The LaSalle Vipers will get a taste of playoff hockey before they even begin.
Wins over Chatham on Wednesday night and Komoka on Saturday night have set up a ‘winner takes third-place’ showdown against the St. Marys Lincolns in the regular-season finale for both teams on Sunday night in LaSalle.
On Wednesday night in LaSalle, the Vipers skated to a 8-3 victory over the Chatham Maroons in a spirited affair that had a playoff-like atmosphere of its own. Second period goals by Spencer Lecot, Drew Booker, and Ethan Martin broke open a game that was tied at 2-2 through 20 minutes of play. Their goals gave the Vipers a 5-3 lead after two and they would tack on three more in the third to result in the 8-3 win in front of the home fans.
Needing at least a point to keep their third-place hopes alive, the Vipers were able to get some separation from the Komoka Kings in a high-scoring second period that saw them score three times in a seven-minute span and four total in the period for a 6-3 lead through 40 minutes. Jack Greenwell’s power-play goal brought the Kings within one, but they couldn’t come up with an equalizer and Andrew Kotevski salted it away with an empty net goal with just over a minute left in regulation. Kotevski scored twice in the game, while Patrick McManus and Lee Knight each put up one goal and one assist. It was the sixth straight game with a goal for McManus. Tre Altiman made 37 stops for his 17th win of the season in net.
With one game to go, LaSalle trails St. Marys by one point for third-place in the Western Conference, with Leamington and London locking up first and second place respectively. The two teams will meet on Sunday night in LaSalle to wrap up the regular-season in a game that was supposed to be played this past Wednesday but was postponed due to the ice storm. The Vipers will need to win in either regulation or overtime in order to overtake the Lincolns, and will then know whether it is Chatham or Strathroy whom they will play in the first round.
Game-time from the Vollmer is set for 7:00 PM Sunday night.