By Stephen Dafoe
Legal – After five consecutive wins over the past three weeks, the North Central Hockey League schedule brought the Legal Vipers up against one of only two teams that have managed to beat them this season – the Onoway Ice Dogs.
That meeting, as has been the case in the two previous meetings, did not end in Legal’s favour. Once again the Ice Dogs, currently tied for top slot with the Drayton Valley Wildcats, came away with a win.
However, Saturday night’s 6-5 win was a much closer contest than Oct. 27’s 10-1 win and Nov. 10’s 7-4 victory. The narrowing of the goal gap shows the Vipers are evolving into a team well capable of reversing the fortunes of previous outcomes, and Saturday night’s contest was a testament to that.
The Vipers led the first half of the opening period 2-0 and ended tied 2-2 at the start of the second.
It was a formula repeated in the middle frame with the Vipers pulling ahead by a two-goal margin within the first five minutes, only to allow Onoway to answer both goals by the end of the frame.
Tied 4-4 at the beginning of the third period, The Vipers picked up their fifth at 11:56, a goal that was answered by the Ice Dogs a few minutes later.
However, An Onoway goal with 6:08 remaining on the clock later shifted the balance in the Ice Dog’s favour for the first time during the game. It was a goal the Vipers were unable to answer in the final six minutes, a situation that gave them their third consecutive defeat against the Ice Dogs this season.
The Vipers will get the opportunity to take on the Ice Dogs once again this Friday night in Onoway. Game time is 8:45 at the Onoway Arena. The Vipers next home game is Dec. 18 against the Slave Lake Winterhawks. Game time is 8:30 p.m. at the Legal Arena.