NEWCASTLE Vipers are off the bottom of the Elite League after a stunning double weekend success.
Boosted by Saturday’s 10-2 rout of depleted Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday, Vipers defied Coventry Blaze’s dominance – outshot 59-22 – to sensationally squeeze home 5-4 in the Midlands last night.
Troubled Capitals were down to four imports as two walked out on the club before the start, and had netminder Scott Reid sent off after a second-period fight, and Vipers capitalised to move within two points of a top-eight play-off slot.
Jaroslaw Rzeszutko netted a fine hat-trick to inspire Vipers, including a pair of first-period powerplay strikes, while Toms Hartmanis, Mike Prpich, Dale Mahovsky, player-coach Danny Stewart, Jamie Tinsley, Dean Holland and Sam Zajac, who grabbed his first goal for the club from just inside the blueline with eight seconds left.
Last night, Vipers were 2-0 up after the first period, 5-1 by the end of the second and held on despite conceding three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes.
Patrik Forsbacka stole the show with a tremendous hat-trick, all on the powerplay, with Tinsley and Prpich also on target.
Coach Stewart, whose side survived the shock departure of Mahovsky yesterday morning, hailed his side’s desire: “It was an unreal peformance from the guys. We continue to have adversity thrown our way but we continue to battle through.”