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Vipers Beat Legionnaires

january 8, 2015


By Dan McCaffery

The Sarnia Legionnaires lost a chipping, frustrating game to the LaSalle Vipers Thursday.

Coach Dan Rose's Western Jr. 'B' hockey club was defeated 5-3 at the Brock Street barn.

The Legionnaires are now 24-11, good enough for second place in the Western Jr. 'B' standings, six points ahead of Chatham.

But the front running Leamington Flyers defeated the Lambton Shores Predators 2-1 Thursday to move nine points ahead of the Legionnaires. With only 14 games left in the regular schedule, that's probably an insurmountable lead.

It was a penalty-filled affair that saw Sarnia captain Nathan Mater ejected for kicking an opponent. He is expected to receive a multiple game suspension.

There was bad blood throughout the contest, which saw LaSalle score two power play goals on eight chances. The Legionnaires were 0-for-7 with the man advantage.

With Sarnia trailing 2-0 in the second period, Ryan Vendramin got the home team on the board with a low drive from the slot. Riley Babkirk and Jordan Fogarty collected assists on what was Vendramin's 13th goal of the season.

In the third period, with Sarnia down 3-1, Vendramin cut right in front of the Vipers net before being stopped. But Fogarty jumped on the rebound and scored his ninth of the year. Babkirk drew his second assist of the night on the play.

Newcomer Connor Andersen scored Sarnia's third goal with a shot from the point in the last minute of play, making the score 4-3.

Moments later, the Vipers scored into an empty net to seal the win.

Sarnia had 41 shots on winning goalie Eli Billing.

Andrew Masters made 29 saves in the Sarnia cage.

Andersen, a native of Oakville, was obtained in a cash deal with the Brampton Bombers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League's Midwest Conference.

Andersen, who stands 6'3 and weighs 215 pounds, said he likes to use his size to help him win battles for the puck in the corners.

He has four goals this campaign, including one scored for the Georgetown Raiders Jr. 'A' squad. He also had two goals and five assists for the Bombers.

Sarnia head coach Dan Rose said, “We're pleased (with Andersen). He hasn't even practised with us. He just showed up today. He played a good game, controlled his man and played hard.”

Rose used the new rearguard in all situations, including penalty kills and power plays.

LaSalle's goals were credited to Nathan Savage, Dalton Langlois, Nikko Sablone, Connor Roassen and Nicolas Crecenzi.

Rose said, “I thought we played well. We played a good game.”


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