Hull Stingrays................................. 2 Newcastle Vipers ............................ 3 (after over-time) DEFENDER Kyle Sibley''s goal four minutes into overtime earned the Vipers their first away win of the season and instant revenge for Monday's home defeat at the hands of the Stingrays.
Netminder Charlie Effinger made 31 saves to keep his side in the game during the 60 minutes of regulation time and another two to make during overtime. The Vipers had been outplayed during the third period of the 4-7 home loss to the Stingrays and unfortunately, when last night's game started, Danny Stewart's team were up against it.
Two minutes of the game had passed when the puck was flying past Vipers' netminder Charlie Effinger and into his net, the black disk being hit by Andrew Coburn.
Referee Andy Carson decided that former NHL defenceman Drew Bannister had illegally hooked an opponent on six minutes giving the Vipers an early opportunity to get back on level terms but they wasted the powerplay. However, just over a minute after the failure, passing between Dean Holland and Patrik Forsbacka led to left-winger Dale Mahovsky netting his 16th goal of the season to make it 1-1. The Vipers wasted a second powerplay chance when Avars Gaisins became the second Stingray to be penalised for hooking and then had to kill a minor penalty and 50 seconds of another one to maintain the parity between the two teams at the first break. The Vipers then killed the remaining one minute and ten seconds of Jamie Carroll''s slashing penalty but were playing catch-up hockey again five minutes into the middle period.
Earlier Coburn had hit his tenth goal of the season earlier without any assistance. It was a different case second time around as the Vipers'' defence was opened up by Matt Davies and Konstantin Kalmikov before Coburn made the scoring contact. Awarded a third powerplay opportunity, the Vipers again couldn''t capitalise though their luck changed when defenceman Josef Sladok was serving a roughing minor.
Throughout the season so far Forsbacka has been a big threat while stationed in front of the crease during man advantages and the big Finn hit his seventh powerplay and 14th goal of the season to make the score 2-2 on the half hour.
Player coach Danny Stewart had blamed tired mistakes for his side''s third-period collapse at Whitley Bay and the question was, could the Vipers, who had gone into action without their hard-working captain, Paul Sample, remain competitive after the second break or would they falter again? The team had to work hard to kill the Stingray''s fourth powerplay of the game after defenceman Kyle Sibley was ordered of the ice for two minutes for illegal holding.
Nothing could separate the two sides at the end of the period and so the Vipers went into sudden death overtime for the third time this season.
PETER ADAMS STINGRAYS: Coburn 2+0, Davies and Kalmikov.
VIPERS: Forsbacka and Sibley 1+1, Mahovsky 1+0, Carroll 0+2, Holland 0+1.