KENSINGTON – The Arsenault Fish Mart Red Wings handed the Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers a 4-1 defeat in Island Junior Hockey League Boxing Day action at Community Gardens in Kensington.
© MIke Carson/Journal Pioneer
Red Wings goaltender Chris Gallant turns aside a shot from Vipers Kyle Doucette as defenceman Jarrett Macree (5) moves in during Island Junior Hockey League action at Community Gardens Thursday. The Red Wings defeated the Vipers 4 to 1.
In a fast-paced opening period, Kensington seemed to have the upper hand taking the play early to the Red Wings and goaltender Chris Gallant.
Gallant and the stingy Red Wings defence stonewalled the Vipers’ early onslaught and began to take control of the game.
Kensington failed to put the puck past Gallant on two power-play opportunities in the opening period.
As the second Kensington power play ended, Red Wings left winger Benji Gaudet took the puck and raced down the ice and put the puck past Viper goaltender Grant Grady.
The teams battled through the second period with each team having three power-play opportunities but neither being able to score.
With less than 30 seconds left in the period, Red Wings’ Nathan Ellis put a shot past Grady to give his team a 2-0 lead.
The third period belonged to the Red Wings’ forward Jeremy Balderston, offensively, scoring twice in the final period to seal the win for his team.
Kensington did manage a power-play goal in the third period when Jordan Mayhew managed to solve Gallant.
Vipers head coach Greg Rivard had high words of praise for his goaltender and the team’s effort against the Vipers.
“Chris has been playing fantastic for us all year,” Rivard said. “Unfortunately, he hasn’t got the bounces but today he really showed up and he was the backbone of this team.”
The Vipers had seven power-play opportunities in the game and managed their only goal on a third period five-on-four.
Rivard said playing short-handed has been a problem for the team.
“Discipline is an issue,” the head coach admitted. “It cost us a win in Montague the last game. Anyway, we’re working on that. There’s that fine line between intensity and discipline and sometimes we cross it.”
Rivard said the team’s desire and hard work were keys to Thursday’s win.
“The intensity – the guys just wanted it,” he said. “We didn’t have the time of possession a whole lot but we played smart away from the puck and that was key.”
Rivard described the rivalry between the Vipers and Red Wings as “huge,” adding, “The boys played pretty well today.”
Rivard hopes to move up in the standings with a win this weekend.
“We have Sherwood, Saturday, at home,” he said. “It’s a chance for us to leap frog Sherwood into third place.”