Nottingham Vipers found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-4 score line in their opening game against the Kingston Diamonds on Sunday at the National Ice Centre. Vipers were pleased to hand debuts to Madison Wright and Laura Richmond, as well as welcoming back Jade Cito and Lucy Kendall.
Vipers still seemed to be showing signs of off season rust and a poor first period proved to be the difference, as Kingston converted 3 goals in a disastrous 5 minutes. Vipers did manage to pull one back towards the end of the period as Megan Rathbone converted for her first of the season.
This was a sign of things to come, as Vipers piled on the pressure in the second period outshooting the visitors 20 shots to 5. The pressure told and the Vipers were able to finish two well worked Powerplays, with Megan Rathbone finding her second and debutant Madison Wright firing home for her first goal for the Vipers, which set up a tied game for the third period.
Vipers started the third period slowly, and two Kingston goals in the first two minutes of the third period buoyed the visitors, but Vipers weren’t done yet as Madison Wright grabbed her second of the night with eight minutes remaining to set up a tense finish to the game. Vipers continued to push, but were unable to find that equaliser even with netminder Summer Cramer pulled for the extra skater, and the score line remained unchanged until the final buzzer.
Vipers will perhaps feel that this was a missed opportunity with several good chances spurned, but will have the chance to bounce back on the 15th October when they face Widnes away.
Megan Rathbone 2+2
Emma Wilkinson 0+1
Madison Wright 2+0
Jade Cito 0+2
Philippa Wheeler 0+1
Megan Rathbone – 2 minutes body checking
Bench Minor – too many men
Summer Cramer 31 shots (12,5,14), 5 goals, 83.87 SV%
Shots on goal