LaSalle Vipers beat Sarnia 5-2 Sunday for 3-0 series lead

By Gary Rennie

SARNIA – They’ll be calling him the Ironman.

Playing his fourth game in three days, LaSalle Vipers’ defence man Dylan Robinson’s unassisted goal in the second period was the winner in a 5-2 victory Sunday over the Sarnia Legionnnaires.

The Vipers are now up 3-0 in the first round playoff series with the fourth game back at the Vollmer Centre, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Robinson played Sunday afternoon for the Windsor Spitfires in Windsor and then was driven to Sarnia in time to suit up for the Vipers, capping off an Ironman weekend.

Robinson, a third-round draft pick for the Spitfires in 2018, played Friday in Guelph, scoring a goal and picking up an assist. And then he had a three-point night for the Vipers Saturday in their 6-3 home win over Sarnia.

“Robby had an unbelievable weekend,” said Vipers’ head coach John Nelson. “He handled it like a professional. He should be proud of himself.”

Both teams tried to manage his playing time so he didn’t burn out and Robinson himself “is a very smart hockey player” who knew how to handle the demands of the multiple games, said Nelson

Continuing his hot scoring streak in the series, Vipers’ captain Brett Vorshuk got the opening goal on an early first-period power play Sunday, with assists from Robinson and Jack Bowler.

Kory Silverio added a power play goal less than three minutes later, assisted by A.J. Ryan, for a 2-0 lead.

“Tonight we came out super hot,” said Nelson. But some “undisciplined penalties” gave Sarnia a chance to get back in the game, he added.

Sarnia tied it up before the end of the first period on a goal by Ryan Barwitzki, and a power play goal by Blake Butler.

Nelson praised Vipers’ goalie Will Tragge for some big saves when needed and giving the team confidence to play aggressively in front of him. “Tragge was fantastic tonight,” said Nelson. “He’s on his game.”

The Vipers got insurance goals in the first half of the third period from defence man Abdul Abouzeeni, assisted by Jack Chumley, and by Spencer Paradis on the power play, assisted by defence man Gianluca Pizzuto.

As with the first two games of the series, both teams took turns filling the penalty box with a total of 23 penalties called.

Nelson said Sunday’s game reinforced the message of avoiding bad penalties. “We’re going to be ready for Wednesday,” he said.

Tragge stopped 32 of 34 shots for the win. Sarnia’s Jakob Knowles stopped 35 of 41 shots. Knowles was pulled with just over two minutes left in the game, but the Vipers’ held firm.