Vipers bounce back

Jason Simmonds
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With solid win over Newfoundland and Labrador at Eastern Canadian junior B hockey championship

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. – It was a big bounce-back effort by the Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers on Wednesday.

Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers goaltender Dylan McQuaid made 21 saves in a 6-2 win over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Avalon Capitals at the Don Johnson Memorial Cup in Port Hawkesbury, N.S.

The Vipers posted a solid 6-2 victory over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Avalon Capitals in a late-afternoon start at the Don Johnson Memorial Cup. The win leaves the defending-champion Vipers’ record at 1-1 after dropping Tuesday’s opener in the Eastern Canadian junior B hockey championship tournament to the Nova Scotia-champion Sackville Blazers by an 8-6 score.

“We just needed something good to happen for us,” said Vipers head coach Wade Waddell in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer following Wednesday’s game. “Usually it’s a goal or something like that, but today (Wednesday) it was a couple of nice defensive plays in the second period. That seemed to rally the troops, and we rallied around our defensive play for change. . .

“They (Capitals) are a quality team, so it was a good win for us.”

The Vipers’ next game is against the host Port Hawkesbury Strait Pirates on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Each of the six teams will play four round-robin games, with the top four moving on to Saturday’s semifinals. The championship game will be played Sunday afternoon.

Spread out offence

At the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, the Vipers received points from 12 different players and a solid 21-save performance from goaltender Dylan McQuaid, who was making his first start of the tournament.

“Dylan was excellent,” assessed Waddell. “He (McQuaid) was very composed and it was probably one of his most solid games (of the season).

“He’s had a pretty good run in the playoffs, and today (Wednesday) we needed him, especially in the first period. We did break down a bit in the first period and gave up a lot of quality chances, but he was really solid the whole way.

“We just needed something good to happen for us. Usually it’s a goal or something like that, but today (Wednesday) it was a couple of nice defensive plays in the second period. That seemed to rally the troops, and we rallied around our defensive play for change. . . They (Capitals) are a quality team, so it was a good win for us.” Vipers head coach Wade Waddell

“Once we were up by two, with the way Dylan was playing, I knew it was going to be tough for them to come back.”

Offensively, Brett Hogan led the Vipers with one goal and two assists while Jordan Mayhew (1-1), Kyle Doucette (1-1), Tanner McGuigan, Spencer McAllister and Spencer Montgomery chipped in with single tallies. Other assists went to Ty Price (2), Josh Bowman, Adam Wight, Jeremy Jollimore, Zen Hamil and Matt Stead.

“We’ve had some success over the playoffs with everyone contributing,” said Waddell. “Today, all four lines got on the score sheet.

“To me the key in the game was getting our defensive structure back. I know we are going to score goals, we’ve never been a team that has struggled scoring goals. If you go back to the Montague series, we have been having some problems preventing them, so today was definitely a step in that direction.”

Matthew Caines and Michael Cole countered for the Capitals (1-1).

The Vipers built period leads of 2-1 and 4-2, and closed out the game with strong defensive play in the third period.

“We were boxing out and protected the house really well,” said Waddell. “In order to win a tournament like this, you are going to have to do that.

“We are pretty happy right now, and hopefully we have the ship pointed in the right direction again.”

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

Organizations: Capitals, Journal Pioneer

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Port Hawkesbury Strait Pirates Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre

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