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Legionnaires Take Series Lead
MARCH 6, 2015


By Dan McCaffery
 


The Sarnia Legionnaires are just one win away from advancing to the second round of the Western Jr. 'B' hockey playoffs.

Coach Dan Rose's squad defeated the St. Thomas Stars 4-1 Thursday to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven quarterfinal series.

Game Six goes tonight (Friday, March 6) in the Elgin County city.

A season-high crowd of 1,598 raucous fans witnessed a rugged contest that included two fights, a head butt and more than 90 minutes in penalties.

Strangely, there were no powerplay goals, with Sarnia going 0-for-3 with the man advantage and St. Thomas 0-for-4.

One of the Stars powerplays lasted a full five minutes. It came after P. J. Vandervaart was ejected for head butting.

Rose said it appeared St. Thomas was trying to engage some Sarnia players in altercations that would get them kicked out of the contest.

But the physical play was by no means one sided.

Rose noted Brandon Layman levelled a St. Thomas player with a hard check late in the game.

 



Rose gave the Stars credit for a strong work ethic. “They really do play hard. They're one of the hardest working teams that we play. They plug up the neutral zone and it's hard to get anything going.”

Ryan Vendramin opened the scoring at the 8:15 mark of the opening frame with an unassisted tally. Vendramin appeared to be trying to hit a teammate with a pass that somehow ended up in the back of the St. Thomas net.

The Legionnaires had two great chances to take a 2-0 lead but both were foiled by goalie Braden Polasek. On the first, the big netminder turned back a shorthanded breakaway by Ryan Trottier.

Moments later, Polasek beat Davis Boyer on a penalty shot attempt.

St. Thomas appeared to gain some momentum from those developments and Andrew Chambers was able to tie the game with less than three minutes left in the first period.

Captain Nathan Mater put Sarnia ahead for good early in the middle frame with a shorthanded, breakaway goal. Assists went to Hunter Tyczyski and Jake O'Donnell.

 



Stay-at-home defenceman Hayden Allen made it 3-1 at the 9:10 mark when he jumped on a rebound and fired a puck from the sideboards that went in off the goalkeeper's pads.

Helpers went to Jay Clarke and Mater.

 



Jordan Fogarty rounded out the scoring in the final period with a wrist shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle. Layman and Vendramin drew assists.
 


Game notes:

Andrew Masters got the win, making 22 saves. Braden Polasek was tagged with the loss, despite kicking out 30 pucks.

Davis Boyer was beaten on a first period penalty shot.

Sarnia's Bobby King was a healthy scratch but Rose said he will be back in the lineup Friday.

 



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