Legionnaires outgun Rockets

The red-hot Sarnia Legionnaires ran their winning streak to three games Thursday, outgunning the Strathroy Rockets 5-3.

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The red-hot Sarnia Legionnaires ran their winning streak to three games Thursday, outgunning the Strathroy Rockets 5-3.

Superstar Nolan DeGurse was in on all five Sarnia goals, scoring three and assisting on two others. He now has 31 tallies on the season, including eight in his last three games.

The win, which improved the Legion crew’s record to 15-22-1-3 allowed Sarnia to move into a tie for seventh place with the Komoka Kings in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s western conference.

DeGurse’s first marker of the night came late in the opening period when he deflected home a point shot from Captain Ben Schoch. Rookie Ayden Letang also had a helper on the power-play goal.

His second tally, which came in the last minute of the second period, may have turned the tide. Racing in on a short-handed breakaway, DeGurse beat Rockets netminder Zion Miceli with a rising shot from close range. Sarnia goalie Nolan DeKoning and defenceman Jake Vince had assists on the goal, which sent the teams to their dressing rooms deadlocked at 2-2.


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The Legionnaires came out on fire in the third period, scoring three quick goals to take command of the contest.

Matt DiBlasio started the uprising when he rifled a hard shot under the cross-bar from the high slot.

Rearguard Ryan Barwitzki set the play up with a dazzling assist that saw him skate into the faceoff circle, perform a spin-a-rama move, then pass the puck right onto DiBlasio’s stick.

“I saw Barwitzki coming down from the point with the puck and I just called for it,” DiBlasio said. “He backhanded it to me and I fired a one-timer.”

The goal, which gave Sarnia its first lead of the game, was DiBlasio’s first of the season.

“It was very relieving to get it,” he said. “It’s been very frustrating. This will definitely help my confidence. I ‘m a pretty physical player but I have some skill, I can skate really well”

Asked why the Legionnaires are doing so well, DeBlasio said, “I think everyone is working a lot harder in practice.”

Head coach Derek Di Muzio said, “DiBlasio brings energy, he’s a good skater and a smart player. That’s what we need. And he’s got a great release. He’s just got to be more trusting about his shot and gain some confidence.”

DeGurse got his hat-trick when he scored while cutting through the crease. Joe Ferrera had Sarnia’s other goal, which he scored after being set up in the slot by Josh Barraclough.

Riley Wood, Zach Berriault and Brendan Mairs scored for the Rockets.

DeKoning made 29 saves for Sarnia while the Legionnaires fired 39 shots on the Strathroy cage.

Attendance was 949.

The Legionnaires return to action tonight (Friday, Jan. 31) when they travel to St. Marys to face the third place Lincolns.