Trottier Gives Legionnaires Series Lead


By Dan McCaffery
File photo


Ryan Trottier went from goat to hero Wednesday as the Sarnia Legionnaires stunned the LaSalle Vipers 4-3 in Jr. 'B' hockey playoff action.

The veteran Legionnaire took a four minute high-sticking penalty near the end of the third period, putting his team in dire jeopardy heading into sudden death overtime.

But the Sarnians killed off the infraction and then Trottier scored to give them a 3-2 lead in games in the best-of-seven quarterfinal series.

Game six goes Saturday at the Brock Street barn.

Trottier found the back of the net during a wild scramble in front of the Vipers cage. Captain Hunter Tyczynski assisted on what was Trottier's second tally of the series.

"Trottier got the puck in the slot and it was bobbling,” head coach Mark Davis said later. “I said, 'please bury it, please bury it.'”
The goal capped off a furious rally by the Legionnaires, who trailed 3-1 late in the second period.

"They took the lead and we didn't give up,” Davis said. “The boys played hard from start to finish. I'm very proud of them.”

First period

The first stanza was a back-and-forth affair with the only goal coming off the stick of Sarnia's Jordan Fogarty. With just over a minute left in the frame, Fogarty unloaded a cannonading drive from the dot in the faceoff circle that beat netminder Eli Billing high on the glove side. Rookie rearguard Derrick Johnson and Tyczynski had helpers on the play.

Johnson, a stay-at-home defenceman who scored only six points during the regular season, now has three playoff points to his credit.

Second period

LaSalle took command of the contest in the middle stanza, scoring three consecutive goals, including a power-play tally and a shorthanded marker. Liam MacDougall had two goals for the home team while Manny Silverio had the third.

But Alec DeKoning got the visitors close before the second intermission, hitting the top corner after being set up by 16-year-old midget callup Nash Nienhuis. For DeKoning, it was his fourth of the post season.

Third period

Sarnia pressed hard in the third and was rewarded at the 8:16 mark when Brendan Shagena tied the game. His goal, which was set up by defencemen Brad Yowart and Eric Marsh, came at the end of a long shift in which the Legionnaires had the Vipers on their heels. In fact, moments before the goal was scored, DeKoning was robbed on the doorstep by Billing.

Brandon Layman almost won the game for Sarnia after that, rattling a shot off the post.

Scoring ace Ryan Vendramin did some good work defensively, making his second big shot block of the game in this period.


Goalie Shayne Battler and defenceman Brett Storr were especially strong on the penalty kill as Sarnia started the first 3:36 of OT a man short.

"Battler's done everything I've asked of him,” Davis said. “In the third period with about a minute to go he made an outstanding save on a partial breakaway.”

With less than five minutes left in the first overtime session, Trottier shocked a big LaSalle crowd with his winning tally.

Final shots on goal were 49-44 for LaSalle.

Davis warned the series is not over yet. “LaSalle is definitely not going to come into our barn (on Saturday) and lay down. We're going to have to bring our 'A' game.”


Saturday game begins at 7:10 pm.





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