Four line Vipers opened the scoring after just 30 seconds against MK Falcons, but failed to find the back of the net again as they picked up another point in a 1-1 tie.
Robin Mullen took her goal tally to three for the season as she converted on a pass from Jess Urquhart within the first minute, but despite throwing 22 shots on goal MK netminder Kayleigh Doyle was in no mood to give up any more goals. MK tied the game at 7:28 with a smart finish from top scorer Rachel Piotrowski, and the score remained tied at the end of the first period despite Nottingham throwing everything at the Falcons.
Period two continued in much the same vein as Vipers threw everything at MK, and could again be accused of squandering chances, outshooting the Falcons by 19 shots to 13.
More of the same was to follow in the third as Nottingham had 18 shots to MKs 6, but were unable to find that all important breakthrough goal, and the game finished tied at 1-1.
Loads of positives to take from the game including a strong defensive display, and generating some excellent scoring chances – as the early season rust gets shaken off these chances will hopefully result in goals and the team will be picking up wins rather than ties.
Robin Mullen 1+0
Jess Urquhart 0+1
Shots on goal: 59
Holly Steeples: 30 shots, 96.67 Sv%
Vipers first game of the season saw them travel the short distance to Hull to face-off against Kingston Diamonds. A lot of new faces meant there was bound to be a lack of cohesion, but Nottingham started the game brightly, regularly testing Kingston netminder Charlotte Cook who was in fine form. Vipers were rewarded at 9:07 when a speculative shot from Robin Mullen made its way through (credited to Madison Wright but certainly scored by Robin!). Vipers continued to apply the pressure but couldn’t find that all important second goal, until a great outlet pass from Sasha Cater setup Robin Mullen on a breakaway which she reliably dispatched at 25:00.
Kingston pulled back a well worked goal courtesy of Sophie Campbell at 32:19 that Netminder Summer Cramer could do nothing about with the double screen in front, and the second period closed out at 2-1 in favour of Nottingham.
Vipers looked to kill the game off in the third, outshooting Kingston by 11 shots to 3 but just couldn’t find that all important cushion – and then as often happens in these situations Nottingham made a mistake in their zone which CJ Ashton duly dispatched to tie the game at 51:28. Vipers continued to push for the game winning goal but were left frustrated at having to settle for a point – however the positive signs were there to see and with a few weeks of team training, hopefully that sharpness in front of net will be discovered and ties will become wins.
Vipers had three debutants tonight – Renáta Mudráková, Kelly Daniels and Beatrice Lester who all performed superbly, welcome to Vipers!
MOM – Jessica Urquhart
Robin Mullen 2+0
Canadian Robin Mullen joins the Vipers for the 2018-19 campaign.
Following a two year break with injury, Robin is eager to get back on the ice. In her last season with the Vipers she scored an impressive 23 goals in 11 games with a combined points total of 29, the highest in the league for that season.
Robin is key player both on and off the ice. Her hard work and commitment to the team will provide the Vipers with some strong leadership for the 2018-19 campaign.
We’re excited to see Robin back on the ice for the 2018-19 campaign.
The Nottingham Vipers coaching staff are pleased to announce their first signing of the 2018-19 campaign, Eva Harrison.
Eva returns to the Vipers for her second season following a successful fist year developing and integrating herself into the team. Her enthusiasm on and off the ice is second to none. She finished the 2017-18 season on a high with a strong performance at the BWIHFT at Swindon.
“Eva brings 100% every game. You can always rely on her to turn up for every practice and game with a great attitude, and know that she will do whatever she can to help the team.”
Nottingham Vipers U16s faced off against Sheffield Shadows U16s in their third ever game, and last one of 2017. Having lost 18-2 three weeks earlier, Vipers would certainly be up against it today but were boosted by the return of Captain Madison Wright.
Vipers again started slowly, allowing Sheffield captain Grace Garbett to score quickly off the opening faceoff. Vipers were in no mood to collapse again and quickly tied the game up following some excellent solo play by Chamonix Jackson. Sheffield showed just how dangerous they could be in front of goal, quickly taking the lead again at 3:04, and going onto score 3 more goals in as many minutes to end the first period on the front foot at 5-1.
Tactical changes in the period break saw the Vipers U16s come alive. Alternate captain Chamonix Jackson netted two more goals at 22:58 and 25:05, including a shorthanded goal whilst Vipers served a body checking penalty. Excellent netminding from Jemma Dilley kept Sheffield at bay as the momentum swung in Nottingham’s favour, resulting in period 2 ending 5-3
Sheffield gave themselves some breathing room at the start of the third period, scoring at 31:49. Nottingham weren’t done yet and scored two goals in 10 seconds at 32:23 and 32:33 to bring the score within one and put the pressure back on Sheffield, who got the breakthrough they were looking for at 38:17 to re-establish their two goal lead, and thought they’d sealed the game at 41:17 when they scored again to take the score to 8-5. Vipers were in no mood to give up on this game just yet, scoring two goals in 12 seconds at 44:32 and 44:44 to set up a tense finish to the game. The Vipers coaching team called a timeout, but with only 16 seconds left Sheffield were able to hold on to take the 8-7 win.
Despite the loss, the team were pleased with the improvements they showed and are looking forward to testing themselves against Kingston Diamonds on the 27thJanuary.
Sunday saw the vipers face off against Chelmsford Cobras in the battle of the snakes at the NIC. Nottingham were hoping to build on their win against Widnes, but found themselves short benched against an undefeated Cobras.
Chelmsford scored 5 unanswered goals throughout the first two periods as Nottingham just failed to get their game going. Chelmsford did a good job of limiting Nottingham’s chances to just 12 shots, but when the scoring chances did come they were missed again. Frustrations built for the vipers as they failed to capitalise, resulting in top scorer Megan Rathbone being ejected for fighting in the 31st minute. Vipers poor discipline continued to hamper their play as a string of minor penalties followed in the third period, but the game was already out of reach for Nottingham at this point and all Chelmsford had to do was sit back and wait for the final buzzer.
Megan Rathbone – Tripping (minor), fighting (match)
Lucy Kendall – Boarding (minor), body checking (minor), body checking (minor)
Summer Cramer 54 shots (20,11,23), 5 goals, 90.74 SV%
Shots on goal
The Nottingham Vipers travelled to Cheshire for their first away game of the 17/8 season and emerged victorious against the Widnes Wild with a hard fought victory, returning to Nottingham with a 5-3 score line. Vipers were without several key players, and coupled with an in-game injury to Amy Robinson meant that they were pushed to the limit against the superior bench size of Widnes, but each player dug in deep to give Nottingham the victory they deserved.
Vipers started the first period strongly in all three zones, outplaying their opposition and outshooting them 19 shots to 10. As the scoring chances came, so did the goals with Megan Rathbone putting her first of the game away at 8:34. More was to come just over a minute later at 9:52, when Vipers youngster Madison Wright continued her stella start to the season with a well worked goal. Vipers quickly saw their lead cut at 10:38 when their defensive coverage broke down enabling Widnes to score through traffic. This only spurred on the team as they continued to ask questions of the Widnes goalie, with Megan Rathbone again being rewarded for her prowess around net at 16:11. This third goal saw rookie Laura Richmond pick up her first point of the 2017-18 campaign, which was no less than she deserved with her 100% commitment to the Vipers cause.
During the second period Nottingham decided to push the self-destruct button. Perhaps the short bench and slow ice took their toll, combined with Widnes upping their game which left Nottingham at times found wanting. Mistakes and lacklustre play saw Widnes pull to within one, and they soon had the game tied up at 34:30 with a shorthanded goal following a netminder error. The tie was broken less than a minute later with Megan Rathbone completing her hatrick at 35:19 with a well worked play.
An ice cut for the third period gave the Vipers weary legs the jump they needed. Megan Rathbone quickly restored the two goal lead at 41:25, and the whole team then turned in a complete performance to keep Widnes at bay. Netminder Summer Crammer was excellent when called upon, making several key stops to frustrate Widnes, and the period wound down without further scoring to give Nottingham a well-earned two points.
Vipers outshot their opponents 53 shots to 47, and like the last game could be accused of failing to put their chances away when they came to put the game out of sight. Spirit of the game went to Becky Towsey for her excellent positional play and work ethic, as she continually helped break down the Widnes attack. Up next weekend for the Vipers is a fierce test in top of the table Chelmsford, which is sure to be another end to end game:
Megan Rathbone 4+0
Madison Wright 1+1
Olivia Bennett 0+1
Laura Richmond 0+1
Emma Wilkinson 0+2
Madison Wright – 2 minutes interference
Bench Minor – too many players
Summer Cramer 47 shots (10,21,16), 3 goals, 93.62 SV%
Shots on goal