By Dan McCaffery
Backup goalie Andrew Ganter's splendid play in the shootout helped the Sarnia Legionnaires edge the Stoney Creek Warriors 4-3 Thursday.
Before a crowd 1,130 roaring fans, Ganter made two saves and stopped another Warrior shooter with a nifty poke-check to earn the win.
In the five-minute sudden death overtime that preceded the penalty shot competition, the big netminder made four saves, giving him a total of 28 on the night. He now sports a 2-2 won-lost record.
Davis Boyer made sure Ganter's heroics weren't in vain by scoring the winner after an electrifying deke.
"Andrew did a good job in the shootout,” Legionnaires head coach Dan Rose said afterward. ”He kept his composure. It was his first shootout.”
But Rose was less than pleased with his club's overall effort.
"That was a terribly, sloppy game,” he said, adding the Legionnaires were undisciplined throughout much of the evening.
"They (Stoney Creek) are not a good team,” he continued. “We dropped down to their level.”
The victory evened Sarnia's record at 8-8-2, good enough for a tie with St. Thomas for seventh place in the Western Ontario Hockey Conference.
The victory was Sarnia's fourth in the last five games.
Stoney Creek, a Golden Horseshoe Conference also-ran, has won only four of 19 contests.
Jason Teschke got the game's first goal in the first period, finishing off a play that involved Boyer and Derek D'Andrea.
In the second frame, with the Warriors ahead 2-1, rookie defenceman Jeff King notched his first of the season with a sensational end-to-end rush.
"It feels good to get it (the scoring drought) off my back,” King said later. He added he saw an open lane and took advantage of it to get right in on goal.
Boyer made the score 3-2 Sarnia early in the third stanza with a shorthanded breakaway goal set up by Jeff Bauer. Newcomer Chandler Allen also drew an assist.
But the Warriors tied it with six minutes left, forcing OT.
King thought the Legionnaires took Stoney Creek too lightly. "We found out they're a team too and they weren't going to just let us win,” he said.
Rose said King's goal was of the “TSN highlight reel” variety.
He added Sarnia deserved to win, despite its sloppy play, because it scored a number of pretty goals on great individual efforts.
The Legionnaires return to action Sunday when they travel to Kitchener to face the Dutchmen of the Midwest Conference. Their next home game is next Thursday, when they host the Lambton Shores Predators. Game time at the Brock Street Barn is set for 7:10 p.m.