Matt Krusky of the Red Deer Vipers looks to get past the defence of North Peace Navigator Tyrell Boutin during Junior B Provincial action at the Red Deer Arena Thursday night.

Vipers blanked in opener

After being away from competition for a month it was expected the Red Deer Vipers would need to shake off some rust as they opened the provincial junior B hockey championships against the North Peace Navigators at the Arena Thursday.

Navigators 3 Vipers 0

After being away from competition for a month it was expected the Red Deer Vipers would need to shake off some rust as they opened the provincial junior B hockey championships against the North Peace Navigators at the Arena Thursday.

It took them a period before they found their skating legs and by then they trailed 2-0, which proved to be too much to overcome in a 3-0 loss before an excellent crowd.

“I found the first period we couldn’t get anything going offensively at all,” said Vipers head coach JD Morrical. “We couldn’t get our normal plays set up. We practised but it’s hard to simulate actual defencemen at this level.

“We did all we could before we knocked the rust off.”

Joseph Sylvain scored for the Navigators on a two-on-one at 10:22 of the first period and Lowen Lambert connected on a five-on-three power play at 15:21. The Navigators held an 18-7 edge in shots in the first period.

“We made one mistake and they scored on a five-on-three so I wasn’t too mad about the first period,” said Morrical.

But the Vipers looked like a different team in the second period as they picked up the pace and forced the play, outshooting North Peace 11-7. In fact without goaltender Riley Medves the Vipers would have been back in the game. Medves, a left-hander, was solid when called upon and made the biggest save of the game with a spectacular glove save off Tye Munro, who walked in all alone in the middle stanza.

“I thought we out chanced them in the second and third periods and once we got the puck in deep, using our dump in sets, and played our game we had lots of chances, but just didn’t bury them.”

Jamie Driedger put the game away with an empty net goal at 18:55 of the third period.

Both goalies were named the players of the game with Cole Sears finishing with 31 saves for Red Deer and Medves stopped 24.

Morrical said they knew very little about the Navigators, except they had one good line.

“We tried to match our checking line against them, but other than that we knew nothing. We watched warmup but really we didn’t even know which hand they shot with, or know how they play. We had to learn on the fly.”

Morrical knows a bit more about the Vipers opponent today as they face the North Edmonton Red Wings at 4 p.m. at the Arena.

“I saw them play three times and they also have one good line,” said Morrical. “But the thing is for us to get back playing our game. The boys do have a positive attitude and we know we need to win the next two games to get into the semifinals.”

The Vipers also face the Killam Wheat Kings Saturday at noon.

The Wheat Kings and Red Wings battled to a 4-4 tie Thursday while in the A pool the Calgary Royals-Gold edged the Wainwright Bisons 4-3 and the Wetaskiwin Icemen downed the Heritage Junior B Hockey League champion Mountainview Colts 8-5.

In other games today the Icemen face the Royals-Gold at 10 a.m., Killam takes on the Navigators at 1 p.m. and Wainwright meets the Colts at 7 p.m. All games are at the Arena.

On Saturday, the Navigators face North Edmonton at 9 a.m. at the Arena while at the Kinex Wainwright and Wetaskiwin meet at 9:30 a.m. and the Colts and Royals-Gold clash at 12:30 p.m.

The semifinals go at 8 p.m. with the bronze medal game at 10:30 a.m. Sunday and the final at 2 p.m. Both games are at the Arena.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at His work can also be seen at

Just Posted

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

McDavid, Draisaitl with three points each to lead Oiles over Flyers

Oilers 4, Flyers 1 EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had two goals and… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

RCMP offer tips for crime-free holiday ’Tis the season for joy and… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Councillors in Toronto, Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops… Continue reading

Most Read