After winning both of their games this week, the LaSalle Vipers find themselves atop the GOJHL’s Western Conference standings.
On Wednesday night in LaSalle, captain Nic Pavia scored the overtime winner to give the Vipers a 3-2 win over the visiting Chatham Maroons in a tightly contested game at the Vollmer Complex. The home side jumped out to a two-goal lead on goals by Shaun Horne and Noah Morneau, but the Maroons battled back with two of their own including the equalizer on a power-play late in the third.
Finding themselves in overtime for the second consecutive home game, LaSalle took advantage of their own power-play opportunity with Pavia’s persistent work in the offensive zone eventually paying off with him firing a shot past Chatham netminder Luka Dobrich for the game-winner.
Two nights later the Vipers travelled to St. Thomas for matchup with the Stars and a three-goal first period followed by Ryan Barwitzki’s first goal as a Viper 15 seconds into the second period staked the visitors to a 4-1 lead. The Stars however chipped away from there, cutting the lead to one mid-way through the third period and pressuring the rest of the way until Noah Morneau salted it away with an empty-netter in the final minute.
A rookie forward, Morneau has been a key cog to the Vipers early season success and was rewarded for his efforts with two goals and an assist in the game, while veteran forwards Stephane Crevier and Nic Pavia both tallied assists in the game to tie him at a team-leading six points through five games. The stellar play of goaltender Matthew Tovell also continued with him making 34 saves in each of the games against Chatham and St. Thomas and collecting his league-leading fourth victory in the process.
Through five games of the young regular-season, LaSalle now has a record of 4-0-1 and sit in first-place in the Western Conference. The team has rattled off three straight victories and are the only team in the division yet to lose in regulation.
Despite the early season success, every game remains a challenge, and that will continue in the upcoming week. On Wednesday, October 13 the Sarnia Legionnaires will be in town, and then the Vipers will make the quick turn around for the second meeting of the season with the Leamington Flyers the following night. A trip to Komoka on Saturday night closes out the three-game week.
Game-time for Wednesday night’s home game against Sarnia is 7:00 PM.