LEGIONNAIRES CLINCH SEASON SERIES OVER ROCKETS

The visiting Sarnia Legionnaires nipped the Strathroy Rockets 2-1 at the West Middlesex Memorial Centre on January 3, 2015 securing the regular season series against the Rockets.

Sarnia leads the season series 4-1 with one remaining to be played at the WMMC on January 31.

Historically Sarnia has dominated Strathroy in the regular season winning all but four season series in the past 17 years.

The Rockets only win over the Legionnaires this season snapped a 13-game Sarnia winning streak to start the season.

Strathroy held a huge advantage in territorial play at the WMMC aided greatly by seven powerplay opportunities compared to just a single man power advantage for Sarnia. The Rockets’ lone goal came on the powerplay.

The Rockets outshot the Legionnaires by a 41-28 margin.

The two clubs skated through a scoreless opening period. Sarnia goaltender Hunter Johnson made best stops of the game thwarting Nick Boyer when he twice slipped in behind the Legionnaire defense on breakaways.

Sarnia lost Sam McCormack for the game when he was sent to the showers for a checking from behind call on Boyer at 1:49 of the second period.

While on the resulting powerplay, Jordan Fogarty stripped the puck from Kurtis Sander at the Sarnia point and forced Rocket goaltender Mat Ouellet to come up with his best stop of the night on the breakaway.

Davis Boyer finally scored the game’s opening goal at 12:27 of the middle frame converting a nice setup from Cody Trowell on a three-on-one opportunity after Rocket Lucas Latina lost the puck in the neutral zone.

The Legionnaires physically dominated the Rockets in the game. Nathan Mater laid out the hardest hit of the night leveling Rocket Stuart King.

Late in the period Ryan Trottier scored the eventual game winner when his perfect shot from the high slot rang off both posts and behind Ouellet at 18:36.

The Rockets put a little scare in the Legionnaires when a weak Boyer backhand somehow found its way past a screened Johnson and trickled over the goal line with Kyler Keating off for roughing at 13:38.

The Rockets pulled Ouellet for an extra attacker in the final moments but never came close to finding the equalizer.

The loss was the Rockets first loss in regulation time at home since October 18 and their first regulation time loss at home since trading their former captain Tyler Duarte to Leamington. The loss also snapped an eleven-game home point streak.

The Rockets last six losses have all been by one goal.

The Rockets remained in fourth place, four points behind the third place Chatham Maroons and a narrow two points ahead of the fifth place LaSalle Vipers.

Sarnia sits in second place, seven points behind the front running Leamington Flyers and sixth points ahead of Chatham.

The Rockets will remain idle until a home-and-home series this Saturday and Sunday with the Lambton Shores Predators.

The Legionnaires will travel to London to play the Nationals on Wednesday before hosting LaSalle at the Sarnia Arena on Thursday.

The Entertainment Tonight Players of the Game for the Rockets were Mark MacAulay, Sander and Ouellet.

Andrew Martins was honoured as the Poags’ Player of the Month for December prior to the start of the game.

David Honsberger

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