Legionnaires shoot down Strathroy Rockets
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.