Games of the Week Recap – Sept. 17-18

Another week of Western Conference games completed.  We saw 4 games this week, so let’s dive into it!


Game 1 was Wednesday night as the LaSalle Vipers hosted Strathroy Rockets in the Snake Tank, as they call it, otherwise known as the Vollmer Centre.  The Vipers took the game 5-3.

I couldn’t make it to the game, so I listened to it on-line.  I was concerned as the game started, the Rockets struggled in LaSalle all of last year and truthfully, they never have a good first game there.  I always blame it on the bus ride.  Despite what people may think, and yes I realize they are teenagers, but it’s hard to ride 2 hours on a bus and then be prepared to play a game.

The game started as I expected, with the Vipers scoring 1:27 in, by Brett Primeau, and then the Rockets ran into some penalty trouble.  Sam Vokes finally got the Rockets on the board at 10:30, and then Brett Langlois responded to close out the period with the Vipers leading 2-1.

I don’t know what Coach Bondy said to the Rockets between periods, but the 2nd period sounded amazing.  Mid-way through the period, Tyler Duarte scored the only powerplay goal of the game to tie it at 2-2, and then 50 seconds later, Brett Dalton found the back of the net to give the Rockets a 3-2 lead.  The Vipers did not back down tough, and Manny Silverio answered back to tie things back up, 3-3.

The Rockets were clearly asleep in the first minute of the third period as the Vipers scored back-to-back goals, 9 seconds apart, from Silverio and Primeau.  From what I could hear, both goalies, Paolo Battisti and Mat Ouellet, made amazing saves throughout the game.  In the dying minutes of the game, Sam Vokes was going in, had an open net, and Battisti just threw up the paddle of the stick and blocked the shot.

Battisti made 35 saves of 38 shots for the win, while Ouellet made 32 of 37 shots.


Game 2 was London Nationals hosting Lambton Shores Predators.  I actually had this game on the tv, as background, while I was listening to the Rockets-Vipers game.  After losing on Sun. to the Predators, the Nationals came out and dumped them 7-2 to earn their first win of the season.

Ethan Sarfati opened the scoring for the Preds just 2:18 into the game.  Predators 16 year old goalie Anthony Hurtubise got the shut out win on Sun. and went another 27 minutes on Wed. without a goal scored against him.  The Nationals Matt MacPherson scored their first goal of the night at 7 minutes of the 2nd period, ending Hurtubise’s shut out run at 87 minutes.  The Nats were not done for the period as Derek Di Iorio and Colin Wilson would both add goals.

Nats captain Derek Todosichuk would add a power play goal just 1:36 into the 3rd period, and Kevin Madden would add a power play goal just 4 minutes later to put the Nats up 5-1.  Brett Corrigan scored the Predators final goal of the game, to make it 5-2.  And for some insurance, Wilson would add his 2nd and 3rd goals of the game in the final 2 minutes to clinch the 7-2 win.

Predator Ethan Sarfati received a 5-minute major for goaltender interference with about 7 minutes left in the game.  He was skating hard down onto the net, cut in front a little too close and caught Justin Tugwell, who hit his helmet on the post.  He was down for a few minutes, but finished the game.  In my opinion, calling it a major was excessive, there was no intent to injure, but I’ve noticed the referees are clamping down on a lot so far this season.  It could be because it’s a new season, but perhaps it’s also a directive from the OHA to try and cut down on the head shots.


Game 3 was Leamington Flyers vs. LaSalle Vipers.  The Vipers were 3-0 going into the game, and the Flyers were 1-2, but this was the battle of Essex County, which usually makes for good games.  The Vipers edged the Flyers 3-2 to maintain their perfect record.  Story from C. Scott Holland.

Vipers Nip Flyers 3-2

by C. Scott Holland

The inter-county rivalry between the Leamington Flyers and LaSalle Vipers is always intense. Many of the players go to school together or have played against or with the others and these factors create heated contests between the two Western Conference GOJHL teams.

The hometown Flyers and their coach Tony Piroski had only one thing on their minds: “We must improve our scoring.”

That was highly evident on Thursday night at the Heinz arena as the Flyers had plenty of scoring chances but struggled to capitalize. It took them 43 minutes to get on the board and make a game of it while starting netminder Trevor Wheaton held the Flyers in it by making some rather good saves.

The speed of the players on both sides was incredible and when the bodychecking began in the second, there were quite a few bone-crunching plays. The action was as intense as it can get and more like a final playoff game than a first meeting.

Despite the fact the Flyers outshot the Vipers 13-7 in the first, it was a huge rebound that led to the game’s opening tally. Graham Pickard went left to right on Wheaton and flung a quick shot at the Flyers’ goalie. Wheaton kicked out the save to his left but right onto the stick of Eric Kirby who triggered it into the open left side at 15:50.

The Flyers headed into the second a man short after Zak Parlette took a last minute highsticking penalty. The Vipers wasted little time in setting up their powerplay and worked the puck towards a crowded goal crease area where Nathan Savage jammed in the feed of Chris Pignanelli. However, the Flyers rebounded with some good momentum and a couple of shots, on which starter Eli Billing made saves to keep the slate clean. Flyers’ defenseman Jacob McGhee was ejected for a check-from-behind at 4:22, but a key play in the contest came at 17:13 when Kyle Quick was assessed a boarding penalty. But before the play was whistled down, Captain Mitchell Amante took a slashing call plus a two minute minor for headchecking. That was the end of the night for Amante as he did not return.

At 3:19 of the third, while on a powerplay after LaSalle was saddled with a too many men penalty, Phil Janikowski hooked a pass to Alex Derksen, whose low shot appeared to head just to Billing’s right. As Billing stooped to collect the puck, Cale Phibbs cut in front and redirected it up and into the net to make a game of it. During a scramble in front of Wheaton at 12:30, Nathan Veres got the puck to Korey Morgan who jammed it past Wheaton to give the Vipers a 3-1 lead.

But the Flyers rallied one last time as they made a valiant effort to knot the contest. While a man short, Cale Allen fed Kyle Perkowski and Perkowski circled down the left lane and flipped the puck past Billing while in close on the netminder.

During the final minute, the Flyers lifted Wheaton for an extra attacker but were denied any really good chances to tie the game.

The Flyers went 1 for 4 on the powerplay and had 28 shots, while the Vipers were 1 for 8 with the man advantage and had 24 shots.

On Fri., Sept. 19 the Flyers travel to St. Marys and are back home Thurs., Sept. 25 to host London.


Game 4 was Sarnia Legionnaires vs. London Nationals.  The Legionnaires came out with a 3-2 win over the Nationals.  Story from the Sarnia Observer.

Rookies Key to Legionnaires Win

A trio of rookies helped the Sarnia Legionnaires win their third straight game Thursday.

Goalie Cornel Felder and defencemen Cameron Clarke and Sam McCormack all made key contributions as the Legion crew shaded the London Nationals 3-2 at the Brock Street Barn.

With the triumph, Sarnia brought its won-lost record to a perfect 3-0. London dropped to 1-3.

Felder, playing his first Jr. ‘B’ hockey game, kicked out 22 shots to get the victory.

“I was definitely nervous, but the team helped me settle down,” the big netminder said afterward. “It’s good to get that first win under my belt.”

Felder said the cheers he received from a large crowd gave him confidence as well. And, he added, his defence came to his aid on more than one occasion.

“Sammy (rookie rearguard Sam McCormack) really saved me in that second period,” the modest goalkeeper said. In fact, McCormack came sliding out of nowhere to turn aside a puck at the goaline.

An opportunistic Clarke, meanwhile, scored his first career goal, coming off the point on the powerplay to tent the twine from close range.

But it wasn’t just the newcomers who shone.

Captain Nathan Mater, a four-year veteran, got the Legionnaires on the board early in the middle frame when the grabbed a rebound from his own forehand shot, went to the backhand and lifted the rubber into the cage. For Mater, it was his third tally in three games.

Another old pro, Cody Trowell, got the winner, finding the back of the net with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle. He now has two goals this young season.

Sarnia head coach Dan Rose said the Legionnaires, who pumped 36 shots on goal, “completely outchanced” the visitors.

The bench boss liked what he saw from his rookie goalie. “I was impressed by how he handled the puck, with his confidence.”

He added, “Our new kids are all good players, they’re going to contibute.”

But the coach acknowledged the Nats gave his club a tough fight. “London has a lot of young kids, they’re going to be good by the end of the year,” he said. “They’re hard working, they never stop.”

Austin Kemp had both London goals.

The Legionnaires are back in action Friday when they travel to St. Thomas to meet the Stars. Their next home game is next Thursday, when they will host the Lambton Shores Predators. Game time at Sarnia Arena is set for 7:10 p.m.


Here are your standings after this week.


LaSalle 4 4 0 0 8 1.000 19 10 89 2-0-0 2-0-0
Sarnia 3 3 0 0 6 1.000 14 9 59 3-0-0 0-0-0
Chatham 2 2 0 0 4 1.000 8 5 72 1-0-0 1-0-0
London 4 1 3 0 2 .250 13 14 127 1-0-0 0-3-0
Strathroy 3 1 2 0 2 .333 11 12 52 0-0-0 1-2-0
Leamington 4 1 3 0 2 .250 10 13 117 1-1-0 0-2-0
Lambton Shores 3 1 2 0 2 .333 6 12 64 1-1-0 0-1-0
St. Thomas 2 0 1 1 1 .250 5 8 22 0-0-1 0-1-0
St. Marys 1 0 1 0 0 .000 1 4 15 0-1-0 0-0-0


Coming up this weekend:


St. Marys Lincolns vs. Leamington Flyers – 7:30 Pyramid Rec Centre

St. Thomas Stars vs. Sarnia Legionnaires – 7:30 Timken Centre


Lambton Shores Predators vs. St. Marys Lincolns – 7:30 Shores Rec Centre


Chatham Maroons vs. Strathroy Rockets – 7:00 Chatham Memorial


Friday night you will find me in St. Thomas watching the Stars and the Legionnaires and Sun. night I’ll be at Chatham Memorial to watch the Maroons and the Rockets.  For me, that will be the game of the weekend, but I think St. Thomas-Sarnia has potential to be really good too.

You all know that I am a die-hard Rockets fan, but I am also a die-hard GOJHL fan, having been watching Jr. B hockey since I was 10 years old. I will only watch the GOJHL and during the hockey season, you never know what arena RG is gonna show up at. I'm bringing you the games, news, and updates of the GOJHL. RG is on Facebook at and you can find me on Twitter at If you hear of anything about any of the teams in the GOJHL, or have questions about anything, feel free to post it. If I don't know the answer, I know how to find it.

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