Vipers ready for home opener this weekend

By Stephen Dafoe

Legal – Senior hockey fans are gearing up for this Saturday night’s home opener for the Legal Vipers. The North Central Hockey League season got under way for the Vipers last Saturday night in Drayton Valley with a 4-1 road win for the club.

Vipers’ President George Prefontaine, who is also assisting Head Coach Ray deChamplain on the bench this season, said he is hoping to build on the momentum of last weekend’s game.

“We’ve got some pretty high expectations,” Prefontaine said of this year’s Vipers. “We’ve got a half a dozen new guys this year to replace the guys that aren’t here from last year. The whole team demeanour seems to be really, really positive. We’ve got some younger talent and the game last Saturday was very, very fast paced and it was exciting.”

During that outing, the Vipers’ first of the season, the club earned a 4-1 victory over the Drayton Valley Wildcats. Although both clubs were scoreless at the end of the first frame, the Vipers were leading 1-0 by the end of the second period. Third period game play saw the Vipers pick up their second five minutes into the period, following it with two more in the final seven minutes of the game, including an empty netter by Chris Page that ran the length of the rink.

But while this year’s Vipers have a new-look jersey, introduced late last season, new players on the ice, including the addition of former Morinville Jets Jeremiah Burak and Ryan Martin and a new momentum heading into the season, they are also playing in a new-look league.

Prefontaine said the Jasper Wolves have bowed out this season and that a new team has joined the NCHL from Rocky Mountain House.

The Vipers play their home opener against the Edson Ice Oct. 23 at 8:30 p.m. at the Legal Arena.

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