Le­gion­naires shoot down Strathroy Rock­ets

The Observer (Sarnia) - - SPORTS - DAN MCCAF­FERY

A stel­lar forecheck­ing and cy­cling dis­play al­lowed the Sar­nia Le­gion­naires to de­feat the Strathroy Rock­ets 4-3 Thurs­day.

With the win Sar­nia im­proved its record to 12-8-0-4 and moved into sole possession of fourth place in the nine-team West­ern On­tario Hockey Con­fer­ence stand­ings.

The tri­umph also snapped the Le­gion crew's three-game los­ing streak.

Coach Derek Di Muzio's charges hemmed the Rock­ets in their own zone for most of the game's fi­nal two min­utes, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for them to pull their goalie for a sixth at­tacker.

"We cy­cled the puck re­ally well and pro­tected it re­ally well,” Di Muzio said.

The bench boss sin­gled out for­ward Nolan DeGurse for praise, say­ing, “He was out­stand­ing. He's a spark­plug, an hon­est player who is con­stantly try­ing to be the first player in on the forecheck.

DeGurse said the Le­gion­naires have been work­ing on their forecheck­ing and cy­cling in prac­tise. “We fo­cus on that, and keep­ing the puck away from the goalie so he can't help clear it.”

DeGurse got the home team off on the right foot early in the conFRIDAY, test, ma­te­ri­al­iz­ing in the slot at pre­cisely the right mo­ment, like a wizard in a chil­dren's fairy tale, to take Rock­ets goalie Josh Di­a­mond by sur­prise.

"Aaron Jamieson made a nice pass from be­hind the net right onto the tape of my stick,” DeGurse said when asked to de­scribe the goal. He added Lo­gan Gard­ner's hard work in the cor­ner also helped make the tally pos­si­ble.

A few min­utes later Blake But­ler made it 2-0, us­ing a Strathroy de­fence­man as a screen be­fore snap­ping home a low drive on the stick side that seemed to take Di­a­mond by sur­prise.

Jon Sanderson and Bren­dan Ken­nette as­sisted.

Af­ter the vis­i­tors pulled within one goal in the mid­dle stanza, Jamieson was Johnny-on-thes­pot, fir­ing home a re­bound af­ter Cap­tain Alec DeKon­ing rang a shot off the post. Ben Schoch also had a helper on the play.

Isaac McLean made it 4-1 early in fi­nal frame, fin­ish­ing off a twoon-one break with Wil Redick. Kobe Fer­reira also picked up an as­sist.

The Le­gion­naires out­shot the Rock­ets 48-29 but might have lost any­way, if not for the strong goal­tend­ing of backup net­man Nolan DeKon­ing, who made two sen­sa­tional stops in the sec­ond pe­riod.


Sar­nia Le­gion­naires for­ward Nolan DeGurse cuts in front of Strathroy Rock­ets goalie Josh Di­a­mond dur­ing Jr. ‘B’ hockey ac­tion Thurs­day at Sar­nia Arena. DeGurse had a goal as the home team edged the vis­i­tors 4-3.

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