Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff

Vipers open playoffs with victory

The Red Deer Vipers were angry with themselves but took it out on the Ponoka Stampeders. Three nights after falling 3-1 to the visiting Stamps — a defeat that cost Red Deer top spot in the Northern Division of the Heritage Junior Hockey League and in fact knocked them all the way down to third place — the Vipers pumped Ponoka 7-0 Tuesday at the Arena.

The Red Deer Vipers were angry with themselves but took it out on the Ponoka Stampeders.

Three nights after falling 3-1 to the visiting Stamps — a defeat that cost Red Deer top spot in the Northern Division of the Heritage Junior Hockey League and in fact knocked them all the way down to third place — the Vipers pumped Ponoka 7-0 Tuesday at the Arena.

Red Deer grabbed a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three divisional quarter-final and can close out the series tonight at Ponoka.

“We took a night off. They outplayed us in that game and kudos to them,” said Red Deer head coach JD Morrical, in reference to Saturday’s final regular-season contest loss that also cost his club a first-round playoff bye.

‘The boys were pretty mad with their effort in that game. They realized they did it to themselves. They knew what they had to do tonight and it turned out well.”

The Vipers led 3-0 after one period and then sniped two goals in the first six minutes of the middle frame to chase Stamps’ starting netminder Carter Gendreau, who was excellent in Saturday’s contest with a 36-save performance.

Gendreau made 17 saves before yanked and his replacement, Zeke Leuck, stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced the rest of the way, surrendering third-period power-play goals to Matt Krusky and Jon Finnigan. Colton Weseen, Declan Johnston and Finnigan each scored twice for the hosts.

Red Deer netminder Cole Sears turned aside 24 shots to earn the shutout.

While the Vipers would have preferred to sit out the first post-season round, Morrical found positives in the fact his club will have to play at least two additional games and won’t have home-ice advantage in the second round.

“That was a really good thing for us because we needed to play a different way,” he said. “Ponoka plays a different style and we needed to adjust.

“This was a good win for us. Ponoka has a good team and probably would have won a few more games this year if they had a few more bodies.”

Regardless, the Vipers were more than ready to exact some revenge Tuesday.

“They were ready to go,” said Morrical. “We had a full lineup again. We have a couple of defencemen suspended but one will be back tomorrow.”

A third game in the series, if necessary, will go Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Arena.

• The Blackfalds Wranglers got an overtime goal from Andrew McLennan Tuesday and defeated the visiting Three Hills Thrashers 4-3 in the first game of the other divisional quarter-final.

Brock Boguski, Robin Carlson and Curtis Rangen also scored for the Wranglers. Damien Chopek, Rylan Plante-Crough and Tyler Newsham replied for the Thrashers.

The second game is set for Friday at Three Hills.

Just Posted

Community ‘comes together’ at opening ceremonies

The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next… Continue reading

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

Plenty of Family Day fun lined up in local communities

Choices abound in Red Deer thanks to 2019 Canada Winter Games

Rural crooks using drones to target properties

Drone hovering over a property in Clearwater County was reported to RCMP

Blackfalds reviewing proposal to open its own registry office

Town administration expected to report back to council in two weeks

WATCH: Canada Games Hall of Honour inductees offer advice to athletes

The inductees were honoured at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer Thursday

Games athletes making themselves at home at RDC

Red Deer College’s campus will be home for the athletes during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

Welcome message from the mayor

On behalf of Red Deer city council, the City of Red Deer… Continue reading

Canada avoids world’s top players in opening round of Davis Cup

MADRID — Canada has avoided a confrontation with any of the current… Continue reading

Canada’s McKeever swaps skis for tuxedo, nominated for Laureus World Sport Award

CALGARY — From a glitzy awards ceremony in Monaco to the nordic… Continue reading

Scrutiny, family woes pile pressure on pregnant Meghan

LONDON — When Meghan Markle became engaged to Prince Harry, the American… Continue reading

It’s a girl! Berlin zoo’s baby polar bear has 1st checkup

Berlin’s Tierpark zoo says its latest baby polar bear is “a perky,… Continue reading

Local Sports: Kaitlan Linnell achieves hockey dream

Coming up through Red Deer minor hockey Kaitlan Linnell had a dream… Continue reading

Most Read