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Legionnaires eliminated in overtime
dan mccaffery march 3rd, 2011

In the end, it just wasn't meant to be.

That's how Sarnia Legionnaires coach Dan Rose summed up his team's 6-5 overtime loss to the London Nationals Thursday.

The setback, which came before more than 1,000 fans at the Brock Street Barn, eliminated the home team from the Western Ontario Hockey Conference quarterfinals in four straight games. Three of the contests were decided in overtime.

London was undoubtedly the better club, but the Nats had more than their share of good luck. In Game One, for example, they tied the match with less than two minutes to go on a fluke goal that bounced in off a Sarnia defender's skate with no Londoner within 20 feet of the Legionnaires cage.

Last night, a harmless looking shot from a bad angle eluded goalie Kyle Washer in the fourth period to decide the issue.

Shortly before that happened, Captain Tyler Cicchini got in alone and shot wide.

In regulation time, Sarnia missed on three breakaways, including one in which Jesse Drydak hit the post.

Overall, Sarnia outshot London 40-29.

Next year

Rose said he hopes to return as head coach next fall.

As for the team's prospects, Rose said, “We only lose three 20-year-olds and we may lose some to Major 'A.' But there's a ton of local talent right now. There are some in Mooretown (with the Jr. 'C' Flags) and in midget hockey.”

Rose said he told his players he was proud of the way they went down battling.

In fact, Sarnia stormed into a 4-1 lead at the end of the first frame, thanks to goals by Brent Sauve, Steve Farlow, Captain Tyler Cicchini and Andy Sokol.

Nathan Mater made it 5-3 in the third frame, but London got two late goals, including one on a powerplay and another with the goalie pulled for a sixth attacker, to force OT.

Game notes:

* Jeff Schroeter and Shawn Waldie had two assists each for Sarnia. Other helpers went to Jeff Paulley, Brent Sauve, Josh Chapman, Brent Sullivan, Drydak and Cicchini.

* The Nationals appeared to be trying to draw penalties throughout the series by writhing around on the ice after virtualy every hard body check. Many of their performances rivalled any death scene you'll ever see in a Shakespeare play.

* Legionnaires who played their last junior hockey game Thursday included Sullivan, Tanner Tomlinson and Owen Rogers. Rogers, a fan favourite, played four seasons with the club and was a key cog with the Legionnaire team that won the 2009 championship.


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