IN a game decided by an early goal, the Vipers will rue their nine missed powerplay opportunities which included just two five-on-three spells during the first period.
As early as the third minute the Vipers were operating a powerplay when Ryan Lake was ordered off the ice to sit out two minutes for tripping, but their failure to capitalise on the skater advantage was to set the theme for the rest of the game.
Two minutes after the powerplay had finished and Lake had returned to the ice what turned out to be the decisive moment of the game occurred, Lee Mitchell sending the puck into the net after approach play from Jason Silverthorn and Jerome Tendler on six minutes.
Referee Andy Carson then sent four Stingrays to the home penalty box in quick succession, the three latter penalties overlapping giving the Vipers two five-on-three powerplay chances of 34 and 23 seconds respectively.
After the Vipers had killed two middle-period penalties that merged, they went on the powerplay for a seventh time and then fired blanks when operating a further two single skater advantages in the final period. The defeat was the Vipers’ 38th of the season and second of the weekend following Saturday’s 7-3 home reverse against the Cardiff Devils.
It was also the eighth time this season that the team has been shut out by their opponents.
Elsewhere, Whitley Warriors gave the Flyers plenty to think about ahead of next weekend’s Northern League play-off finals. A 4-2 victory gave them victory over the league champions for the second consecutive Sunday at Hillheads last night.
STINGRAYS: Mithcell 1+0, Silverthorm and Tendler 0+1.
VIPERS: Rzeszutko 2+1, Prpich 1+1, Sibley 0+2, Holland and Stewart 0+1.
Devils: Voth 2+2, Birbraer 2+0, Hill and Pelle 1+1, MacRae 1+0, Finnerty and Michel 0+2, Symonds and Weller 0+1.