Kensington Vipers begin title defence today

Jason Simmonds
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Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers

The Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers will see a familiar foe today in the opening game of the Don Johnson Memorial Cup Eastern Canadian Junior B Championship.

The Vipers meet the Sackville Blazers at noon in Port Hawkesbury, N.S. Kensington won last year’s final game 4-3.

“The key for us is to secure a playoff position, and after that let the chips fall where they may,” said Vipers head coach Wade Waddell. “We are going over with the intention of winning, there is no question about that.”

The host Strait Pirates, Fredericton Caps, Roebothan, McKay and Marshall Avalon Junior Capitals from Newfoundland and the first-ever entry from Ontario, the Casselman Vikings, round out the field.

The Vikings are the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League champs.

“The keys to winning don’t change from year to year,” said Waddell. “Going over to a short tournament like this you have to be disciplined.

The Vipers squad plays the Vikings on Wednesday at 4 p.m., the Pirates on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and the Caps on Friday at 4 p.m. The semifinals are Saturday at 3 and 7:30 p.m. with the final set for Sunday at 2 p.m. 

One advantage the Vipers, who take an 8-0 post-season record into the Don Johnson Memorial Cup, may have over a lot of the teams is experience.

“Last year, just sitting around the stands, the people who ran the committee were saying the Brett Hogan line with Spencer Montgomery and Adam Wight was probably the top line they had seen the last two or three years,” said Waddell. “That line remains intact.

“Grant Grady got the top goaltender (award) last year, and he’s back.

“We are a very veteran team, most of our defence is back. We lost a few key guys from last year like (defenceman) Michael Ramsay, but with winning Don Johnsons and Island titles there are always veterans who have been down the road before.”

Waddell expects Grady and Dylan McQuaid, who rotated games throughout the playoffs, to both see action during the round robin.

“I don’t see us giving one guy the ball because it’s too much in my opinion,” offered Waddell. “It would be different if we didn’t have two quality goaltenders, but we are very fortunate.

“At the end of the playoffs this year, I could have thrown a dart at either one of them and it would have been the right decision. We are happy with our goaltending.

“I see both of them starting (games in) the tournament, and as we get into games if somebody has elevated their game above and beyond they will probably go.”

More information at ECJBC.ca and webcasts of all games are online at http://live.streamit.ca/?player=92.

Organizations: Vikings

Geographic location: Ontario, Port Hawkesbury, Newfoundland

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