Colts 4 Vipers 2
The Red Deer Vipers could have used a little more sting in their attack.
The Vipers were somewhat lacking in work ethic and also displayed a shortage of discipline while falling 4-2 to the Mountainview Colts in a Heritage Junior B Hockey League playoff contest Wednesday night at the Arena.
The home team was assessed 13 of 21 minor penalties and watched the underdog visitors strike for three power-play goals en route to grabbing a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven North Division semifinal.
The series continues Friday at Didsbury and Game 5 is Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Arena.
“Penalties have hurt us and we don’t have the same compete level that they (Colts) have. They’re outworking us,” said Red Deer head coach Peter DeGraaf.
The Vipers got a first-period goal from Chris Robertson, but Evan Thompson replied for the Colts early in the second period and Kevin Vanderhoven gave the visitors a 2-1 lead just two minutes later.
Robertson potted his second of the game a mere 14 seconds later to pull the Vipers even and the game remained deadlocked until Thompson notched a power-play marker midway through the period.
He then sealed the deal with his third of the evening — into an empty net — with 10 seconds remaining.
Colts netminder Ethan Jemieff made 41 saves, while Jason Pohl stopped 37 shots for the Vipers.
The Vipers finished 14 points ahead of the Colts in the regular season. Red Deer placed first in the North; the Colts finished fifth before taking out Airdrie in a best-of-three elimination series.
“What we did in the regular season doesn’t mean anything right now,” said DeGraaf.
The Vipers bench boss suspects that Wednesday’s loss will serve as a wake-up call to his team.
“I think the guys are ready to respond. A little score like this might get them to bring the same compete level the other team has,” said DeGraaf.
“It’s just a matter of maintaining our composure in difficult situations and outworking our opponents.”