By Stephen Dafoe
Legal – The Vipers took to the ice Saturday night for their first game of the 2011 / 2012 North Central Hockey League Season. Although the club hoped to hit the showers with a victory under their belt, their maiden voyage into the season was a 9-4 defeat at the hands of the Athabasca Aces.
Things looked good Saturday night during the opening frame. Travor Makaruk pocketed an unassisted goal six seconds after the opening faceoff. Unfortunately, that contribution was answered by Athabasca with two of their own before Legal would score again. The first period closed with Legal trailing 3-2.
As the second period progressed, Legal’s hopes of victory became less and less likely. Although both sides remained scoreless through the first half of the frame, Athabasca rippled Legal’s mesh five times in less than eight minutes to end the period 8-2 in Athabasca’s favour.
Despite depleting odds, the Vipers came back to the ice determined to address the deficit, and managed to score another two within the first five minutes to bring the tally to 8-4. With 8:10 left in the frame, Athabasca scored their ninth and managed to keep Legal off the board for the remainder of the game.
Legal will have the opportunity at a rematch Friday night when they travel to Athabasca for their second game of the season. The Vipers return to Legal Saturday night to take on the visiting Hinton Heat. Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m. in Legal.