After beginning the week with a big home win over the St. Marys Lincolns, the LaSalle Vipers took to the road for two weekend games.
On Saturday night, a back-and-forth affair with the Komoka Kings ended with Abdul Abouzeeni scoring into an empty net in double overtime. Wanting the two points to improve their position in the standings, the Kings rolled the dice and elected to pull their goalie in the final minute of the game. Down to what was likely the last chance, Abouzeeni hit the empty net from near center ice to give the Vipers the 5-4 win. For the second time in as many games against Komoka, LaSalle was able to rescue the game late when Spencer Paradis tied things up with 1:18 to go in regulation to get the game to overtime. Paradis, who set up the first goal of the game with a nice feed to Jack Bowler, was later named Player of the Game. Sami Molu made 41 saves to pick up his third straight victory and his 13th total on the season.
On Sunday, what was originally scheduled to be a 7:00 PM game-time was moved up to 2:30 to accommodate Super Bowl Sunday, which made for a quick turnaround for the Vipers as they travelled to Chatham to take on the Maroons for the final time in the regular-season. The two teams fed off the energy in the crowd and it resulted in a fast pace and some hard checking.
Trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes of play, the Vipers pressed hard in the second period to try and solve Maroons netminder Bryce Walcarius who kept his team ahead with some spectacular saves. Outshooting the Maroons 15-5 in the period, the Vipers finally got one by Walcarius when Abdul Abouzeeni made a great seam pass through the slot to Colton Krzeminski who just as neatly deposited it into the net at 17:19 of the middle frame. A minute later, a huge hit by Evan Ferguson created a turnover in the Maroons zone and it resulted in Derek Berdusco scoring his first career goal to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the 2nd intermission.
Carrying the momentum from the late second period rally into the third, LaSalle had several quality chances for the go-ahead goal but Walcarius was there to turn them aside and allow his team to push forward for the one chance they needed. And that proved to be the case after some nice work circling the zone by Dallas Maurovic led to Lucas Fancy’s goal at 11:46 of the period. The Vipers had some more flurries around the Chatham net and went on to outshoot the Maroons 38-28 overall but could not find the equalizer on this day.
Now with a record of 21-14-1-5, the Vipers remain in fourth-place in the Western Conference, seven points back of their next opponent the St. Marys Lincolns. LaSalle holds a game in hand on both St. Mary’s and fifth-place Chatham who have crept to within four points. If the Vipers are unable to catch the Lincolns, it would set-up a likely first-round playoff series with Chatham.