Rockets unable to hold Legionnaires

The Sarnia Legionnaires pulled one out of the fire Thursday, rallying late in the game to defeat the Strathroy Rockets 3-2.

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The Sarnia Legionnaires pulled one out of the fire Thursday, rallying late in the game to defeat the Strathroy Rockets 3-2.

With the triumph, the Legion crew broke a five-game losing streak and moved out of the cellar in the Western Jr. ‘B’ hockey standings. They are now tied for eighth place with the Komoka Kings.

Trailing 2-0 in the third period, Sarnia stormed back with three goals in three-and-a-half minutes to win the contest.

Joe Ferrera started the comeback at the 12:21 minute mark when he finished off sustained Sarnia pressure with a backhand shot from the lip of the crease. Nolan DeGurse and Captain Ben Schoch drew assists.

Carson Peer got the Legionnaires on even terms less than three minutes later when he swatted the puck into the strings from the side of the net. DeGurse and Brenden Bouvier set the play up.

Less than a minute later, defenceman Brad Sleegers got the winner when he came off the point and fired the rubber over goalie Zion Micheli, who was lying flat on his belly during a mad goal-mouth scramble.


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“I saw there was an opening and went backdoor and put the puck in the net,” the 17-year-old rookie said. “I saw the puck was by the goalie’s pad and chipped it in.”

Sleepers, who is a Strathroy native, described himself as a “defensive defenceman who sometimes jumps up” if an offensive opportunity presents itself.

He added the win, which improved Sarnia’s record to 2-4-0-1, will help “change our momentum so we can start winning games.”

Sleegers said the Legionnaires never gave up, despite the fact that they were losing for most of the game.

“We had a discussion during the second intermission in which we said if we keep pressuring them, get more shots and more screens going” a comeback was possible.

Head coach Derek Di Muzio said Sleegers “has a quiet confidence about him.”

“He is very skilled and sees the ice well.”

As for the game, the bench boss said, “We worked hard and we were eventually rewarded. It will help us gain confidence that we can win. We played very well in the earlier games with the guys we had.”

Sarnia, which has had as many as six regulars out of the lineup with injuries and suspensions, was missing three players Thursday. But the return of Nolan DeGurse from the OHL’s Sarnia Sting was a big boost, Di Muzio said.