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07 AAA: News

07A Vipers win 2nd Annual Ice Fest Tournament in Exeter, NH

Sunday, January 17, 2016, 8:51PM

Over the MLK Holiday Weekend, the '07A Vipers played in their first tournament as a team. They traveled to snowy NH to play a weekend set against the East Coast Wizards, the Seacoast Spartans and Top Gun in the 2d Annual Granite State Ice Fest held at The Rinks at Exeter facility in Exeter, NH.

 
The weekend started with an early morning start against the East Coast Wizards. One of the team's only 3 losses of the season came at the hands of the East Coast Wizards early in the year.  Having played the Wizards twice and scrimmaged against them in 2 Turbo+ games (fast-moving, fun-filled, music-blaring 4-on-4 games at Holland), the team knew what to expect--a well-coached team of fast skaters, tenacious forecheckers and relentless backcheckers--from their friends the Wizards.  And that's what they got--but its also what they gave! The team came out flying, playing great positional and disciplined hockey resulting in a convincing 3-0 win. The Wizards offense kept coming, but great defense, solid backchecking and, above all, phenomenal goal-tending kept the threat at bay.
 
Following the Wizards game, the team had a 3 hour layover that was filled with team bonding over pizza and bowling.  Definitely a great time for everyone and a great opportunity for the players to become closer to their teammates.
 
The team returned to the rink to meet a new opponent from the BHL, the Seacoast Spartans.  The team came out a bit flat and fell victim to a number of power play goals (two on 5-on-3 situations) by the Spartans to fall to a 5-2 deficit entering the third--those five goals are the most that any team has scored on the '07A Vipers all season.  It was not looking good, but, to a player, the team regained its composure, committed to winning races to the puck, no more penalties, no more giveaways, no more goals against and backchecking.  With impressive passing, speed and positional play, the team stunned the Spartans and battled back to a 5-5 tie at the end of regulation!  Not having been in such a deficit position all season, the team proved to itself that it had the ability and the character to come from behind!  Notwithstanding the team did not ultimately win, the emotion of the moment filled them with excitement and pride in their accomplishment.  It was a sight to see and experience!
 
After having Sunday morning to sleep in, the 07 Vipers came to the rink with the top seed in the tournament. Building on the commitments made in the comeback against the Spartans, the team played Top Gun in dominating fashion.  Crisp passing, heads up play and great backchecking proved too much forTop Gun to handle and guided the team to an 8-1 win. With the Wizards having defeated Top Gun the day before (with their friends, the 07 Vipers, in the stands chanting "LET'S GO WIZARDS") and the Spartans earlier in the day, the Championship game was set between two well-matched teams who have come to respect one another and to expect a hard-played game from each.  The teams and the fans were not disappointed.
 
As has become custom between these two teams, the players wished each other "good luck" before entering their respective locker rooms in a tremendous display of sportsmanship. While respected friends, there's no mercy on the ice for either team.  Both teams came out hard, playing fast and disciplined two-way hockey. With a renewed commitment to the system and trust in their teammates, together with the exceptional goaltending they have come to expect, the 07 Vipers entered the final minutes of the game with a 3-1 lead.  The Wizards made it interesting with a goal with 45 seconds to go, having pulled their goalie and added the extra attacker.  The Wizards did not give up.  They pushed their way into the offensive zone as the clock wound down, but disciplined defensive positioning and a timely save sealed the deal for the 07 Vipers!!  Champions in their first tournament!!
 
The game was capped by a medal ceremony in which the team respected and congratulated its opponents and friends, the Wizards, in a manner that befits the values of the Viper organization.  A great weekend for the 07 Vipers and the Viper organization!!