St. Marys remains in third place, just three points ahead of LaSalle
By Pat Payton
ST. THOMAS – More overtime heartbreak! For the second straight game, St. Marys Lincolns took a penalty early in overtime and it cost them.
Here Sunday night at the Joe Thornton Rec. Centre, the Stars claimed a 2-1 victory on a powerplay goal by Jake Robinson at 2:32 of 4-on-4 overtime. It came with just three seconds left in a holding penalty to Lincs’ defenceman Riley Coome.
One week earlier in Chatham, Lincolns lost 3-2 to the Maroons after taking a tripping penalty in the first minute of OT. Maroons scored six seconds later.
“It was kind of a soft call, but we can’t put ourselves in that situation,” Lincs’ coach Trent McClement said from St. Thomas Sunday. “It’s a penalty you wish they wouldn’t call in overtime, but we still put ourselves in a bad spot.”
Vipers creeping up
Sunday’s defeat extended St. Marys’ losing streak to three games. After weekend action, Lincolns (13-5-1-3) continue to sit in third place in the Western Conference standings, but now have just a three-point lead on the fourth-place LaSalle Vipers (12-8-1-2). Vipers, who have played one more game than the Lincs, trounced the Maroons 9-2 in a penalty-filled game Sunday in Chatham. LaSalle visits St. Marys this Friday night.
The last-place Stars improved to 7-14-0-2 with Sunday’s win.
Lincolns’ winger Quinton Pepper opened the scoring with an early first-period goal from Thomas McLatchie. There was no further scoring for more than 31 minutes until Stars’ Brock Trichilo tied it 1-1 at 15:14 of the middle frame.
Overall, St. Marys out-shot St. Thomas 39-27, including 19-8 in a scoreless third period.
Stars hit a goal post on their powerplay in OT before scoring the winner. Kyle Curtin went the distance for the Lincs, and former Waterloo Siskins goalie Matt Onuska made 38 saves for St. Thomas.
“We came out hot in the third, but we didn’t play well in the first two periods,” McClement reported. “This league is too tough where you just can’t play for one period.
“We have two practices this week, and we’re going to have to work really hard to learn that we have to play a full 60 minutes if we want to stay where we are in the standings. Other teams are starting to come up behind us.”
Lincolns, who now have a 2-2 record against the Stars, are also 3-3-1 in seven overtime games to date.
Four-point game this Friday
After Lincolns’ big game against the Vipers this Friday, they hit the road for two games. Lincs play in Komoka Saturday at 7:15 p.m., and in London against the first-place Nationals next Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 7 o’clock.
Coach McClement says Friday’s home game against LaSalle is a four-point contest.
“So far, it’s the biggest game of the season in my opinion,” he said. “It’s still early, but we have to have a statement game. We lose that game and we’re only one point ahead of LaSalle. We win and we’re five points ahead with a game in hand. We have to beat them, for sure.
“We have a tough schedule coming up,” the coach added. “We also have games against London and Leamington (Nov. 29) later this month.”