Legionnaires fall to red hot Maroons
friday december 13, 2013
By DAVE PAUL
photos by Pat Brethauer
The Sarnia Legionnaires put up a valiant fight but wound up dropping a 4-2 decision to the GOJHL Western Conference's hottest team, Thursday at Sarnia Arena.
Despite being outshot 38-26, the Chatham Maroons skated away with their sixth consecutive victory.
Playing for the first time in nine nights, the Legionnaires were slow getting out of the gates. Chatham carried the play early on and built a 2-0 lead by the midway part of the frame.
It was a lead they would not relinquish, though Jay Clarke got the Legionnaires on the board late in the period.
Former Lambton Shores stars Kyle Brothers and Adam Arseneault scored second period goals for Chatham, sandwiched around a Josh Kestner goal for the Legionnaires.
Kestner appeared to score another goal in the period, but it was waved off when the refs determined the net had been knocked off its pegs, unintentionally, prior to the puck entering the net.
Sarnia coach Dan Rose acknowledged that may have been a turning point, since it would have brought the Legion to within a goal. Still Sarnia had plenty of chances to score in the second, as well as the scoreless third period, as they outshot the Maroons by a significant margin each period.
Chatham goalie Jacob Keogh played a strong game to get the win while newly acquired Hunter Johnson -- a former Maroon, who was obtained from Niagara Falls of the Golden Horeshoe loop -- took the loss.
Following the game, Rose said he thought his team played a good game, despite the result.
"I thought we played well," said Rose. "They got a power play goal on us (in the first) and they have a very good power play.
"They're the hottest team in the league right now," said Rose, but "I thought we battled them all night."
Rose added if the Legionnaires play the same way on Friday night in St. Thomas, "I think we'll get two points."
He also said he felt the long layoff between games was a positive for his squad -- though he admitted they may have been "thinking a little too much" in the early going, about the drills the team had been doing for the past week-and-a-half.
But the long gap in the schedule "was a good thing," he said, adding it gave some of his injured players time to heal.
One injured player who probably won't be coming back is goalie Sean Parker. The acquisition of Johnson signals the likely end to his season and it leaves the Legionnaires with three goalies, though Rose was non-committal on the topic of which one of the three might be the odd man out.
The win for Chatham, coupled with a Strathroy victory over Leamington, put the sixth-place Legionnaires four points back of the fourth-place Maroons and three behind the Rockets in the battle for home ice advantage in round one of the playoffs.
Over on the other side of the arena, however, Maroons coach Mark Davis said he wasn't even thinking about playoff match-ups yet.
"It's too early for that ," said Davis, hastily adding, "and besides, we're looking at moving up."
Davis said his team is eyeing one of the top-3 spots in the standings, currently held by LaSalle, Leamington and London.
"We're playing really well right now," said Davis. "We're getting good goaltending and we're playing as a team. ... We're looking to stay on this roll for a while."