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Legionnaires Power Their Way to Victory

thursday November 28, 2013

Story and Photos by DAVE PAUL


Photos by Dave Paul

Advantage Legionnaires.

The Sarnia Legionnaires' power play proved too much for the St. Thomas Stars, Thursday night at Sarnia Arena.

Sarnia was an incredible 6-for-6 with the man advantage en route to a big 7-3 victory.

The win moved the Legionnaires into a fourth place tie with Strathroy in the Greater Ontario Jr. Hockey League Western Conference standings.

What would wind up being a wide open contest actually began with a scoreless first period.

Nathan Mater (in the net) was shaken up a bit on the play late in the third.
He didn't come out to acknowledge his third star selection, However Coach Dan Rose said he is OK.

Nathan Mater opened the scoring with Sarnia's only even-strength goal, early in the second, but the Stars tied it shortly thereafter.
The game passed the halfway period tied at 1-1. But three St. Thomas minor penalties in the second half of the period led to three Sarnia power play goals -- by Riley Babkirk, Ryan Vendramin and Josh Kestner -- giving the Legionnaires a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.

St. Thomas tried to battle back in the third, getting the first goal, then another after the Legionnaires scored again, but the Stars never got closer than two goals.

Tyler Prong, Cody Trowell and Vendramin had power play goals in the third to cinch the victory for Sarnia.

After the game, Sarnia coach Dan Rose said it was one of his team's best efforts of the year. He added he was pleased that each of the team's power play units scored three goals apiece. He said the key to the power play success was passing the puck around to force the other teams' defence to collapse, then "getting pucks to the net."

"Our power play was already running at 30 per cent at home. It'll be even better after tonight," said Rose. "We have a lot of skilled guys ... they really moved the puck around well tonight."

Sarnia goalie Braden Palocz was not severely tested as the Legionnaires outshot St. Thomas by a wide margin -- 53-22.

Vendramin ended up with four points on the night -- two goals and two assists -- while Trowell and Kestner each had one goal and two assists.

#6 Josh Kestner Alabama bound

It was a big day for Kestner, the game's first star. It has been revealed -- though not officially announced yet -- that the highly-skilled centre has been offered a scholarship at the Univ. of Alabama (his home state).

The Legionnaires will likely face a much tougher test in their next game. Sarnia visits Leamington on Sunday.










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