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.