The visit of Bracknell Firebees to the National Ice Centre brought a visitor whose league position does not in any way reflect the danger that the team possesses.
The Vipers expected an extremely close game and that is exactly what followed.
An end-to-end start saw the teams trading goals at a rate of knots, resulting in a 4-3 Vipers lead with only 14 minutes on the clock.
Bracknell goals from Marguerite Laffitte, Madalaine Remmington and Karen Tulley were matched off and then bettered through two efforts from Robin Mullen, one from Jessica Urquhart and a first goal of the season for Lucy Kendall.
A power play goal from Madison Wright just before the break gave Vipers a 5-3 lead for Period 1, but the direction of Period 2 would be anybody’s guess!
Megan Rathbone’s second goal of the season and Jessica Urquharts’ second of the game, came either side of a Claire Fay’s effort for Bracknell and provided some welcome breathing space at 7-4.
Such is the worry when any Bracknell team arrives to play you that there was no feeling of comfort whatsoever!
Just 20 seconds later Lucy Beal brought the Firebees back to 7-5.
A short-handed Robin Mullen strike for 8-5 proved critical in keeping a gap to protect against the constant threat of Marguerite Laffitte and the marauding raids of Lucy Beal – a problem all evening for the home side.
Goal number two for Lucy Kendall saw Vipers take a 4-goal spread (9-5) and surely some safety?
Safety that was until the 57th minute when it took Laffitte just 7 seconds to add two further goals and bring a nervous finale with the score finely poised at 9-7.
The Vipers suddenly found a defensive gear and held out when it counted. With seconds to go Madison Wright cleared into space and Robin Mullen latched on to the puck and made certain of the game.
Not a match that will be remembered for its defensive plays….but Vipers happy and relieved to win the ‘Shootout at the OK Corral’.
Final score: Vipers 10; Firebees 7
Robin Mullen 4+1
Madison Wright 1+3
Jessica Urquhart 2+1
Megan Rathbone 1+2
Lucy Kendall 2+0
Emma Wilkinson 0+2
Eva Harrison 0+1
Renata Mudrakova 0+1
Shots on Goal 51
Shots on Holly Steeples 47 SV%: 85.1%