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LaSalle Vipers Jr. B Hockey

Vipers clip Flyers in Leamington

The LaSalle Vipers drew first blood in the 2014-15 edition of the Battle of Essex County, dropping the Leamington Flyers 3-2 Thursday night at the Leamington Recreation Centre.

Eric Kirby's first as a Viper opened the scoring late in the first period, and top returning scorer Nathan Savage's first of the season put the Vipers up 2-0 through 40 minutes.

The Flyers drew to within a goal early in the third period when Cale Phibbs scored with a man-advantage. This came after the Vipers failed to capitalize on a pair of second period 5-on-3 power play opportunities.

"Every time you come into this rink, you know it's going to be a hard-fought game," says Vipers captain Brett Langlois. "You know it's not going to be easy."

Korey Morgan slipped a loose puck through Flyers goaltender Trevor Wheaton's legs to retake a two-goal lead but Kyle Perkowski scored short-handed with less than three minutes to go to set the stage for a dramatic finish.

Eli Billing, making his first regular season start in Jr. B, made 28 saves to pick up the win, while Wheaton stopped 24 in the loss.

"Every time I come here, it brings back lots of memories from my early days in this league," says Langlois, who played two seasons in Leamington before joining the Vipers last summer. "It's always sweet coming in here and taking a win from them."

The Vipers (4-0-0) remain undefeated while the Flyers drop to 1-3-0.

The next game the Vipers play will be an exhibition Saturday evening in Michigan against the United States National Team Development Program U-17 team. Game time is 7:10 pm at Orchard Lake.

The Vipers next regular season game will be Wednesday, Sept. 24 on LaSalle Police Youth Foundation Minor Hockey Night. Kids who wear their hockey jersey will get in free.

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