Coach Mark Davis’s Jr. ‘B’ hockey club lost 3-1 to the LaSalle Vipers, dropping them four points behind the Essex County club, which holds down fourth place in the nine-team Western Conference. The Vipers also have two games in hand on Sarnia.
The top four teams get home ice advantage in the first round.
With just seven games left – two of them against first place Leamington – Sarnia’s chances of climbing out of sixth place appear slim.
LaSalle jumped into a 2-0 lead in the first period, thanks to a pair of goals by Nathan Savage. After that, they implemented the neutral zone trap, clogging the middle of the ice surface for much of the last two periods.
When the Legionnaires did get through, goalie Paolo Battisti was usually there to stop them.
Brandon Layman scored the only Sarnia goal in the third period. The Legionnaires had a couple of great scoring chances after that, but failed to connect.
Daniel Beaudoin snuffed out any comeback hopes with an empty net goal in the final minute of play.
Overall, LaSalle outshot Sarnia 38-23.
However, Davis said when it came to “really good scoring chances, we out-chanced them.”
The big problem, he continued, was that “our powerplay was terrible. We had a 5-on-3 and didn’t even get a shot.”
The Legionnaires are back in action Saturday when they host the Flyers.
Game time is set for 7:10 p.m.