A three-goal performance from Brett Primeau was all that the LaSalle Vipers needed in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Strathroy Rockets at the Vollmer Recreation Complex in LaSalle on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. Primeau leads all Vipers in goal scoring with 13 on the season. He sits third in GOJHL goal scoring.

The win moved the Vipers one point ahead of the idle Chatham Maroons into sole possession of third place in the GOJHL Western Conference standings.

The Rocket loss combined with a 5-4 overtime win by the London Nationals over the visiting Lambton Shores Predators allowed the Nats to slip past the Rockets by a single point into sole possession of fifth place.

The loss also ended the Rockets’ modest three-game winning streak that allowed them to jump from eighth to fifth place in the standings.

The two clubs were tied at 1-1 after one period. The Rockets led 2-1 heading into the third period.

The story of the game for the Rockets was the outstanding debut of goaltender Dane Gubbels. The Mount Brydges native earned his first start in a Rocket sweater after signing with the Rockets following the departure of Tynan Lauziere to Pelham of the Golden Horseshoe Conference. He was solid throughout the match and particularly strong killing off a lengthy 5-on-3 as well as a five-minute major disadvantage and turned aside breakaways by Primeau and Korey Morgan.

The Rockets were outshot 49-29 including a 26-9 spread in the third period. It is the most shots that the Rockets have given up in a period this season.

Jack Kilgour opened the scoring for the Rockets at 11:58 of the first period when he picked the top corner behind Viper netminder Paolo Battisti capitalizing on a great centering pass from behind the net by Mark MacAulay. Dan Chapman also assisted on the play. The win was the first for Battisti in over a month. His last win came at the expense of the Rockets in a 6-1 triumph at the WMMC in September.

Primeau got his first of the night at 18:21 to tie the game at 1-1.

Speedy Nick Griffin tallied the only goal of the second period when he stole the puck from Connor Rosaasen and outraced the Vipers down the left wing chipping the puck past Battisti as he cut behind the net.

Primeau added a pair in the third to steal the win for the Vipers. He tapped in a loose puck at 9:26 and then redirected a shot from the point by Chris Pignanelli with 66 seconds left in regulation time.

The Rockets were the more physical of the two teams but it cost them a pair of minor head checking penalties and misconducts to Kieran Milne and Lucas Latina. Rocket leading scorer MacAulay was ushered from the game at 19:46 of the second period with a major penalty for checking from behind on Viper defenseman Nick Gauvin. The Rockets’ offense sputtered in the third period with MacAulay out of the lineup.

Both clubs were missing some key players for the game. The Rockets were without Brett Dalton while the Vipers were missing captain Brett Langlois, Rio Anzolin, Nathan Savage and Daniel Beaudoin.

Both clubs failed to convert with special teams. The Rockets were 0 for 7 with the man advantage while the Vipers went 0 for 5 including a full five- minute powerplay for the MacAulay major. Griffin’s solo dash goal came while the teams were playing four a side.

The Vipers lead the season series 3-0. The Rockets have won just a single game in LaSalle in their last 10 outings over the past four seasons.

The Entertainment Tonight Players of the Game for the Rockets were Griffin, Gubbels and Kilgour. The Rockets will see action next on Saturday when they host the first place Leamington Flyers. Former Rocket captain Tyler Duarte will be making his first visit to his former rink since he requested a trade to Leamington.

David Honsberger

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