By Gary Rennie
SARNIA – The LaSalle Vipers opened their first round of playoffs with a big win 6-2 in Sarnia Thursday night.
Surviving early pressure from the Legionnaires behind the 38-save goaltending of Will Tragge, the Vipers built a 2-0 lead by the middle of the first period and never trailed after that.
Spencer Paradis got the first goal, assisted by captain Brett Vorshuk and defence man Gianluca Pizzuto. And just 37 seconds later, Stephane Crevier added a power play goal, assisted by Vorshuk and defence man Dylan Robinson.
Sarnia’s Blake Butler got one back, but late in the first period, Aaron Shaw rebuilt the two-goal lead, assisted by Colton Krzeminski. And just 46 seconds later, Matt Carvalho added another, assisted by A.J. Ryan and Robinson.
Sarnia’s Aaron Jamieson got the only goal of the second period.
Just 31 seconds into the third period, Kory Silverio scored, assisted by Ryan and defence man Stefan Dobrich.
Evan Ferguson added a short handed, empty net goal with about two minutes to go to end the scoring, with assists from defence man Danny Skinner and Jack Bowler.
Special teams played a big role in the game with LaSalle taking 13 penalties and Sarnia, eight. The Vipers killed off all eight power play chances against them and scored once in their four chances.
Tragge stopped 38 of 40 shots, and Sarnia’s Jacob Knowles stopped 33 of 38.
Game two in the series is back at the Vollmer Centre, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Elsewhere Thursday in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, Leamington was upset 1-0 by Strathroy and Komoka upset Chatham 2-1.
(To see an album of photos from Thursday’s game, follow the link to the Vipers’ Facebook page.)