KENSINGTON – There is one word that immediately stands out when Wade Waddell discusses the first half of the Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers’ season.
“We have been up and down,” assessed the veteran head coach. “Sometimes I think we are right there with everybody, and there’s other times I see we have work to do.”
The Vipers, who took a 7-7-3 (won-lost-overtime losses) into Friday’s road game against the Eastern Maniacs (4-11-1), will be looking to address this issue in an upcoming home-and-home series with the Island Junior Hockey League-leading and arch-rival Arsenault’s Fish Mart Western Red Wings (10-5-2). The teams meet in Abram-Village on Boxing Day at 2 p.m., and return to Community Gardens in Kensington on Friday, Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
“These are important games,” emphasized Waddell. “We are trying to get on a roll here ourselves, we haven’t played our best hockey the last couple of weeks and we are hoping a good rivalry game will set the tone a little bit better.
“We have been flat the past two weeks, and we are looking forward to these games a lot. They are ones you have circled on the calendar. Any time you play Western, and I’m sure they are the same way, we are looking forward to it.”
The third-place Vipers entered weekend action five points back of the Red Wings.
“It’s still early and we are looking to make some changes perhaps, and hopefully in a month’s time we are in the spot they are in,” said Waddell.
Struggled against N.B. teams
Waddell noted what has hurt the Vipers this season is going winless so far – 0-3-2 – in interlocking games with the New Brunswick Junior Hockey League.
“We have done ourselves a disservice against the teams off the Island,” said Waddell. “Other teams are picking up wins, and that’s where we are getting separated in the standings, because we are not picking up those points against teams from the mainland.”
When asked what he wants to see from his team against the Red Wings, Waddell quickly answered, “a solid 60 minutes.”
Despite an up-and-down season, which included a 4-1 start, the upbeat Waddell remains optimistic and still has high expectations for the Vipers.
“At the end of the day I hope our guys expect that we will be challenging for a championship,” said Waddell. “The regular season is over at the end of February, and we are looking to get better. I fully expect we will be there at the end.”
Kensington Vipers’ team leaders:
Points: Nathan Sanderson, 18.
Goals: Logan Vandervelden and Campbell Gallant, tied with 8.
Assists: Riley Gallant, 12.
Power-play goals: Logan Vandervelden, 3.
Short-handed goals: None.
Penalty minutes: Parker Ronahan, 46.
Goaltending: Cameron Visser, 4-7-0