Lincs top Strathroy and Sarnia, increase win streak to three

Wear pink to ‘Pink in the Rink’ cancer fundraiser event at PRC tonight

By Dan Rankin

For the past few seasons, winning streaks and the St. Marys Lincolns haven’t really been on speaking terms. If the Lincolns were mentioned in the same sentence as a winning streak, it was probably because they just extended one for another team. That’s why what happened at the Pyramid Centre last Friday is so worthy of celebration.

Three Lincolns – Brody Smith, Bill Moskal and Alessio Luciani – contributed a goal and an assist each, while Dan Cloutier and Chad Heffernan also scored to give St. Marys a refreshingly casual 5-1 win over Strathroy (5-7-2-2) on Oct. 21. It was Heffernan’s third power play goal in two games. He’s currently on a four-game point streak.

Goaltender Tristan Lewis was just one second period slip-up away from picking up the first shutout win of his Junior B career. He stopped 31 shots in the win, his third in a row.

The win gave the St. Marys Lincolns (5-10-0-0) a rare three-game winning streak, pushing them into seventh place in the Western Conference.

The last time the Lincolns had a winning streak of at least three games was during the 2012-2013 season, stretching from Oct. 19, 2012 until Oct. 26, 2012. That campaign also marked the last time the Lincolns tallied at least five goals in three consecutive games – until now.

pinkintherinkA night earlier, the Lincolns played to a 5-2 win at Sarnia Arena, a barn where they hadn’t picked up a ‘W’ since Dec. 19, 2013. The Legionnaires held a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, and managed to tie the game at 2-2 early in the third, but that was all the offense they could muster. The Lincolns outshot Sarnia 40-35, piling on 16 shots and three goals in the final frame. Lewis made 33 saves in the win.

Luciani, who has two points in each of his last three games, opened scoring for St. Marys, tying it at 1-1 2:39 into the second period.

In addition to Heffernan’s two power play goals, Moskal added two even strength goals. Both players had three point nights. Moskal’s 16 points place him second on the team this season behind only Brandon Glover (23). He’s on a six-game point streak, during which he has amassed five goals and 10 points.

A three-game stretch of wins is not the only streak that fans of the team can be excited about. Through four games dating back to Oct. 14, the Lincolns’ opponents are a combined 0-10 on the power play. In the four games before that, all losses, St. Marys’ opponents were averaging almost one goal for every three power play chances they were given. Their more recent results mark a return to form for St. Marys’ penalty killing unit which, through 15 games, is containing at a rate of just over 84 percent, placing them in the top third of the league. Not only are they clamping down on opponent power play opportunities, they’ve also begun capitalizing on their own. In their last four contests, the Lincolns are 5-18 with the man advantage.

For St. Marys, who are tied with Welland for second-most penalty minutes in the GOJHL (384 PIMs), special teams was an area they simply had to improve on if they wanted to take a crack at climbing the standings this season. So far, according to this tiny sample size at least – they seem to have done just that.

The Lincolns were in Leamington to play the fourth place Flyers (8-3-0-3) last night.

Tonight, they host the second-place Chatham Maroons (11-3-0-0) in a game that will benefit the Canadian Cancer Society. “The Lincolns are partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society to host Pink in the Rink,” said Lincolns president Brandon Boyd. “Fans are encouraged to wear their pink and take part. The players will be wearing special pink Lincolns jerseys which will be auctioned off in the End Zone after the game.” Puck drop is at 7:30 pm.

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