Games of the Week Recap for Feb. 4 & 5

Welcome to Friday everyone.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been looking forward to the weekend.

The week started with LaSalle Vipers hosting Chatham Maroons Wed. night.  The Maroons have been playing strong hockey lately, since the departure of their captain Michael Verboom.  I don’t know what it is this season about captains leaving and teams performing better, but it seems to be the spark that some need.  Anyways, the Maroons toppled the Vipers 5-2.  Story from Chatham Daily News.

Dennis, Ford power Maroons’ comeback win

http://www.chathamdailynews.ca/2015/02/05/dennis-ford-power-maroons-comeback-win

LASALLE – The Chatham Maroons weathered an early storm and then buried the LaSalle Vipers under a flurry of goals Wednesday.

Gus Ford and Jared Dennis each scored twice as the Maroons ran their winning streak to nine games with a 5-2 victory in front of 701 fans at the Vollmer Centre.

Trevor Richardson also scored and Bo Bessette made 35 saves in the comeback win.

“We had a good game tonight,” Maroons head coach Tyler Roeszler said. “I thought our penalty kill was as good as it’s been all year.”

The Vipers enjoyed the game’s final five power plays, including four in the third period, but they went 0-for-7 overall with a man advantage.

They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening seven minutes on goals by Daniel Beaudoin and Chris Pignanelli.

“LaSalle’s a tough team,” Roeszler said. “They’d only lost seven times at home all year. We knew they were going to come out strong. They jumped on a couple of our mistakes and they ended up in our net early.”

Dennis replied at 14:58 and Richardson tied the score at 16:23 as the Maroons outshot the Vipers 16-12 in the first period.

“I thought the last 50 minutes were dominated by us,” Roeszler said. “We really controlled the game from that point on.”

Ford scored the winning goal on a power play in the second period at 9:49. He has five goals and six assists in seven games since being acquired at the trade deadline.

Ford and Dennis notched their second goals of the game early in the third period, scoring 44 seconds apart for a 5-2 lead.

Dennis has scored in eight consecutive games and ranks second on the team with 26 goals, one more than Richardson and eight behind Brennan Feasey.

“The thing I notice is his greatest strength is his speed and he’s starting to exploit that a lot more,” Roeszler said.

The 21-year-old forward has 15 points during his current nine-game point streak.

“He’s really elevated his game,” Roeszler said. “He’s really using his speed and he’s willing to go to the high-traffic areas in front of the net and take a hit.”

The Maroons have the longest current winning streak in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. They’re also on a 13-game point streak (12-0-1).

Bessette has won the last five games. He’s third in the GOJHL with 21 wins.

“He’s playing well for us,” Roeszler said. “He made some timely stops for us when we needed saves.”

The Maroons are second in the Western Conference, five points ahead of the third-place Sarnia Legionnaires and eight up on the fourth-place Vipers.

NOTES: Chatham was 1-for-3 on the power play. … Maroons forward Brayden Hopkins sat out with food poisoning. Michael Levesque replaced him on the line with Dennis and Steven Beenackers. … Beenackers had two assists. … The Maroons host the Strathroy Rockets at 7 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Arena. … The Rockets lost 3-2 to the London Nationals on Wednesday.

 

Also on Wed., London Nationals hosted Strathroy Rockets.  The Rockets have done the opposite from Chatham lately and, in my opinion, have been playing very inconsistent and very lackluster the last couple weeks.  I don’t see any spark in them and now is not the time to be playing like that.  The box score looks like it was a good, close game, with the Nats taking a 3-2 win, but it wasn’t.

The Nats Austin Kemp opened the scoring just 22 seconds into the game.  It was a fluke play that Rockets Mat Ouellet wasn’t quite ready for, but that set the tone of the game.  At 3 min. into the first, the Rockets lost defenceman Andrew Martin to a check from behind.

Kemp scored his 2nd goal of the game at 7:49 to make it 2-0 Nationals.  The Rockets finally got on the board with 1:04 left in the period.  Leading scorer Stuart King potted a short handed goal that tricked Nats goalie Connor Hughes.

The loan goal of the second period came from Justin Murray to put the Nationals up 3-1.  Trevor Dulong provided the distraction and with Ouellet not paying attention and out of the net, Murray popped it in the open net.

The loan goal of the third period was from Rocket Dan Chapman.  I felt that the Rockets finally showed some effort with just a few minutes left in the game, but at that point, it was too little, too late.

 

Thurs. night, Leamington Flyers hosted Lambton Shores Predators.  The Preds were dumped 9-2, but the sparks flew in the third period.  Story from C. Scott Holland.

Bad Blood Spills As Flyers Hammer Lambton

It wasn’t the prettiest game a fan could watch and, despite the 9-2 victory, it was one  both teams could learn from.

The penalty-filled contest also had its moments of frustration and tension as well as scoring. Both teams were out to prove a point and the refs, Ryan Renaud and Wayde Peltier, certainly made a bigger point. Lambton absorbed 69 penalty minutes including three fighting majors and four 10 minute misconducts plus a gross misconduct while Leamington was hit with 83 minutes in penalties. At one point in the third period, the penalty box had four players per side crammed into it.

Then there were the 11 goals scored.

During the first frame both teams played rather evenly although it was Lambton which pressed hard but found themselves down 3-0. By the end of the second it was all over as Leamington held a firm 5-1 lead and had put 31 shots on two Predators’ goalies while Leamington’s Michael Barrett had faced only 16. Two quick Flyers’ goals in a 25 second span in the third set up the subsequent fireworks as the Predators found themselves humbled. The ensuing conclusion to the contest was anything but what the 574 fans expected.

The Flyers grabbed a lead just five minutes into the game when Cale Allen and Mitchell Amante  assisted on Chris Scott’s goal which came with Scott standing on the edge of the crease and bashed his own rebound past starter Andrew  Harriman-Duke. Some forty seconds later Blaine Bechard and Amante gave Tyler Duarte a rebound which he posted into the top right corner. At 16:50, Eric Henderson drilled a power play tally to make it a 3-0 game. Allen was sidelined at 17:08 on a head check call which appeared to be clean according to fans who were near the play.

Lambton broke the shutout 41 seconds into the second when Ethan Sarfati and Franco Sproveiro moved down the right side of the slot and flung a pass to Brett Corrigan who had an open right side in which to deposit the puck. However, the Flyers regrouped and began taking control. At 5:35 Ryan Muzzin hooked a pass to Zach Guilbeault who backhanded the fourth Flyers’ marker from the right side. That spelled the end of Harriman-Duke as Anthony Hurtubise took over. Hurtubise was greeted quickly by a Henderson screen shot which handcuffed him. Duarte and Kyle Quick set up the tally. A few minutes afterward, with play shifting towards the Flyers zone, Ryan Fraser tried to go with Travis Campbell but Franco Sproveiro interceded and both ended up fighting. But when the penalty calls came only Campbell and Sproveiro were assessed penalties. Many of the fans thought that Sproveiro was the third man in and couldn’t understand why Fraser did not get a single penalty. The remainder of the second was rather harmless and the Flyers took a 5-1 lead into the final frame.

After an Alex Friesen shot at 7:12, Kyle Quick lifted the rebound into the Predators’ net and 25 seconds later, JP Grineau and Scott created a play where Kyle Perkowski converted a cross crease pass and it was suddenly 7-1. Less than a minute later, Adam Wammes  and Leamington’s Colin Moore fought and as players from both sides moved towards the scrap, the refs decided to issue failure to go to bench penalties. The penalty box was rather crowded with four players aside crammed into it.

Things would only get stranger. At 17:37, Lambton scored as Gino Mini aided on a Sean Ross power play tally and afterwards Leamington goalie Barrett was given gross for shooting the puck over the glass and Ryan Muzzin was given one as well. Up next on the card was Ryan Fraser running Leamington goalie Trevor Wheaton. Wheaton was down for several minutes but managed to shake it off and returned between the pipes. As if the game hadn’t already been long enough, as the Flyers celebrated at the game’s conclusion, Harriman-Duke who had went back in with about a minute to play, came charging over the red line, said something and next thing Wheaton raced to meet him. Both had their helmets removed and in seconds the gloves dropped as officials tried to restrain Wheaton and hold back the Lambton netminder. Both goalies were prepped for a fight and that they did with both getting in some good punches before Wheaton got a few good ones in and both were down on the ice. They received fighting and game misconducts as well as gross misconducts for not having their helmets on.

For the Flyers it was a victory, but perhaps a costly one.  Hopefully when these two meet in playoffs, the unnecessary rough stuff stays at home because these two teams can and should provide fans with a much better played playoff series.

 

The other game on Thurs. was Sarnia Legionnaires hosting London.  The Legionnaires earned 2 much needed points in a 3-1 victory over the Nationals.  Story from Sarnia Observer.

Littlest Legionnaire shines in Sarnia win

By Dan McCaffery, Special to The Observer

http://www.theobserver.ca/2015/02/05/littlest-legionnaire-shines-in-sarnia-win

A little guy stood tall for the Sarnia Legionnaires Thursday.

Brandon Layman, who stands just 5’7 and weighs only 160 pounds, set up two goals as the Legion crew defeated the London Nationals 3-1.

The win, which came before more than 1,000 fans at the Brock Street barn, improved Sarnia’s record to 28-14-1.

They are in third place in the Western Jr. ‘B’ hockey standings, five points ahead of fourth ranked LaSalle and three back of second place Chatham.

Layman, who is best known as a defensive forward, has six points in his last five games.

“He’s playing really well,” head coach Dan Rose said. “He’s a good hockey player. We think he can compete at a higher level. He’s a little small but he’s got speed, he competes hard and he’s getting better.”

The bench boss added, “That whole line (Layman, Ryan Vendramin and Jordan Fogarty) is on fire right now.”

Layman said his offensive game has picked since he was put on a line with Vendramin and Fogarty last month.

“My linemates can put the puck in the net, all I have to do is get it to them,” he said. He added the fact that he played minor hockey with Fogarty helps as well.

Layman got the home team rolling just past the mid-point of the first period when his pinpoint pass from the sideboards was tipped into the cage by Vendramin.

Late in the frame the littlest Legionnaire struck again, getting the rubber to Fogarty, who dented the twine from point blank range.

Ryan Trottier had Sarnia’s other tally, finding the back of the net with a blast from the slot.

London, which outshot the Legionnaires 32-31 was held at bay by a stingy Sarnia defense and the strong goaltending of Andrew Masters.

Masters, who has surrendered only two goals in his last two games, made a splendid breakaway save in the middle frame to keep his team on top.

He has a sparkling 0.911 save percentage since joining the Legionnaires at the trade deadline.

“The Nationals are a young team and they battle hard,” Layman said. “You’ve got to come to play to beat them.”

The Legionnaires return to action Saturday when they host the first place Leamington Flyers. Game time at Sarnia Arena is set for 7:10 a.m.

 

Here are the standings

 

TEAM GP W L OTL PTS PCT GF GA PIM HOME AWAY
Leamington 44 35 7 2 72 .818 185 109 1052 21-2-0 14-5-2
Chatham 42 29 11 2 60 .714 210 137 778 15-6-1 14-5-1
Sarnia 43 28 14 1 57 .663 194 161 806 17-5-0 11-9-1
LaSalle 44 26 18 0 52 .591 186 152 936 15-8-0 11-10-0
Strathroy 43 21 20 2 44 .512 160 142 808 13-8-1 8-12-1
London 44 20 21 3 43 .489 144 141 809 13-6-2 7-15-1
St. Thomas 42 18 19 5 41 .488 133 142 606 11-9-1 7-10-4
Lambton Shores 44 13 28 3 29 .330 141 218 1047 9-11-1 4-17-2
St. Marys 43 2 37 4 8 .093 74 229 705 2-18-2 0-19-2

 

 

Spots 3 through 7 are still up for grabs.  If Sarnia isn’t careful, LaSalle could catch them and move the Legion down to 4th place.  Strathroy needs to start playing better hockey, and picking up the wins, otherwise London, and possibly St. Thomas, will catch them and shove them down to 7th place.

 

Coming up this weekend

Friday, February 6

St. Thomas Stars vs. LaSalle Vipers – 7:30 Timken Centre

Saturday, February 7

Sarnia Legionnaires vs. Leamington Flyers – 7:10 Sarnia Arena

Lambton Shores Predators vs. St. Thomas Stars – 7:30 Shores Rec Centre

Strathroy Rockets vs. St. Marys Lincolns – 7:30 West Middlesex Memorial

Sunday, February 8

Chatham Maroons vs. Strathroy Rockets – 7:00 Chatham Memorial

 

Sarnia and Leamington will be a rather interesting game with both Leamington’s goalies suspended for 2 games each.  Strathroy is doing their annual Wall of Fame Game on Sat., with the ceremony taking place on-ice at 7:30 prior to the start of the game.

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.

RG is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheRocketGirl16 and you can find me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheRocketGirl16

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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