By Dan McCaffery
CHATHAM The flu-ridden Sarnia Legionnaires appeared to had virtually no chance of winning their hockey game here Sunday night.
For one thing, they were missing five forwards, including sniper Jeff Bauer, Nathan Mater, Derek D'Andrea, Brent Sauve and Spencer Bronzi. For another, blue chip defenceman Jeff King was ejected for fighting in the second period.
If that wasn't bad enough, they were facing the first place Chatham Maroons, a team that seldom losses in its own barn.
On top of all that, the Legionnaires were playing their third game in four nights.
But with a pair of callups from the Jr. 'C' Mooretown Flags (Frankie White and Jordan Orth) helping out, the exhausted Sarnians stunned the Maroons 6-5.
"It was an incredible effort, assistant coach Bob Farlow said afterward. For being shorthanded, the kids battled hard the entire game. They won a lot of individual battles. They kept things simple because they had to. It was a win with heart.
Jason Teschke got the winner with just over a minute left in regulation time.
"Jason was high in our zone and heading up ice when the puck came to him, Farlow recalled. He turned on the afterburners and pulled away from both defencemen. I was surprised he had any energy left, he'd played such a great two-way game.
Teschke got in alone and scored his 21st of the season, with assists going to Matt Cimetta and Bobby King.
In the first period, Jeff King opened the scoring after being set up by Teschke and Davis Boyer. For the 16-year-old rearguard, it was his third of the season (not counting a shootout winner). Cimetta made it 2-0 just past the mid-point of the frame, with helpers going to Thomas Moxley and White.For the young forward/defenceman, it was his fourth of the year.
"We just seemed to get a good jump on them and we stayed out of the penalty box, said general manager Bob Williamson.
In the middle stanza Sarnia came out on fire, scoring three in a row to grab a commanding 5-1 advantage. Hunter Tyczynski struck first, with assists going to Josh Kestner and Tyler Prong. Bobby King got his fifth of the season with Moxley and Prong getting the assists. Not long after that, Tyczynski notched his second of the game and fifth of the campaign to give the Legion crew a four-goal bulge.
But as the game worn on, Sarnia began to run out of gas. Chatham got two in the second period and two more early in the third to deadlock matters at 5-5.
Just when it looked as if overtime would be need, Teschke worked his magic to give the visitors the victory.
Sean Parker got the win in net, making 38 saves.
The Legionnaires had 29 shots on the Chatham cage.
With the triumph the Sarnians pulled into sole possession of seventh place, two points ahead of St. Marys and three up on the Lambton Shores Predators.
They are also just three points back of Strathroy and St. Thomas and only four behind fourth place LaSalle.
The Legionnaires return to action Wednesday when they travel to LaSalle. Their next home game is Thursday when they face the Lincolns. Game time at the Brock Street Barn is set for 7:10 p.m.