favour.
That margin was increased in the third period as the Winterhawks rippled Legal’s mesh twice more by midway through the final frame, bringing the contest to 8-3 for Slave Lake. Determined to close the Margin, Boudreault pocketed another two during the remainder of the contest, surpassing the hat trick mark and bringing the contest to within three goals with less than five minutes remaining. Unfortunately for the Vipers, Boudreault’s fourth was the team’s last.
The Vipers next take to home ice Jan. 8, when they take on the 11-4-1 Onoway Ice Dogs. The contest will be the fifth outing between the two clubs and the Vipers are hoping to repeat the outcome of the last pairing, a contest that ended in a 5-4 victory over Onoway.