The LaSalle Vipers saw the Leamington Flyers score four goals in the second period and six unanswered goals in total to blow the doors open on a lopsided victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Thursday night in Leamington.
After Flyers rookie forward Griffin Grundner opened the scoring on a power-play at 7:17 of the first period, fellow rookie Carson Woodall tallied a power-play marker of his own to bring the Vipers level at 15:33, in what was a good opening period for the visitors. However, losing defenseman Owen Findlay to a game misconduct for a check-from-behind early in that first period certainly did not help the Vipers chances for a road win, and a poor middle frame saw the game get away from them.
William Van Sumeren got the second period scoring barrage started early with his fourth of the playoffs just under a minute into the period, and then three more Flyers goals in an eight-minute span put the score at 5-1 through 40 minutes of play. The fifth Flyers goal from Adrian Bosev chased Vipers starter Ian Michelone from the crease, with Tre Altiman replacing him for the rest of the night.
Leamington would go on to score three more in the third, with Spencer Lecot picking up LaSalle’s second power-play goal of the game at a time when the outcome was already long decided. A scrum following Leamington’s eighth goal late in the third resulted in some tension both on the ice and on the benches, but things settled down as the final seconds ticked away on an 8-2 Flyers win on home ice.
Ryan MacPherson, Trevor Larue and Hayden Reid all had three-point outings for the Flyers who outshot the Vipers 34-28 overall in front of a big crowd of 1157 at the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre.
The series now shifts to LaSalle for Game 2 on Saturday night, where the Vipers will look to even the series in front of their fans. Game-time from the Vollmer Complex is set for 7:00 PM.