Nottingham Vipers produced one of the their best periods of hockey this season in the opening stages of this game, twice taking the lead against an established Kingston Diamonds side, but were eventually outwitted as the game progressed.
They outshot their opponents 16-7 in P1, but were twice undone by Beth Scoon’s point work, which left the game finely balanced at 2-2 after 20 minutes.
Lizzie Saunders opened her Vipers goal account at 3’. Her backhand shot sat tantalizing loose at the top of the crease and when both Robin Mullen and Hannah Worthington could only get the faintest of touches under pressure, Saunders steamed in to finish things off.
Five minutes later Nottingham were undone when Shannon Jones pounced on a rebound from a big point shot from Beth Scoon, as the Diamonds put their own traffic and pressure around Holly Steeples net.
But just a couple of minutes after that, Hannah Ware was rewarded for putting the puck on the net, when she saw her speculative, top of the circle shot, creep through numerous players and nestle in the back of the net for 2-1. Also her first goal as a Viper.
Period 2 belonged fully to the Diamonds as they used their experience to prevent Nottingham from getting shots in the danger areas and took full advantage of a power play opportunity at 26’ when Hannah Ware was adjudged to have been a little too rough in defending her goal area.
Once again, Beth Scoon was able to flick in from the point, this time for CJ Ashton to deftly tip the puck to Holly Cornford, who backhanded from in front of the net for a deserved 2-3 score line.
Although P3 was a more even affair, Vipers could not find the fluid movement of P1, with Kingston again restricting their efforts well and generating plenty of offence themselves.
The only goal was a Diamond one and it came from a mistake whilst Vipers were pressurizing their opposition. Anja Kadijevic gratefully stripped the puck to create a turnover near her own blue line and raced away to finish the breakaway comfortably.
Final score 4-2 in favour of Kingston.
After four games, Vipers certainly do not look out of place in the Elite League.
Whilst they are consistently making things hard for their opposition, the real test of finding a way to get points from a game is still a work-in-progress!
Lizzie Saunders 1+0
Hannah Ware 1+0
Clare Jones 0+1
Hannah Worthington 0+1
Vipers SOG 31
Diamonds SOG 31
Vipers PIM 4
Diamonds PIM 10
Holly Steeples: 31 shots (87.1% SVS)
Nottingham Player of Game: Reagan Downing