The Sarnia Legionnaires appeared to have shaken off the rust that has plagued the team since the Rockets ended their 13-game winning streak to start the 2014-15 season.

In a solid outing Sarnia scored three first period goals and coasted to a 4-1 win over the Strathroy Rockets before 512 fans at the WMMC in Strathroy on Saturday, January 31.

Sarnia strongly dominated the first period outshooting the Rockets 19-10. Cody Trowell put the Legion up 4-0 at 4:29 of the second period when David Boyer fed Trowell with a deadly pass in front of Rocket netminder Mat Ouellet.

After Rocket Nick Boyer buried a Brett Dalton rebound at 14:10 of the middle frame the Legionnaires put a blanket over the Rocket club. Their penalty killing was excellent especially during a 1:13 span when the Rockets enjoyed a two-man advantage early in the third period.

Neither team would score on the powerplay. The Rockets were unsuccessful in 6 attempts, five of them in the third period, while Sarnia had 4 opportunities.

It was a workmanlike effort from Sarnia, who showed great positional play and extra effort on the backcheck.

Netminder Andrew Masters was stellar in goal for the Legionnaires.

The Rockets outshot the Legionnaires 13-12 in the second period and 19-8 in the third, aided by five powerplay chances, for a 41-39 advantage over sixty minutes.

Ryan Vendramin tallied a pair of first period goals sandwiched around a Jordan Fogarty marker.

Vendramin’s first goal was a quick shot along the ice that caught the corner and surprised Ouellet after a deft little pass from Brandon Layman.

Fogarty beat Rocket defenseman Andrew Martin to a loose puck in front of Ouellet on the second Sarnia goal and Vendramin benefited on his second goal when Rocket defender Marcus Baird overskated the puck for an unassisted marker. (photo)

Sarnia easily won the season series with Strathroy 5-1 outscoring the Rockets 21-14.

The Rocket loss was their third in a row at home, their longest losing stretch at home this season.

The Rockets limped out of January with a 3-6 record winning just one of their last six games.

The win moved the third place Legionnaires to within three points of the idle Chatham Maroons. Sarnia leads fourth place LaSalle by 3 points.

The Rockets sit precariously in fifth place, a full 8 points behind LaSalle and just 3 points ahead of both London and St. Thomas. The Rockets and the London still have to meet twice before the season is over. The Rockets and the St. Thomas Stars meet in the final game of the regular season for both teams.

In other action Saturday night, in a likely first round playoff matchup, the first place Leamington Flyers doubled up the eighth place Lambton Shores Predators 6-3. The only team that mathematically can catch the Flyers for first place are the Chatham Maroons. The Flyers magic number is two – any combination of Flyer wins or Maroon losses that add up to two will clinch first place for Leamington.

Both Strathroy and Sarnia will play London in their next games. The Rockets will travel to the Western Fair on Wednesday to play the Nationals while the Legionnaires will host the Nats the following evening.

The Entertainment Tonight Players of the Game for the Rockets were Boyer, Dalton and Ouellet.

January Points Earned

18 LaSalle
17 Chatham
15 Leamington
11 St. Thomas
11 Sarnia
09 London
06 Lambton Shores
06 Strathroy
00 St. Thomas

David Honsberger

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