By Damon Proctor – September 27th, 2023
After some tough results in the GOJHL Showcase this past weekend, the Vipers looked to bounce back in the win column at home against the Komoka Kings. Dante Bertolin was given the nod to start in between the pipes for his GOJHL debut. The start of the game saw LaSalle putting on the pressure in the offensive zone, however no results would come out of the early time on attack. LaSalle’s Ryan Clark would take the first penalty of the game for hooking about four minutes into the game. Eventually, the Kings managed to swing the momentum, and struck first just over halfway through the frame. The Vipers wouldn’t take too long to respond, as three minutes later, Adriano Tonin would find the McManus rebound to tie it up at 1. At the end of the period , Gage Evans and Jack Jarvis would receive offsetting unsportsmanlike penalties, but Jarvis also received a roughing penalty. The shots in the first were 13-10 in favor of LaSalle, and the Vipers would start the 2nd period on the power play.
The offence started period 2 off hot, with an early powerplay goal by Ryan Clark. This gave LaSalle their first lead of the game and swung the momentum tremendously. LaSalle would control the period with the majority of time on attack or in the neutral zone. Around the 11:15 mark, Nicholas Graniero would pot his first of the game after receiving a phenomenal blue line to blue line pass from Kyle Greene. LaSalle would run into more penalty trouble, as Drew Booker would receive a 2 minute head contact penalty and a misconduct. Despite this, the PK unit would strike not once, but twice within the second period! Thanks to goals from Graniero and Greene, the Vipers would take a commanding 5-1 lead heading into the final period. Shots on goal after 40 minutes were 32-20 in favor of LaSalle.
The primary objective in period number 3 was for the Vipers to control and maintain their 4 goal lead over the Kings. Komoka would receive a penalty early in the frame for falling on the puck, a penalty you don’t see too often. Shortly after, Jaksen Ward (LaSalle), Riley Alexander (Komoka), and Ethan Alexander (Komoka) would all receive offsetting penalties for roughing after the whistle. Graniero would also take a slashing penalty, however LaSalle’s PK unit would stop Komoka once more and go a perfect 6/6 on the penalty kill. Adriano Tonin would tap in the final goal of the game after a great effort and pass from McManus along the boards. The final score was 6-1 LaSalle, with the shots being 44-30 for the Vipers. The player of the game was awarded to the man in between the pipes, Dante Bertolin. He stopped 29/30 shots and got his debut win in the GOJHL.
The Vipers will look to carry this momentum as they head up to St. Marys Friday night. Puck drop against the Lincolns is at 7:30pm.