In what was a key game in the standings againt the St. Marys Lincolns, the LaSalle Vipers ended up on the wrong side of 4-2 decision on Friday night in St. Marys.
Coming into the game one point behind the Lincolns for third-place in the Western Conference, the Vipers got off on the wrong foot when Jacob Chantler scored for the home side just 29 seconds into the first period. The early tally was followed by another Lincolns goal midway through the period to stake them to a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes of play. They would add two more in the first 10 minutes of the middle frame to double their lead and chase Vipers starter Ian Michelone from the crease.
A playoff-like atmosphere resulted in several heated scrums and a slew of penalties in the second period to disrupt the flow of the game. LaSalle came on in the third and their efforts paid off, with goals by Nick Graniero and Lukas Samoila cutting the St. Marys lead in half. They would go on to out-shoot the Lincolns 19-3 overall in the third, but couldn’t get any closer as goaltender Carter George closed the door on any further scoring plays. Samoila’s goal was the first GOJHL marker for the rooke defenseman.
The loss and another St. Marys win on Saturday night moved the Lincolns five points ahead of the Vipers and catapuled them into first for the time being. While moving out of their current fourth-place position remains a possibility, the Vipers will need to take of business in their remaining seven games and get some help if they hope to move up in the standings.
An upcoming two-game week begins on Wednesday night when the team travels to London to take on the now third-place London Nationals. The Nationals are currently three points ahead of the Vipers and hold two games in hand as well.