The Augustana Vikings raised the 2012 Men’s Hockey Championship banner last night prior to their home opener in true Augustana style, setting a new standard for all future ACAC banner raisings.
In the company of a Camrose Fire Department Honour Guard, uniformed members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, uniformed members of the Camrose Police Services and nearly 500 Vikings fans the Camrose community was in full support of this historic moment in the hockey history of our fair community.
The Fire Department Honour Guard welcomed each member of the 2012-2013 Vikings Men’s Hockey team to kick off the evening’s festivities. The Dean of the University of Alberta—Augustana Dr. Allen Berger was accompanied by the General Manger of the ACAC Dr. Robert Day and two uniformed members of the RCMP carrying the Bill Henry Junior Memorial Trophy and presented it to Captain Dan Hope. The Camrose Police Services who have strong ties to the Vikings Hockey program were selected to do the official raising of the banner, up to its final resting place hanging from the rafters at Encana Arena. The ceremony was concluded with a beautiful rendition of O’Canada performed by members of the Augustana Choir.
The ceremony seemed to ignite a passion to defend the cup in the home town Vikings as they got off to a quick start towards making that dream a reality with 5 first period goals coming from Quinn Amiel on the powerplay (7:40), Craig Cornelsen (10:25), Adam Johnson (12:40), Kenny Bradley (14:07) and Dan Hope with the last goal of the period coming just 7 seconds later (14:14).
“The opening ceremonies were a real special way to kick off our season. It was extremely inspirational and gave our team a great boost for the first period. It was also incredibly meaningful to have the involvement of our community represented by the Camrose Police Services, the RCMP and the Camrose Fire Department,” said Head Coach Blaine Gusdal.
Portage did manage to answer once in the first period with a goal from Jory Geddes from Taylor Epp and assistant captain Jeff Maronese. The second period opened with the Vikings offense continuing to fire on all cylinders with Portage spending the first six minutes of the period trapped in their own end, and once again giving up two goals. Dean Prpick and Dan Hope found the net twice in less than a minute with the first goal coming on the impressive Vikings powerplay. Portage managed to throw the Vikings off their game plan slightly in the second and managed to net a shorthanded goal unassisted from Jeff Maronese.
The Vikings pride themselves on their balanced offense that they have been able to carry forward from their pre-season into last night’s season-opener. 6 of the 7 goals came from different Vikings showing the well balanced offense of the Augustana Vikings this season.
“We feel that balance is a real strong component of our team this year,” said Gusdal. “All through exhibition we were getting balanced production from all four lines and the defense and it continued into game one as we start this long march towards defending the cup.”
The Vikings will face off against the Portage Voyageurs again Saturday night in the Bold Centre for the Voyageurs home opener.