On Thursday night in Chatham, Patrick McManus’ goal at 6:00 of the third period broke a 3-3 score and lifted the LaSalle Vipers to a 4-3 victory and a 2-0 series lead on the Chatham Maroons in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series.
Wylie Birkett got the visitors off to a good start with a breakaway goal early in the first period, but the Maroons would go on to score twice, including Connor Paronuzzi’s goal with one second left on the clock. In the second period, the Vipers twice battled back from single-goal deficits of 2-1 and 3-2, on goals by Adriano Tonin and then Lee Knight to level the score at 3-3 through 40 minutes of play.
An evenly played game throughout, McManus tallied the game-winner by putting away a rebound off a Spencer Lecot shot for his second goal of the series. The Vipers penalty-kill held the dangerous Maroons power-play in check for the second straight game, including an important one late in the third, where Chatham was unable to muster much threat to Ian Michelone. The Vipers netminder made 30 saves total in the game as the buzzer sounded on a 4-3 LaSalle victory.
Tonin and McManus each scored for the second straight game, while a goal and a hard-working all-around effort by Lee Knight earned him Player of the Game honours.
The two teams will now enjoy a couple days off to rest, before Sunday night’s Game 3 in Chatham.