Sarnia, ON - In their first ever playoff game in franchise history, the Lambton Shores Predators had a two goal lead in the first period, but four straight Sarnia Legionnaires goals would eventually help lead the Legionnaires to a 5-4 victory, taking game one of their best of seven series in Greater Ontario Junior B playoff action.
"That is exactly what we thought it would be, very intense out there," said Legionnaires Head Coach Dan Rose. "Our guys played nervous in the first period. We got that out of the way and settled down and played some pretty good hockey. They kept battling and as I said to the guys, that is what the next two months are going to be like."
Tanner Ferguson opened the scoring for Lambton Shores, scoring the teams first playoff goal 4:16 into the first period. Kyle Brothers would follow it up to put the Predators up 2-0 on Sarnia's home ice, a rink they have faired well at all season.
Sarnia would settle in and lead by captain Tyler Cicchini who would score a pair of goals including a power play goal late in the period would tie the game 2-2 after twenty minutes.
The Legionnaires needed only 22 seconds into the second to get their first lead as Jesse Drydak scored. Drydak would also get in on Anthony Donati's goal five minutes later as the Legionnaires took a 4-2 lead.
Lambton Shores would respond back, as Adam Arseneault would score his first midway through the second period to cut the lead to one. He would find the back of the net again, but it wouldn't be till midway through the third, as the Predators made it a 4-4 game.
Just over a minute later, Evan Dixon would score, in what would be the eventual game winner, as the Legionnaires take the first game of the Battle of Lambton County 1-0.
"They are going to compete hard and we are going to compete hard," said Rose. "There are no teams that are not going to play hard at this point. This isn't September, this is playoff time. This is what they signed up for."
"I thought our boys played really well," said Predators Head Coach Mark Davis. "If we play like that we will have a chance to win a couple. We have to keep our mistakes down to a minimum."
Davis' Predators are an inexperienced group in playoff hockey, and their coach could not be happier with their performance tonight, almost walking into the number one seeds home and taking a victory. Lambton Shores was 3-0 during the regular season playing at the Sarnia Arena while the Legionnaires are 3-0 playing at Lambton Shores.
"It is why I thought if we got that one goal [in the third] we could tie it up and we would be right there. We go back to forest and you never know what is going to happen."
Kyle Brothers could be out the remainder of the series with a broken shoulder, and the Predators have a host of other injuries.
Kyle Washer made 23 saves for the victory while Brandon Campbell made 28 in the loss.
Game two will go Saturday night in Lambton Shores.