The LaSalle Vipers dropped both of their games this week to extend their winless streak to five games, in what has been a been a tough month on the ice for the team.
Playing at home for the first time in two weeks, the Vipers took on the surging Komoka Kings on Wednesday night in LaSalle, and much like the previous two meetings between the two teams, this one was another entertaining affair.
Kings leader-scorer Carter McLlwain scored the lone goal of the first period and the score remained at 1-0 until Nick Graniero’s first career goal on a power-play knotted things up through 40 minutes of play. Komoka would then move back in front early in the third to set the stage for the thrilling finish. The home side poured it on throughout the rest of the period, sending a barrage of shots on Kings netminder Omar Hage. Looking seemingly unbeatable, Hage finally yielded when Patrick McManus jammed in a rebound in a mad scramble to tie the game with 22 seconds remaining in regulation. LaSalle then just missed winning the game in the final seconds, but Nic Pavia’s wrister from the slot found the iron and stayed out.
In the 3on3 overtime, Vipers goaltender Matt Tovell denied McLlwain on a breakaway and then made another great save on the rebound, but the Kings forward recovered the puck, and showed great patience in waiting for an opening before sending a perfect pass over to Easton Cowan who beat a helpless Tovell for the game-winner. Hage was no doubt the first star of the game as the Vipers outshot the Kings 52-29 and 37-17 over the final two periods.
Hoping to build on the point they rescued the previous night, LaSalle then faced a quick turnaround when they travelled to Sarnia for the first time this season to take on the Legionnaires. With goaltender Matt Tovell dressing for the Windsor Spitfires on this night, Ethan Dagenais got the start in goal and didn’t get off to the start he nor the team were looking for. Sarnia scored twice in the first three minutes of the opening frame, and then after Stephane Crevier cut the lead to one, Jett Morningstar snuck another by Dagenais to restore the two-goal lead and chase the LaSalle netminder from the game.
The Vipers scored twice in the second period on goals by Jack Greenwell and Gabe Barrette, and Sarnia scored their fifth of the night to carry a 5-3 lead heading into the third. And much like how the game started, the Legionnaires got an early outburst, scoring two goals eight seconds apart in the opening minute of the period on Jr. C call-up Ethan Carlone who had replaced Dagenais. The goals didn’t completely take the wind out of the Vipers sail as they went on to outshoot the Legionnaires 23-8 in the period and got one back on Tanner Winegard’s third goal of the season, but Sarnia netminder Nolan Dekoning shut the door the rest of the way to preserve the 6-4 victory.
Having picked up just the one point in their last five contests, the Vipers will face the same scenario next week with another back-to-back. The St. Marys Lincolns will be in LaSalle on Wednesday night, and then the Vipers will head to Leamington the next night to take on the rival Flyers.