From the LsSalle Vipers’ website: (Blake Jones photo credit: Kelsey Vermeersch/LaSalleVipers.com)

The LaSalle Vipers have welcomed back two players fans will be familiar with, Blake Jones and Liam MacDougall, general manager Bill Bowler announced today.

Jones, 19, played two years in LaSalle before joining the Georgetown Raiders of the OJHL last season. He has recorded 48 points in 85 career regular season games for the Vipers.

“Blake’s a real smart hockey player, a veteran guy now who two years ago had an excellent playoffs for us,” Bowler says. “We’re hoping Blake can provide some leadership and timely goals.”

In his first game back with LaSalle, Jones scored the double overtime winner Sept. 2 to give the Vipers a 4-3 preseason victory over the Leamington Flyers.

“It was a good feeling,” Jones says of scoring the game-winner. “A big win by the boys after being down 2-0 going into the third period. It was a good character win by the group.”

“I think I’m coming into a big role as a leader on and off the ice,” he added.

MacDougall, 17, led the Lakeshore Canadiens in scoring as a rookie a season ago, posting 45 points in 40 games.

He followed his impressive Jr. C season with a strong showing as an Affiliated Player during the Vipers Sutherland Cup run.

“Great job by our affiliate in Lakeshore, Liam made great strides last year,” Bowler says. “We think he’s going to take off and excel at the B level. With his speed and creativity, we’re hoping we can use him in all situations.”

In all, the Windsor native has already played 27 games in a Vipers sweater.

The crafty centre joins a long list of undrafted Windsor Jr. Spitfires AAA graduates to make the leap to Jr. B in LaSalle, including players like Tyler Russell and Eric Kirby.

“We already have good chemistry and it’s only going to get better,” MacDougall says, adding that he looks forward to the challenge of playing in any situation the coaching staff plans to use him, including on the penalty kill.

“I hope I get that opportunity,” MacDougall says. “I feel that with my speed, I can get to loose pucks faster than the other team and turn that into offensive chances. I’m a team-first guy, I’ll do anything to help the team win.”

The Vipers will begin their season Saturday in London at the GOJHL Showcase against the Listowel Cyclones.

Our home opener, Sept. 16 at the Vollmer Centre, will be preceded by an open to the public tailgate party, with free food and entertainment – headlined by recording artist Crystal Gage, and featuring bouncy castles from Red Line Inflatables and more.

David Honsberger

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