Story courtesy of the Journal Pioneer
The Vipers posted a convincing 3-0 road victory over the Arsenault's Fish Mart Western Red Wings on Wednesday night to sweep the best-of-seven Mark's Work Wearhouse Island Junior Hockey League final series.
"I don't like to speak in clichés, but we saved our best hockey for the last," said Vipers head coach Wade Waddell. "I donít think we saw this kind of effort from this team (all season). They played above and beyond from what I expected."
The Vipers, who have now won three straight and seven provincial championships in the last nine years, will defend the Don Johnson Cup Atlantic junior B hockey championship they won in Montague last year in St. John's, N.L., from April 17 to 22.
"It's pretty awesome," said Waddell, reflecting on the team's success. "It's hard to fathom. The thing is we have had huge turnovers (in players) every year, and you always wonder what your team is going to be like.
"It really speaks volumes for the minor hockey system we have in K'Town. We have players who come in from elsewhere, but you have your Kyle Doucettes, Logan Garnhums, Mike Ramsays, Drew Coulsons, Mitch Gallants, Spencer Montgomerys and Jeremy Jollimores to name a few (local products). If you go through our lineup, we are 80-per-cent local."
Red Wings head coach D'Arcy Hutchinson called this year a big learning experience for his young team. That included a seven-game semifinal series win over the Sherwood A&S Scrap Metal Falcons.
"We learned a lot as a group, and we grew a lot as a group this year," said Hutchinson. "We were up against a deep, deep, deep team, Kensington.
"My hat is off to them. They played a solid, solid game. They did all the little things right, and I'm sure if they take that game to Newfoundland they will represent P.E.I. well."
Before 650 fans at the Evangeline Recreation Centre, the Vipers opened the scoring on a goal by Brett Hogan 58 seconds into the game.
That was all the offence required for Vipers goaltender Travis Willis, who was named the most valuable player of the playoffs. Willis recorded an 18-save shutout to lower his goals-against average in the final series to 1.00. He allowed four goals on 92 shots in the four games, finished the playoffs with an 8-1 (won-lost) record and a microscopic 1.78 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.
"It was a great effort by everyone out there," said Willis. "We took it to them right off the start, and never let up."
Doucette gave the Vipers a 2-0 lead at 1:59 of the second period. Affiliated player Isaac Jay made it 3-0 at 12:33 of the middle frame.
"Our guys all series long have always been able to get that first bounce," said Waddell. "In this one, we got it quick on the first shift of the game. That was big for us right off the bat. The first two periods especially, I don't remember a quality scoring chance against."
Montgomery, Jollimore, Coulson, Adam Wight and Colin Webster drew assists.
Referee Tim Hamel called eight of 11 minor penalties against the Red Wings, who also picked up one game misconduct, one gross misconduct and one match penalty for abuse of an official.