By Gary Rennie
Two goals from A.J. Ryan, the team’s top scorer, sparked the LaSalle Vipers’ 6-2 rout of the Strathroy Rockets Wednesday at the Vollmer Complex.
Down one less than three minutes into the first period, Ryan’s back-to-back goals and high energy set a pace and confidence level that spread through all four lines.
The newest Viper, Jack Chumley got the game winning goal off a pass from defence man Dylan Robinson early in the second period. .
“We didn’t panic when we went down (a goal),” said Chumley. “I thought we had a really good 200-foot night.”
On his first goal as a Viper (in his second game), Chumley said the pass from Robinson made it easy. “I just wanted to get to the net with my stick on the ice,” Chumley said.
Head coach John Nelson praised Chumley’s maturity and thoughtful approach to the game. “He brings a professional attitude to the room,” Nelson said. Chumley was acquired from Waterloo, Dec. 28.
The Vipers’ outshot the Rockets 35-19 with 21 of those coming in a second period barrage and goals by Zane Dalpe and captain Brett Vorshuk, following the eventual winner by Chumley.
Vipers’ goalie Will Tragge stopped 17 of 19 for the win. Cody Schneider closed out the scoring for the Vipers late in the third period.
With three veteran defence men out the lineup due to illness or injury, rookie forward Matt Carvalho moved back and never looked out of place.
“We thought he did an excellent job for us,” said Nelson. He said figuring out how to fill the gap on defence took a lot of thought and review with head scout Andrew Sykes. Ultimately, “We thought Carvalho would be responsible,” Nelson said.
Rookie forward Colton Krzeminski was the players’ post-game choice for player of the game.
Nelson said Krzeminski has pushed his game to another level in recent weeks and his line (with Chumley and Stephane Crevier) was again outstanding.
All four Vipers’ lines factored in the scoring. Ryan picked up an assist on Dalpe’s goal for a three-point night.
The Vipers are on the road in St. Thomas Friday.