Giant task too big for Vipers to overcome

ON their last visit to the Odyssey Arena the Vipers had achieved an against-all-odds 3-2 win but recent history was never going to be repeated.

ON their last visit to the Odyssey Arena the Vipers had achieved an against-all-odds 3-2 win but recent history was never going to be repeated.

Able to ice only 10 skaters, the Vipers managed to keep the Giants at bay until the 15th minute when Brett Hemingway put the home side ahead, and from then on it was all downhill.

Vipers’ captain Paul Sample was just settling into the away penalty box when Simon Lambert capitalised on the powerplay to double the Giants’ lead on 21 minutes.

It was to be the first of three middle period goals that set the Vipers firmly on course for their 31st loss of the season and second of the weekend, following Saturday night’s hard-fought 3-2 home reverse against the Dundee Stars.

Under six minutes later Colin Hemingway struck the home side’s third goal and it became 4-0 on 38 minutes when ex-Viper Colin Shields sent the puck beyond netminder Charlie Effinger’s reach.

In two periods of play Effinger had made 41 saves to keep the score down while at the other end, Stephen Murphy had very little to do. In the first period Murphy made three saves and in the second he had to deal with only one goalbound effort.

Early in the final period the Vipers couldn’t breach the Giants’ defence, while operating their second powerplay of the game and less than two minutes after this failure, they found themselves having to defend against a third powerplay, when forward Dean Holland was penalised for slashing.

Thirty eight seconds into the powerplay Effinger was sweeping the puck out from the back of his net for a fifth time after it had been placed there by Josh Prudden.

Eight minutes into the period Effinger’s night was over and he was replaced by back up Liam McAllister who was beaten for the first time just six seconds after taking up position in front of goal, Michael Jacobsen scoring the Giant’s sixth goal.

It became 7-0 on 54 minutes when Prudden struck the Giant’s third powerplay goal of the game and the Vipers averted the shut out just under two minutes later. Thrown out in the game against the Stars, MIke Prpich hit home his 12th goal and 32nd point from 21 games.

The Giants hadn’t finish scoring though and on 57 minutes Mark Garside netted goal number eight.

On Saturday night, the Vipers’ ambition of catching and then replacing the Stars in the eighth and last play-off place were knocked back when Jay Latulippe hit a late, 54th-minute winner.

The result meant the points difference between the two teams grew to five, with the Vipers having a game in hand. In a chippy contest that saw referee Moray Hanson throw out three players and award 130 penalty minutes, the Vipers had led 1-0 and then 2-1 going into the final period.

Jaroslav Rzeszutko put the Vipers ahead four minutes before AJ MacLean equalised. Sample then put the Vipers back in front, but Lauri Kinos on 49 minutes hit home the Stars’ second leveller before Lutulippe’s winner.


GIANTS: Prudden 2+1, B. Jacobsen 1+3, Garside, B. Hemingway, C. Hemingway and Lambert 1+1, Shields 1+0, Benedict 0+4, Gleed 0+2, Walton and Welch 0+1.

VIPERS: Prpich 1+0, Hartmanis and Sibley 0+1.


VIPERS: Rzeszutko and Sample 1+0.

STARS: Kinos, Latulippe and MacLean 1+1, Ceman and Zorb 0+1.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer