By Dan Rankin
After a promising 2-2 start, the St. Marys Lincolns’ fortunes have taken a turn for the worse, as three lopsided defeats in the past week have staked them to a five-game losing streak. Though it has meant seeing the team slip into last place in the Western Conference, there’s still plenty of games left to rebound – last season the Lincolns didn’t get their second ‘W’ until their 18th game. These Lincolns (2-7-0-0) have nine games to try to best that mark, and they’ll begin that quest tonight with a rematch against the LaSalle Vipers, beginning 7:30 pm at the Pyramid Centre.
The Vipers (5-2-0-2) outskated St. Marys on Wednesday night at the Vollmer Recreation Complex, on the way to an 8-2 win. The win increased LaSalle’s remarkable winning streak over the Lincolns to 23 games. The last time St. Marys beat the Vipers was a 5-3 road win on Nov. 21, 2012.
St. Marys’ Alessio Luciani had a goal and an assist in the loss, giving him eight points in nine games. Dylan Nafziger scored the other goal for the Lincolns.
LaSalle managed one powerplay goal in the game, but tallied the rest of their points at even strength. Goalie Tristan Lewis took the loss in net for the Lincolns, allowing four goals on 19 shots. Facing 14 shots in relief, Kyle Morning also allowed four goals.
Last Sunday, St. Marys lost a very heated game in Chatham. Shortly after a fight between the Lincs’ Andrew Bogdon and Chatham’s Cale Markham, the Maroons had the chance to take a 3-0 lead in the first period when Nolan VandenBoorn was given a penalty shot. He was unsuccessful, keeping the 2-0 game within reach for St. Marys. The penalty shot was only the third shot in the period by either team, and the first save of the game for Morning.
St. Marys’ lone goal of the game came in the second period, when Chad Heffernan found the back of the net, assisted by Luciani and Dan Cloutier. Heffernan, who racked up 19 PIMs in the game, was ejected in the third after a cross checking major. St. Marys’ Garrett Nelson was also ejected for a cross checking major several minutes later. Chatham (5-3-0-0) added three more goals of their own in the second frame to go with two power play goals in the third on their way to a 7-1 win. Morning faced 46 shots in the loss, stopping 39.
Back on Sept. 30 at the Pyramid Centre, the Lincolns played a strong game against the tough Leamington Flyers (5-2-0-1). St. Marys hung in while trailing 1-0 for most of the game, until the visitors finally pulled away in the third period, scoring three in quick succession to claim a 4-0 victory. Lewis made 38 saves in the loss.
After tonight, the Lincolns are in action again on Wednesday, Oct. 12 against the Nationals (6-2-0-0) in London.