Games of the Week Recap for Feb. 11 & 12

Good morning hockey fans.  I hope you’ve had a good week.

The first game this week was LaSalle Vipers hosting St. Thomas Stars.  It looks to have been a back and forth game with the Vipers prevailing 4-3 in OT.  Story from www.lasallevipers.com

Vipers top Stars in OT thriller

The LaSalle Vipers rallied from an early deficit before topping the St. Thomas Stars 4-3 in overtime Wednesday night at the Vollmer Centre.

Chris Pignanelli’s night started with being presented the GOJHL Western Conference Defenceman of the Month award by league convenor Mark Tuck, and ended when his snap shot eluded Brendan Polasek at 1:30 of the overtime session.

Pignanelli, 20, along with goaltender Paolo Battisti were recognized as the best players in the conference at their respective positions prior to the game.

Battisti was pulled after allowing two goals on nine shots in the first 14 minutes of the game.

“We came out slow, and give them credit (because) they play us hard,” says Vipers head coach Bill Bowler.

Eli Billing was nearly flawless in relief, stopping 28 of 29 to pick up the win.

Mark Manchurek’s goal with less than 30 seconds left in the first period cut the Vipers deficit to one goal, and Nicolas Crescenzi evened things early in the second period.

Stars leading scorer Dane Johnstone put the Stars ahead once again, but Nathan Savage’s third period goal forced the extra frame.

Pignanelli forced a turnover in the Vipers defensive zone by pressuring his man off the puck, then raced up the right wing before snapping it past Polasek.

“He’s the defenceman of the month and you can see why with that winner,” Bowler says. “It was a fun night here in LaSalle for our fans.”

The Vipers, who improved to 28-18-0 with the win, are off until travelling to Chatham Sunday to face the Maroons. The Stars (19-20-6) failed to gain ground in the Western Conference playoff race, slipping a point back of the London Nationals, who beat Sarnia to pull a point ahead of St. Thomas.

 

The other game on Wed. was London Nationals hosting Sarnia Legionnaires.  The Nats and Stars were tied going into their games on Wed., and with the Stars picking up 1 point in OT, the Nats wanted a victory.  The Nats defeated the Legion 5-3.  Story from Sarnia Observer.

London Nationals edge Sarnia Legionnaires

By Dan McCaffery, Special to The Observer

http://www.theobserver.ca/2015/02/11/london-nationals-edge-sarnia-legionnaires

LONDON  – The Sarnia Legionnaires lost any realistic hope of finishing in second place in the Western Jr. ‘B’ hockey standings here Wednesday.

The Legion crew dropped a 5-3 decision to the London Nationals that leaves them three points back of the second ranked Chatham Maroons.

The Maroons have a game in hand on the Legionnaires, who find themselves with a record of 29-15-1.

Afterward, assistant coach Bob Farlow conceded that, with just four games left in the regular schedule, there’s little hope of catching Chatham.

But he added, “Second or third doesn’t really matter, the important thing is to play well and be in the groove when the playoffs start.”

Farlow said the Legionnaires didn’t work hard enough to win.

“Our work ethic wasn’t as good as it had been in the last three games,” he said. “In the first period we were awful. In the second we got better but, in the third, we were just mediocre.”

Sarnia was trailing 1-0 in the opening frame when Ryan Trottier tied the game, banging home a pass from Cody Trowell. But London quickly restored the lead, then added two unanswered second period tallies to take a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Trowell got the Legionnaires back into the contest with a drive from the faceoff circle that beat goalie Justin Tugwell high on the glove side. Captain Nathan Mater assist on the goal, which was Trowell’s 31st of the campaign.

Not long after that, Ryan Vendramin notched his 24th to tie the game at 3-3. Brandon Layman and Jordan Fogarty got helpers on the play.

But an undisciplined slashing penalty with less than six minutes remaining resulted in the winning goal by London’s Austin Kemp.

The Nationals outshot Sarnia 40-35, with Andrew Masters taking the loss.

However, Farlow thought Masters was one of the few Legionnaires to play a good game.

“Our loss was a team effort,” he said.

The Legionnaires return to action tonight (Thursday) when they host the St. Marys Lincolns. Game time at the Brock Street barn is set for 7:10 p.m.

 

On Thurs., the first place Leamington Flyers hosted second place Chatham Maroons.  With a AAA call-up goalie, the Flyers defeated the Maroons 5-2 to clinch first place in the Western Conference.  Story from C. Scott Holland.

Leamington Wraps Up First-Place With 5-2 Victory Over Chatham

In a contest that was more like that of a playoff match, 965 fans watched the Leamington Flyers outduel the visiting Chatham Maroons in Leamington Thursday night. The Maroons were stymied by not only the tough Leamington defence, but also by 15 year-old goalie Michael DiPetro who started between the Flyers’ pipes. DiPietro got the call since regular Leamington goalies Trevor Wheaton and Michael Barrett were both serving the second two-game suspensions stemming from incidents vs Lambton Shores a week prior. As well, defenceman Ryan Muzzin was serving a suspension while regulars Cale Phibbs and Joe Ogden were scratched. The Maroons’ were lacking only Michael Levesque (suspension) and Luc Knight, but did have call-up Kier Cumming in the lineup.

Although unconfirmed, at least seven OHL scouts were in attendance to watch the highly-rated DiPietro make his Jr. B debut and despite some early butterflies, DiPietro played confidently to get the 5-2 win.

Leamington took the first couple of penalties in the game, but the Leamington defence clearly controlled the play and limited Chatham’s scoring opportunities. The Flyers offense, like their defensive units, made crisp passing plays and cashed in three goals on Maroons starter Jake Patterson in the first. The opening salvo was initiated by Cale Allen and Tyler Duarte as they connected with Zach Guilbeault. Duarte’s left lane shot was tipped into the net by Guilbeault on a powerplay drive at 12:55. Two minutes later, Kyle Quick and Eric Henderson worked the puck out front from behind the Maroons net and Chris Scott deked Patterson before throwing the puck high into the back of the net. From the ensuing faceoff, Ryan Shipley flung Guilbeault a pass which he took alone deep into the slot before releasing a bullet shot which handcuffed Patterson at 15:27 and suddenly it was 3-0 Leamington. The Flyers outshot the Maroons in the opening frame 16-6.
In the second, Chatham came out strong and tested DiPietro. They finally got on the scoreboard at 4:08 on Jared Dennis’ shot that went off DiPietro’s pad to the open left side where it appeared that Steven Beenackers scored but the tally was credited to Connor Annett. An interference call on Leamington’s Blaine Bechard led to the Maroons only other goal as Nate Pietens and Brayden Hopkins bashed away at the puck before Beenackers’ screen shot bounded past DiPietro for a powerplay goal and made it a 3-2 game.

Zach Guilbeault made an interesting play minutes later as he intercepted the puck and went on a breakaway down the left lane before being hauled down and crashing into the Chatham net. No penalty was called on the play although many fans believed he should have been awarded a penalty shot. The rest of the play in the frame was back and forth with both sides making some good shots and creating scoring chances. But as time was running out in the second, Flyers captain Mitchell Amante and Chris Scott broke down the ice on a two-on-one breakaway. Scott unleashed a wicked blast that beat Patterson high on the glove side with 11 seconds left in the frame. That marker gave the Flyers a 4-2 edge despite the fact that Leamington outshot the Maroons by a single shot – 11-10.

Chatham found themselves with a bit of penalty trouble early in the third but managed to hold off the Flyers attack. Likewise, the Flyers withstood pressure by Chatham on one powerplay. However, it was the Flyers superb puck control which led to them gaining the victory. Shots in the period were 1-5 in Leamington’s favour. The Maroons lifted Patterson for an extra-man with 2:14 left but the move did not put them any closer. Flyer defenceman Ryan Shipley took a short pass from DiPietro and fired the puck completely down the ice and connected for his first Flyers goal as the puck entered the center of the net at 18:13. The Flyers finished the game outshooting the Maroons 38-21 Both teams were one for four on the powerplay.
It was the cap to a wonderful season for the Flyers as the combination of the Flyers win and Maroons loss gave Leamington first-place outright. With it comes home ice advantage in playoffs as well and, for the Flyers that may be a key since it was their 18th consecutive home game they’ve won. The Maroons loss was their first after winning 10 straight.
The game was certainly very similar to the playoff ones played last season between these two clubs. Both organizations should be proud of their accomplishments in their 2014/15 seasons and will complete their respective schedules during the next 10 days.

 

The last game on Thurs. was supposed to be Sarnia hosting St. Marys Lincolns.  Due to the weather wreaking havoc on the 402 yesterday, the game was postponed.  Once a make-up day is set, I will let you know.

 

Here are the standings

 

TEAM GP W L OTL PTS PCT GF GA PIM HOME AWAY
Leamington 46 36 8 2 74 .804 194 118 1068 22-2-0 14-6-2
Chatham 44 30 12 2 62 .705 217 144 802 16-6-1 14-6-1
Sarnia 45 29 15 1 59 .656 204 170 824 18-5-0 11-10-1
LaSalle 46 28 18 0 56 .609 197 158 960 16-8-0 12-10-0
Strathroy 45 22 21 2 46 .511 165 148 856 14-8-1 8-13-1
London 45 21 21 3 45 .500 149 144 821 14-6-2 7-15-1
St. Thomas 45 19 20 6 44 .489 144 157 640 11-10-1 8-10-5
Lambton Shores 45 13 28 4 30 .333 145 223 1071 9-11-2 4-17-2
St. Marys 44 2 38 4 8 .091 75 232 713 2-18-2 0-20-2

 

Coming up this weekend

Friday, February 13

St. Thomas Stars vs. Leamington Flyers – 7:30 Timken Centre

St. Marys Lincolns vs. Strathroy Rockets – 7:30 Pyramid Rec Centre

Saturday, February 14

Lambton Shores Predators vs. Chatham Maroons – 7:30 Shores Rec Centre

Strathroy Rockets vs. London Nationals – 7:30 West Middlesex Memorial

Sunday, February 15

Chatham Maroons vs. LaSalle Vipers – 7:00 Chatham Memorial

Lambton Shores Predators vs. Sarnia Legionnaires – 7:30 Shores Rec Centre

Monday, February 16

London Nationals vs. St. Thomas Stars – 2:30 Western Fair

 

I’m making it a hockey filled weekend.  Tonight, I’m foregoing my boys game and I’m heading to Stratford to catch the battle for 3rd place with Waterloo.  Tomorrow night, I’ll head home to catch my boys vs. London.  Sun., I’m going to try and make it a 2-fer and head to Waterloo in the afternoon and then Elmira in the evening.  Mon., I’m not sure which game I’m going to yet, but you can can’t on me being at an arena.

As for the above games, I think St. Thomas and Leamington will be good tonight.  The Rockets and Nats always have good games.  Chatham will be looking to bounce back from their loss last night, so I expect them to have good games this weekend.  Sarnia and Lambton Shores have a county rivalry and usually have good games.

I’ve said it for weeks now, but we’re down to crunch time, with teams having just 5-3 games left before play-offs, which makes for some great hockey to watch.

I’m having computer issues at home, so I will post the recap on Tuesday.  Have a great long weekend everybody.

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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