Two first period goals got the LaSalle Vipers off to a strong start and they would never relinquish that lead, going on to defeat the London Nationals on Sunday afternoon in LaSalle in front of the maximum capacity allowed of 500 fans.
In what was each team’s first game back from the month long COVID restriction break, the Vipers got goals from Stephane Crevier and Drew Booker to take a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes of play. The home side followed up with an even stronger middle frame, outshooting the visiting Nationals 24-17 in the period but were unable to capitalize on several glorious scoring chances and the score remained unchanged heading into the third.
Clinging to their one-goal lead, goaltender Kyle Downey stood tall in the third period to help fend off London’s push for an equalizer, until Andrew Kotevski notched the vital insurance goal at 12:44 of the period. Kotevski’s fourth goal of the season gave the Vipers some breathing room and they were able to close it out with Nic Pavia hitting the empty net at the buzzer to seal the deal in a 4-1 victory.
Downey, who was making his first start as a Viper sine joining the team from the Windsor Spitfires, stopped 36 of the 37 shots he faced to earn the win and Player of the Game honours. The Vipers outshot the Nationals 45-37 overall en route to defeating a London team who has been in first-place in the Western Conference standings all season.
The Vipers now move forward to a three-game week, beginning on Wednesday, February 9 when they host the Chatham Maroons. They will then hit the road on back-to-back nights, against St. Thomas on Friday and Komoka on Saturday.
February 6, 2022 – LaSalle Vipers 4 vs London Nationals 1
1st – 1:38 – Stephane Crevier (11) from Noah Morneau and Darby Drouillard – 1-0
1st – 10:32 – Drew Booker (6) from Jack Greenwell and Tanner Winegard – 2-0
1st – 11:10 – Jacob Julien from Logan Pace-Roth – 2-1
3rd – 12:44 – Andrew Kotevski (4) from Jake Eaton and Ryan Barwitzki – 3-1
3rd – 20:00 – Nic Pavia (12) – 4-1
W – Kyle Downey (1) 36/37