Jason Gallant scored twice in a span of three minutes and seven seconds midway through the second period to lead the Western Red Wings to a 7-1 Island Junior Hockey League win over the Kensington Vipers Tuesday. The Boxing Day contest was played before a large crowd at the Evangeline Rec Centre.
The Vipers scored off the opening faceoff but that was the only blemish in Bronson Banks’ 32-save performance.
Despite outshooting the Vipers 17-5 in the opening period, the Red Wings were held to just one goal as Chasse Gallant (1,1) tied the game with 33 seconds remaining.
The Red Wings put the game away with five unanswered second period goals.
Vipers starting goaltender Cameron Vessey faced 32 shots through two periods while Caelen Ferguson allowed one Red Wings goal on 11 third period shots.
Gallant admitted the Vipers’ opening game took the Red Wings by surprise. “I think that changed it up,” he said in praising his team’s response. It was a whole team effort he stressed.
“It’s not one star; it’s a bunch of hard workers.”
Coach Nathan DesRoches suggested the Christmas turkey overload might have hurt his team at the start but he was proud with how his team answered back.
After a relatively quiet first period, the game became increasingly chippy as the contest progressed.
The Red Wings drew 14 of the game’s 26 minors. Each team was assessed a fighting major, a game misconduct and five 10-minute misconducts.
Riley Gallant had the Vipers’ lone goal with Campbell Gallant and Kyle Pinksen drawing assists.
Also scoring for the Red Wings were Chasse Gallant (1,1), Cole Hackett (1,1), Dawson Sellick (1,1), Connor Morrissey (1,1) ad Diego LeClair. Drawing assists were Isaac Knox, Spencer Groome, Curklan Fraser, Abel Arsenault, Silas Handrahan and Lucas Beaulieu.
Richard, Gallant acknowledged
Karen Gallant, president of the Evangeline Recreation Commission didn’t have to do a whole lot of scheming to make sure two volunteers would be at the arena on Boxing Day for a surprise presentation of volunteer appreciation awards.
The presentations were made just prior to the Western Red Wings Island Junior Hockey League home game against the Kensington Vipers, and one of the recipients was team manager, JC Gallant.
The other recipient was Louis Richard who, having logged more than 3,500 days of helping out at the arena, it was a safe beet he’d be there, too, selling 50-50 tickets and helping out during the game.
“It’s my passion; that’s what I love,” Richard said in explaining his deep connection to the Evangeline Rec Centre and to hockey. He has enjoyed the gam as a player, coach, official and in various volunteer capacities.
“I love hockey and I love to be around,” he said.
“He’s a great overall volunteer. Louis will do anything, in any element that we ask him, and he’s got so much corporate knowledge: the history, the good vision of where things were, where things need to be as we progress with the rink,” said the commission’s president.
JC Gallant has been manager of the Red Wings for six years, taking over when the team moved out of Tyne Valley. He represents the team on the Recreation Commission and at Hockey P.E.I. meetings.
The Red Wings played their first season in Slemon Park while waiting for the new rec centre to be completed.
“We built a good program here,” Gallant assessed. “It’s a beautiful facility and I take pride in the rink, too.” He’s been on the commission for about 15 years.