A Brenden Trottier overtime goal at 4:17 completed the Lambton Shores Predators’ 4-3 comeback win over the Strathroy Rockets before a sparse gathering of 145 fans at The Shores Recreation Centre in Forest on Tuesday, December 9.

Sean Ross set up the dramatic ending when he tipped a point shot from Ryan Fraser after a faceoff win by the Preds with just 2:47 remaining in regulation time to tie the game at 3-3. It was the only goal of the third period.

The Preds had an excellent opportunity to end the game sooner when Rocket forward Nick Boyer was nabbed for a checking from behind call as the third period ended.

The Rockets managed to kill off the disadvantage but a long saucer pass from defenseman Gino Mini found a streaking Trottier near the Rocket blueline. Trottier split the Rocket defense of Kurtis Sander and Andrew Martin and beat Rocket netminder Mat Ouellet with a deadly accurate wrist shot from inside the faceoff circle.

The Rockets had never trailed in the contest. They enjoyed period leads of 1-0 and 3-2.

Boyer tallied the only goal of the first period when he was left alone in front of the Predator goal on a Rocket powerplay.

Each team scored twice in the second period.

Early in the second period the Rockets failed to score on a 2-on-0 breakaway. The teams skated back into the Rocket zone and Stuart King was called for roughing. With King still in the penalty box Nick Griffin was assessed a tripping penalty. Colin Burns tied the match at 1-1 on the 2-man advantage at 2:47.

King restored the Rocket lead when he benefited from a failed shot attempt by Rocket newcomer Joey Seney at 6:37.

The Preds tied the contest at 2-2 on a bizzare play at 10:33.

Rocket goaltender Ouellet stopped a long arcing dump-in from Luke McEachnie only to have the puck bounce away in front of him. Ouellet dove to freeze the puck but it was just out of his reach. Opportunistic Drew Marlatt beat Rocket defender Martin to the loose puck for the easy goal.

Just 11 seconds after Rocket Matt Knight-Bedour was whistled down for tripping Nick Griffin and Boyer teamed up on a shorthanded 2-on-1 opportunity. Griffin tallied his fourth shorthanded goal of the season at 12:19.

The wide-open contest saw the Predators outshoot the Rockets 43-40.

Anthony Hurtubise was outstanding in goal for the Preds.

Both teams scored once on the powerplay. The Rockets had 5 chances while the Predators had 7.

Penalties, or rather a lack of them, was a key for Lambton Shores’ win. The Preds lead all Western Conference teams in penalty minutes per game, yet were quite disciplined in this contest.

Both teams were missing some key players. High scoring Brett Dalton and Dan Chapman were absent for the Rockets while Nick Sproviero, Austin Fetterly, Brent Hammett and Predator captain Ty Jackson were not dressed.

The Rockets mini winning streak was stalled at three games. The Rockets have struggled away from WMMC winning just 5 games on the road this season.

Both clubs will see action on Friday. The Rockets will be in St. Marys while the Predators will visit St. Thomas.

David Honsberger

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