By Dan Rankin
The Lambton Shores Predators (3-4-0-2) are the only Western Conference GOJHL team St. Marys has yet to play this season, and the Lincolns (2-9-0-0) will be hungry for a win when they face off with them at the Pyramid Centre this evening beginning at 7:30 pm.
The Predators are winless in their last four games, though they did snap their pointless streak Saturday, forcing double overtime in an eventual 6-5 loss to Chatham.
The Lincolns, who like Lambton Shores began their season 2-2, now find themselves in the depths of a seven-game losing streak. Their slump was extended last Friday after a tough 7-1 home loss to the LaSalle Vipers.
Bill Moskal scored the only goal of the game for St. Marys, his fourth of the season, to tie the game 1-1 early in the second period. He was assisted by Brandon Glover and Chad Heffernan.
The Vipers owned the rest of the game, scoring four more before the second intermission and adding two more in the final frame. LaSalle’s special teams clicked especially well Friday, as they connected for two power play goals in five chances while also tallying a pair of shorthanded goals. Vipers’ leading goal scorer Manny Silverio (8 goals, 15 points) had a rather unique hat trick. He opened scoring at the 10-second mark of the first period at even strength, before burying a power play goal in the second and then a shorthanded goal in the third. Lincolns goalie Tristan Lewis had 27 saves in the loss.
LaSalle now holds a 24-game winning streak over St. Marys that stretches back almost four years.
On Wednesday night in London, the Lincolns and Nationals were scoreless through the first period, despite the Nats outshooting St. Marys 13-4. The Lincolns were outshot in the next period as well, 18-7, but that didn’t stop them from pulling out to a 2-0 lead. Philip Buque scored his second goal of the season, assisted by Glover, to give St. Marys a 1-0 lead at 8:03. Less than 15 seconds later, Brody Smith tallied his first goal of the campaign, assisted by Moskal and Clayton Lewis.
London responded, taking the lead before the period’s end fuelled by a pair of power play goals and an even strength marker. The Nationals’ Quinn Lenihan, who finished the game with two goals and two assists, gave his team a 4-2 lead less than a minute into the third period. Lenihan also chipped in on teammate Colin Wilson’s goal later on in the period to make it five unanswered goals by London.
On a power play late in the game, St. Marys pulled within two thanks to a goal by Tyson Kielt. His power play goal, assisted by Glover and Moskal, was the team’s first since Sept. 23 against Sarnia. Since Tanner Hertel’s third period goal in that game last month, St. Marys had failed to capitalize on any of their 18 power play opportunities in five games.
Meanwhile, St. Marys leads the entire GOJHL in time spent shorthanded at 78 minutes. That’s almost 40 more minutes, or two full periods, spent shorthanded compared to teams such as London (44 minutes), LaSalle or Lambton Shores (each with 39 minutes).
Despite some early-season struggles, a win tonight would keep St. Marys very much in the mix, as it would bring their win total even to that of Lambton Shores and St. Thomas. The Stars, who host the Lincolns on Sunday night, haven’t had a victory since they opened the season with three consecutive wins. They have gone 0-8-0-1 since then. Next Thursday, St. Marys will hope to build off of those very winnable games when they travel to Sarnia for a 7:10 pm start.
(Photo by Capturing Daze Photography)