Dan Cloutier (#12) shields the puck from his opponent as Nathan Veres (#16) looks on Jan. 15 at the PRC in an 11-2 loss to LaSalle.
By Scott Maxwell
The St. Marys Lincolns (6-27-1-3) dropped their fourth game in a row thanks to an 11-2 beating from the LaSalle Vipers (20-12-3-2) last Friday.
St. Marys once again struggled against Nathan Savage, as he had four points in the win. Nolan Gardiner and Brett Primeau both had two goals each.
Ryan Martin (#44) drives to the net for a late first period power play opportunity with a chance to tie the game. St. Marys (6-27-1-3) fell 11-2 to LaSalle, who have clinched a playoff spot.
The game didn’t start the way St. Marys wanted it to, as a Dan Cloutier high-sticking penalty gave the Vipers a power play, which Gardiner capitalized on to open the scoring. However, a mere 1:19 later the Lincolns tied it, as Graham Brulotte crashed the net, and jammed it past the goal line (with assists from Nathan Smith and Cloutier). Four minutes later, Manny Silverio gave the Vipers the lead again, followed by a goal by Primeau four minutes after that. Suddenly the Lincolns were down 3-1.
Phillip Buque added to the high-scoring period 39 seconds later, assisted by Tristan Gallant and Brent House, cutting the Vipers lead in half. Just when it looked like the Lincolns would escape the first only down by one, two goals in the final 1:16 from Gardiner and Maddux Rychel gave the Vipers a 5-2 lead.
The second period saw a goaltending change, as Emanuel Vella was replaced by Paul Town. Vella had stopped 10 of 15 shots, and would eventually get credit for the loss. It didn’t take long for Town to surrender a goal, as just 2:25 into the period, Tyler Russell was wide open in front of the net, and buried one to make it 6-2. Town played well in the second period, as LaSalle had all the pressure and momentum, outshooting the Lincolns 21-7. Liam MacDougall and Savage both scored before the second intermission to give LaSalle an 8-2 lead after two periods.
The third period saw the Vipers add three more goals to their tally. It started 6:26 into the frame, as Ryan Sarris scored on the powerplay. Six minutes later, Primeau scored his second of the night to give the Vipers a 10-2 lead. Just when the Lincolns thought they’d seen the worst, Eric Kirby scored with 2:02 left in the game to make the score 11-2. That, at last, would conclude the scoring.
Ever since a 7-4 win over the Lambton Shores Predators (6-26-1-3), which put St. Marys in a playoff spot, the team has gone 1-11-1-0. That is the worst 13 game stretch the team has gone on this season, and it has cost them that playoff spot. Fortunately for the team, the lone win in that stretch also came against Lambton Shores, who currently hold the final spot. In fact, three of the Lincolns six wins came against the Predators. In four meetings, they have gone 3-1-0-0 against them. The Lincolns face the Predators two more times this season, and the outcome of those games could potentially decide who gets that last playoff spot.
Speaking of Lambton Shores, they’ll be visiting the Lincolns tonight at 7:30 pm. St. Marys then heads to Sarnia for a game against the Legionnaires (17-15-2-3) on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 7:10 pm.