Vipers pick up two wins to continue streak

  • Oct. 26, 2016 2:38 p.m.

The month of October has been a good one for the Red Deer Vipers, who find themselves in the middle of a five game win streak after last weekend’s games.

“We got the four points we were looking for,” said Vipers’ Head Coach J.D. Morrical of the past weekend’s wins, which included a 4-3 shootout victory over the visiting Stettler Lightning on Saturday in Red Deer and a 7-3 road triumph over the Blackfalds Wranglers the following afternoon.

“I’ve been really happy with the way we’ve been progressing this year. We had a really tough start. Our schedule at the start of the year was really tough. We played the top four teams in our first five games,” Morrical said, adding this weekend was especially important for the Vipers because of the rivalries they have with Blackfalds and Stettler.

“They’re our two biggest rivals, you know our in division games. I would say Stettler is probably the hardest working team in the league and that’s always stung us a bit if we don’t come to play.”

And sting them the Lightning almost did as a late power play goal by the Lighting forced the game into overtime and eventually a shootout, where the Vipers’ shooters prevailed.

“Even though we won it in a shootout, it was still good to see the win,” Morrical said.

At the time of writing the Vipers (7-4-0) are sitting in third place in the Heritage Junior Hockey League North Division, just four points behind the second place Mountainview Colts (9-1-0) and six behind the first place Airdrie Thunder (9-2-2).

“We’ve got two games this weekend as well to kind of catch up, so hopefully we can have some success this weekend,” Morrical said.

The Vipers will host the Strathmore Wheatland Kings (4-5-3) at the Collicutt Centre in Red Deer on Saturday night at 8 p.m. before travelling to Medicine Hat for a date with the Cubs (1-7-3) the following afternoon.

“We’ve played both teams already this year. We’ve been able to win both. Basically it’s just the same thing, the only thing that we’ve had trouble with this year is just our starts. We felt we’ve had really bad first periods pretty much every game and it’s almost like we need to get a bit of a kick in the pants just to get going,” said Morrical, adding that overall the team has been pretty solid this season especially on the back end.

“Our goaltending this year is the big difference for me. Our goaltending was good last year, but this year our goaltending is exceptional with (Branden) Bilodeau and Cole Sears.”

The goalie tandem has been shutdown for the Vipers so far this season, with Bilodeau posting an impressive 1.84 goals against average and a 0.947 save percentage over his six games while Sears has put up a 2.52 GAA and a save percentage of 0.909 through his five.

“The only problem that we’ve been finding is we’re almost relying on them a little too much.”

Still, Morrical said he’s confident in his crew as they pursue their goal of making a return to provincials this season after hosting the tournament last year.

“I’ve really liked how the guys have been coming together so far. It’s been really impressive to see.”

zcormier@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Red Deer RCMP arrest man with imitation firearm

Man pointed firearm at several staff members before fleeing to a nearby restaurant

WATCH: Red Deer commemorates National Indigenous Peoples Day

Citizens take part in activities throughout the week

Red Deer RCMP investigate armed robbery at pharmacy

Suspect wielded a handgun, demanding staff member to open the safe

WATCH: Mellisa Hollingsworth highlights Special Olympics Celebrity Breakfast

Olympic Bronze Medalist from Central Alberta shared her journey with a packed house

Court full as schools, parents dispute Alberta gay-straight alliance law

Justice Centre argues keeping parents out of the loop violates freedom of religion and expression

WATCH: Loads of summer events await Central Albertans

From CentreFest to Westerner Days, there will much to explore this season

After World Cup lineup photographed, England urges media to help team

Now the England camp is actually asking media: Are you with us or against us?

MISSING: Police hoping to locate man reported missing

Ponoka RCMP looking to public to help find Joseph Desjarlais

Liberals set hiring, procurement rules for federally-funded projects

Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities and women to be hired

Get your hot dog water, only $40 in Vancouver

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

Privacy questions linger two years after Canada-U.S. terror list deal struck

Two years after Canadian and U.S. security agencies signed an updated agreement officials consider privacy risk

Manitoba MP was allegedly abusive at Red Cross shelter

Canadian Red Cross has filed a complaint that Liberal backbencher MaryAnn Mihychuk ignored protocol

A look at what Canadian teams might do in the 1st round of the NHL draft

Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Edmonton in top 10 of upcoming draft

Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

Western lowland gorilla, 46, died in her sleep in California

Most Read