Slow start hurts Legionnaires
LaSalle scores four goals in first period to defeat Sarnia 5-3
A poor first period was too much for the Sarnia Legionnaires to overcome Wednesday.
The Legionnaires allowed four goals in the opening frame of a 5-3 loss to the Vipers before 487 fans at the Vollmer Recreation Complex in LaSalle.
The Legionnaires cut their three-goal deficit to one in the second period before the comeback fizzled.
Captain Alec DeKoning scored two more goals for the Legionnaires.
DeKoning leads the Western Conference and is tied for fourth in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League with 20 goals in 22 games. He’s fifth in the conference and 16th in the league with 35 points.
Cameron Ware also scored in the Legionnaires’ third consecutive loss.
The Legionnaires (11-8-0-4) have dropped into a fourth-place tie with the Vipers (12-12-1-1). They’re only one point ahead of the sixth-place St. Thomas Stars (1111-1-2), although Sarnia has played two fewer games than St. Thomas and three fewer than LaSalle.
“There is a lot of parity in the league,” Legionnaires head coach Derek Di Muzio said recently. “Every game’s an opportunity for growth. I’ve just challenged our young guys to be ready to play and grow as a player.”
Legionnaires goalie Jakob Knowles made 24 saves. Jackson Bernard of the Vipers made 25.
The loss ended the Legionnaires’ five-game point streak. They lost their previous two games in overtime after winning three in a row.
DeKoning opened the scoring at 4:27, but the Vipers potted the next four goals.
Brett Vorshuk tallied at 7:45, Gianluca Pizzuto at 10:04 and Colton Krzeminski at 14:27, then Evan Ferguson scored with 14 seconds left in the first period for a 4-1 lead.
The Vipers outshot the Legionnaires 15-8 in the first period.
The Legionnaires quickly stole momentum in the second. DeKoning scored his second of the game at the 10-second mark.
Ware made it a one-goal game by scoring at 10:20 of the second. Bernard shut out the Legionnaires the rest of the way.
A.J. Ryan of the Vipers scored an empty-netter with 1:08 left in the third.
The Legionnaires will host the Strathroy Rockets at 7:10 p.m. Thursday at Sarnia Arena.