Games of the Week Recap for Jan 14 & 15

Welcome West fans to your Games of the Week Recap for Jan. 14 & 15.

The week kicked off on Wednesday with LaSalle Vipers hosting Strathroy Rockets.  All it took was the 2nd period for the Vipers to secure a 3-2 win.

The first period of the game was very boring.  It wasn’t just me, the players knew it too.  The most exciting part of the period came near the end when the Vipers were killing off practically a full 2-min 5-on-3.  Vipers defenceman Chris Pignanelli managed to get the puck and rushed down to the Rockets end, keeping the puck from them and killing off approximately 20 seconds of the penalties.  Watching that, you wouldn’t have known the Rockets were on a 5-on-3 powerplay.

The second period is when things picked up.  At 35 seconds in to the period, Stuart King was parked right in front of Vipers goalie Eli Billings and was fed a pass from Mark MacAulay that went past Billings for a 1-0 Rockets lead.  Two minutes later, Rocket rookie Eddie Schulz was barrelling down on Billings, a rebound kicked out to Nick Griffin and it was a 2-0 Rockets lead.

At 9:25, the Vipers got on the board with a shorthanded goal from Korey Morgan.  He picked up a pass between the Rockets defencemen and went on a 3-on-1 rush, snapped the shot, it went off the crossbar and in.  At 13:54, Connor Rosaasen tied the game up.  Dalton Langlois scored the game winner with 24 seconds left in the period.

In the third period, the Rockets had chances to tie the game up, but just couldn’t beat Billings.

Billings recorded 31 saves while Rocket Mat Ouellet had 39.

 

The other game on Wed. was London Nationals hosting Lambton Shores Predators.  That appears to have been a back and forth game with the Nationals taking the W with a 4-2 win.  Story from London Community News.

London Nationals double up 4-2 over Lambton Shores Predators

By Mike Maloney

http://www.londoncommunitynews.com/sports-story/5258952-london-nationals-double-up-4-2-over-lambton-shores-predators/

The London Nationals find themselves back playing .500 hockey after a much-needed win over the Lambton Shores Predators on Jan. 14.

Hitting the ice of the Western Fair District Sports Centre on the heels of a 3-1 loss to LaSalle three nights earlier, the Nationals came at the Predators with a vengeance.

Outshooting Lambton Shores 16-3 in the opening stanza, it wasn’t until six minutes into the second period that their efforts were rewarded with a goal by Kevin Madden. Just under 10 minutes later, Kyle Robinson would widen the margin with his ninth goal of the season before Austin Kemp scored his first of two on the night with just over a minute left in the frame.

Lambton Shore would finally crack their side of the score sheet at the 6:50 mark of the third period on a marker off the stick of Franco Sproviero.

Brett Corrigan would also add one to the Predators tally, a five-on-three power-play goal but not before Kemp tagged his second of the game for London.

When it was all over, it was the Nationals skating off in victory by a final score of 4-2.

Trailing Strathroy by six points, London currently sits sixth in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Western Conference standings.

The Nationals next hit the ice on Friday (Jan. 16) when they head off to St. Marys for a date with the Lincolns before heading back home on Wednesday (Jan. 21) to face the Leamington Flyers.

 

On Thursday night, Leamington Flyers hosted LaSalle.  It was a spirited contest with the Flyers coming out with a 2-1 win.  Story from C. Scott Holland.

Flyers Win Playoff-Style game 2-1 Over Vipers

By C. Scott Holland

It was the last regular season game between the two cross-county rivals and this one was a treat for the 734 fans who were on hand. It was as hard fought as any contest can get and one which featured speed, plus a physical presence and some unusual plays as well.  If that wasn’t enough to keep the fans in their seats, then the overall playoff atmosphere certainly was. 

It definitely was an important contest for both teams as the hometown Flyers sought to gain a win and edge closer to securing first-place, while also hoping to pick up some points on the Sarnia Legionnaires who were in action as well. Simultaneously, the Vipers wanted to gain a victory and keep themselves ahead of the Strathroy Rockets. 

In the end the Flyers got the two points.

The game in Leamington could have went either way, but after unveiling their 1950s retro Flyers jerseys at the game’s start, the two teams got down to business. Despite having played the Rockets just 24 hours beforehand, the Vipers played with more energy than one might expect. Both teams battled along the boards in the opening frame and were tentative in their offensive attacks. The Vipers outshot the Flyers 8-6 and starting goalies Paolo Battisti of LaSalle and Leamington’s Trevor Wheaton kept the slate even at 0-0. 

Both teams were more aggressive in the second and it was reflected by the number of penalties called. At 4:16, Leamington’s Mitchell Amante and Battisti were handed roughing penalties and later at 9:25 during a delayed penalty call, Flyers’ newcomer Joe Ogden, who is the younger brother of former Flyer Matt Ogden, had scored a goal but it was negated because the net was off. A Vipers’ defenceman took a slashing penalty on the play and about 20 seconds elapsed before Chris Scott and Blaine Bechard started a three-on-one attack which ended with Amante driving a low bullet into the left side of the net. The animosity between Amante and Battisti escalated even more at 13:07 when Amante was near Battisti and defenceman Nicholas Crescenzi engaged in some roughing; both were whistled for roughing calls but Amante was saddled with an extra two minutes for slashing. The Flyers did not allow the Vipers any chance on that powerplay and Wheaton had as easy a period as it can get as he made just two saves – both in the final minutes of play.

The real parade to the “sin bin” began in the third as the Flyers clung to a 1-0 lead. LaSalle came out strong and began the frame with a five-on-three powerplay but again Wheaton and the Flyers’ defence foiled any serious scoring attempts. Like the opening frame, it was a back and forth contest with both teams grappling for the puck and jockeying to get into scoring position.

Near the midway point, one of the game’s best scoring opportunities occurred. Tyler Duarte picked up a bouncing puck at his feet and moved through the neutral zone before gaining control and going on a breakaway. He drove straight towards Battisti who stopped Duarte point blank. At 12:28, Amante and Battisti were caught again. Amante was ushered off for slashing and on the delayed penalty call, Battisti skipped out towards his bench in favour of an extra-attacker but turned a bit and whirled around slashing a Flyer trailing him and then Battisti spun downward to ice on his own. That play did draw some laughs from fans and it certainly did appear that Battisti was trying to execute a ballet move.

Less than one minute later Duarte laid the ground work for Kyle Quick who drove along the left boards, moved in close and lifted the puck past the Vipers’ netminder. Quick’s tally would stand up as the eventual game-winner, but not until the Flyers had weathered two late penalties and LaSalle pulling Battisti for an extra-attacker during the final minute. The extra-attacker move paid off as they broke Trevor Wheaton’s shutout bid with 10 seconds left in the game when Daniel Beaudoin’s right point shot bounded through a maze of players in front of the net and eluded Wheaton. 

NOTES:  Joe Ogden, the newest Flyers’ forward played 19 games with the Soo Thunderbirds of the NOJHL. He is 5’9″ and 170 lbs. and was born on March 22, 1997 in Detroit, Michigan. He amassed 11 goals and 13 assists along with eight penalty minutes and two game-winning goals. His average pointsper game was 1.26. He certainly didn’t look out of place in his debut, and some practice time with Leamington will only make him better …Leamington’s scratches for the night were: Kyle Perkowski, Travis Campbell and Zak Parlette while the Vipers were without Dylan Naumovski, and Tyler Russell …Leamington outshot the Vipers 27-21 and on the powerplay, LaSalle scored one goal on six attempts while Leamington had one in five tries …As the West Conference heads into the homestretch, many names will start popping up for the year-end awards. Most teams have at least one player who has made a significant contribution and there are many players with qualities and skills which may lead to the trophies and honours. This year’s awards will be interesting to see who garners each one. 

 

The last game this week was Sarnia Legionnaires hosting St. Thomas Stars.  The Stars new goalie, Branden Polasek, made his debut and picked up his first win as the Stars defeated the Legionnaires 4-2.  Story from Sarnia Observer.

Stars spoil Norris’s coaching debut

By Dan McCaffery

http://www.theobserver.ca/2015/01/15/stars-spoil-norriss-coaching-debut

The outcome was disappointing, but the game was still a bit of a thrill for Tom Norris.

Norris made his Jr. ‘B’ hockey head coaching debut Thursday with the Sarnia Legionnaires, a team that was founded 60 years ago by his grandfather, Tom Norris Sr.

Unfortunately, his club was edged 4-3 by the St. Thomas Stars

The younger Norris, who is normally an assistant coach, was given the reins because regular bench boss Dan Rose is on vacation.

“I grew up around hockey, I’ve heard lots of stories about what went on back in the day,” Tom Jr. said. “I never knew my grandfather but my grandmother has told me stories about him. She’s still a season ticket holder.”

Norris Sr. became a legendary figure in the 1950s and ’60s when, as general manager of the Legionnaires, he attracted such stars as Phil Esposito and Pat Stapleton to the squad. With that kind of talent in the lineup, the Legionnaires won five championships in 14 years.

Despite the loss to St. Thomas, Norris hopes to eventually become a full-time head coach at the Jr. ‘B’ level. “It’s in my blood,” he said. “And I’m learning a lot from Dan Rose.”

In fact, Norris has considerable coaching experience, both at the minor level and in the Jr. ‘C’ ranks.

As for the loss to the Stars, Norris said, “It was a back-and-forth game. We played alright for the most part.”

He added the team lost the game because of a few bad shifts.

The contest developed into a goaltender’s duel between Sarnia’s Andrew Masters, who made 38 saves, and the Stars’ Brendan Polasek, who turned aside 36 shots.

Cody Trowell had two goals for the Legionnaires, giving him 26 on the season. Ryan Vendramin had the other Sarnia marker, collecting his 14th on a breakaway.

St. Thomas goals were credited to Carter McCormick, Jesse Anderson, Jay Dekker and James Newland.

The Legionnaires are back in action Sunday when they travel to Chatham to face the Maroons. Their next home game is Thursday, Jan. 22 when they will host the London Nationals.

 

Here are the standings heading into the weekend

 

TEAM GP W L OTL PTS PCT GF GA PIM HOME AWAY
Leamington 37 29 7 1 59 .797 151 93 847 17-2-0 12-5-1
Sarnia 36 24 12 0 48 .667 160 132 679 15-4-0 9-8-0
Chatham 35 22 11 2 46 .657 163 117 680 12-6-1 10-5-1
LaSalle 39 22 17 0 44 .564 162 136 887 13-7-0 9-10-0
Strathroy 37 20 15 2 42 .568 150 125 701 13-5-1 7-10-1
London 36 17 17 2 36 .500 119 109 651 11-5-1 6-12-1
St. Thomas 36 16 16 4 36 .500 118 122 539 10-7-1 6-9-3
Lambton Shores 38 11 24 3 25 .329 118 186 868 7-10-1 4-14-2
St. Marys 37 2 31 4 8 .108 66 191 655 2-15-2 0-16-2

 

 

Coming up this weekend

Friday, January 16

St. Thomas Stars vs. Chatham Maroons – 7:30 Timken Centre

St. Marys Lincolns vs. London Nationals – 7:30 Pyramid Rec Centre

Saturday, January 17

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

Strathroy Rockets vs. Leamington Flyers – 7:30 West Middlesex Memorial

Sunday, January 18

Chatham Maroons vs. Sarnia Legionnaires – 7:00 Chatham Memorial

 

Tonight’s game between St. Thomas and Chatham could be really good.  Both teams have bolstered their lineups to make a run at the playoffs and that makes great hockey is about to ensue.  Strathroy and Leamington have had good games this year and tomorrow will be no different.  Same with Chatham and Sarnia.  Basically, as I said in my Mid-West recap yesterday, it’s the push for play-offs, you can’t go wrong with any game you go to.

Have a good weekend everybody and I’ll see you again on Monday.

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.

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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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