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Maroons Nip Legionnaires
thursday november 6, 2014

By Dan McCaffery

The Sarnia Legionnaires are starting to fade from the race for first place.

Coach Dan Rose's club lost its fourth game in five starts Thursday, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Chatham Maroons.

As a result, Sarnia finds itself in second place in the Western Ontario Hockey Conference standings, four points back of the front running Leamington Flyers. Sarnia has three games in hand on the Tomato Town team.

The Legionnaires were solidly in first after coming out of the gate with 13 straight wins. But a rash of injuries and suspensions has hurt the club in recent weeks.

“We didn't play that bad tonight,” Rose said. “They outworked us for a little bit, but it was one of those games that could have gone either way.”

He added the visitors got some lucky bounces, including one where the puck was batted out of the air into the net.
Rose also praised his penalty killers, who fought off a couple of shorthanded situations.

Sarnia was missing three players, including suspended defencemen Sam McCormack and Tyler Prong and injured forward Ryan Trottier.

“With guys out of the lineup there were some mismatches out there,” he said.

The Maroons outshot Sarnia 39-25.

Legionnaire goals came off the sticks of Jay Clarke (his fourth), Riley Babkirk (his 11th) and Cody Trowell with his 17th.

Babkirk's tally was a beauty that saw him burst in alone before whipping the puck into the net from point blank range.

Rookie rearguard Jake O'Donnell had two assists and earned third star honours.

Brayden Hopkins got the winner for Chatham, scoring the only goal of the third period. Other Maroons marksmen included Jared Dennis (with a pair) and Trevor Richardson.

Although he was tagged with the loss, goalie Hunter Johnson played a solid game. Included among his saves was a sprawling stop on sniper Michael Verboom, who came streaking in on a breakway.

The Legionnaires are in St. Thomas Friday.

They return home next Thursday when they will host the Lambton Shores Predators. Game time at the Sarnia Arena is set for 7:10 p.m.






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