Historically over the last several years the LaSalle Vipers and the Strathroy Rockets have struggled greatly playing in the other team’s home rink.  The Rockets have won just 2 season series in LaSalle/Tecumseh over the previous 15 years while the Vipers have won just 2 season series at the WMMC in Strathroy over the previous 12 seasons.

That tradition held form when the third place Vipers was tripped up 4-1 by the Rockets at the WMMC on Saturday, October 14.  The win moved the Rockets into 5th place, one point above St. Thomas and one point below Sarnia and LaSalle.

The Rockets received a welcome boost from their special teams.  They converted 1 of 4 chances on the powerplay with 4 shots on goal while the Vipers failed on all 5 chances despite having 8 powerplay shots.

Zack Weir once again had another solid outing for the Rockets, especially in the second and third periods when the Rockets were outshot by a 35-12 margin.  Final shots favoured LaSalle 41-22.

The Vipers’ downfall was their erratic shooting and poor passing.  They had great difficulty making the second pass out of their end zone and wasted many excellent scoring opportunities by firing the puck wide of the net.  The Rockets were quite effective disrupting the Viper attack with an aggressive forecheck and by bottling-up the neutral zone forcing the Vipers to regroup.  In the latter two periods Weir frustrated the Vipers with several outstanding saves, especially on Manny Silverio and Brett Vorshuk.

The Rockets led 1-0 after one period and 3-0 after 2 periods.  Underager Emmet Pierce opened the scoring with a great individual effort on a Rocket powerplay deking Viper netminder James Walker and sliding the puck into the open side of the net.

Tristan Sedlak and Spencer Allen added goals 2:22 apart before the midway part of the second period.  Tyler Russell finally solved Weir with a slick backhand on a left lane rush at 15:37 of the final period before a TJ Harris empty net goal sealed the victory for the Rockets.

PHOTO CREDIT – Colleen Wiendels Photography

David Honsberger

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