By Stephen Dafoe
Legal – The Vipers pulled off back-to-back victories Friday and Saturday night to give the club another four points in the North Central Hockey League standings and to extend their current winning streak to four consecutive games.
The Vipers began the weekend with a Friday night home-ice rematch with the Athabasca Aces, a contest that ended in a 7-5 decision for the Vipers, their second victory over the visiting club that week. Saturday night’s road trip to Slave Lake provided the Vipers with a closely fought 9-8 victory over the Winterhawks.
The back-to-back victories brings the Vipers’ record to 7-3-0 on the season and puts them in third spot in the league, right behind the top-ranked Drayton Valley Wildcats and second-placed Onoway Ice Dogs.
Assistant Coach George Prefontaine said Saturday night’s road game to Slave Lake was a fast paced game with plenty of uninterrupted action from one end of the rink to the other.
The Vipers ended the first period deadlocked with the Winterhawks 4-4, but the pummelling the Vipers gave the back of Slave Lake’s net prompted the coaching staff to pull Sheldon Ghostkeeper from between the pipes in favour of former Vipers backstop Chris Gauthier.
Gauthier managed to keep the Vipers out of the net to a larger extend than the Vipers were able to do with Slave Lake’s chances. Tom Soeteart, assisted by Mark Nysetvold and Ron Soeteart, provided the Vipers with their only digit on the board during the frame.
However, the two goals Slave Lake pocketed sent the Vipers back to the dressing room trailing 6-5 heading into the third period.
But the Vipers were able to pull ahead in the final frame to end the contest 9-8 in their favour, not only outscoring Slave Lake but outshooting the club 40 to 34.
The Vipers play one game this week, a Saturday night home-ice contest against the 1-8-0 Rocky Rams from Rocky Mountain House. The last time the two clubs met, the Vipers walked away with a 9-3 victory, easily sheering the newest club in the league. Game time for Saturday night’s rematch is 8:30 p.m. at the Legal Arena.