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GOJHL LaSalle Vipers

LaSalle Vipers Jr. B Hockey

Vipers roughed up in loss to Maroons

The LaSalle Vipers, looking to erase some bad memories from last season's playoffs, could not put together a 60-minute effort against the rival Chatham Maroons, falling 8-3 at Chatham Memorial Arena Sunday night.

LaSalle found itself behind the eight ball early as Jared Dennis whacked home a rebound just 43 seconds into the contest. The Maroons found themselves with a great opportunity to pad their lead when they were put on the man-advantage less than two minutes later.

However, the Vipers penalty kill - which is ranked first in the entire Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League with a 93.02% success rate through 13 games - struck the other way, with Connor Rosaasen finishing off a great feed on a two-on-one with Daniel Beaudoin. The goal was the Vipers third short-handed tally of the season.

Maroons captain Michael Verboom scored at 12:03 to put Chatham back in front, but the Vipers once again found the answer when Beaudoin pounced on a loose puck in the high slot, notching a power play goal and evening the score.

"I thought we were in the game after one, but there were some key mistakes to the wrong people on their team," Vipers head coach Bill Bowler says.

Chatham scored three times in the second period, with Brennan Feasey, Steven Beenackers and Alex Morgan all finding the scoresheet. Eli Billing replaced Paolo Battisti,13 saves on 17 shots, midway through the second period.

Vipers alternate captain Korey Morgan failed to get a shot off on a partial breakaway, and Maroons goaltender Bo Bessette turned aside all eight LaSalle attempts in the second period.

"We did have some opportunities in the middle frame," Bowler says. "We missed a couple breakaways. When we don't capitalize, we don't win. We need to bear down - it's easier said than done, but we need a little more focus around the net."

Brayden Hopkins put the game away at 5:56 of the third when he was left alone in front of Billing and converted a Levi Tetrault pass. 

Eric Kirby powered his was to the front of the Maroons net to put in his own rebound, but the Maroons scored twice in the final five minutes to turn the game into a rout.

"I thought we played good for two periods, unfortunately the way we ended is unacceptable," Bowler says. That's a good hockey team and this is a tough place to play on Sunday nights. We don't mind losing hockey games, but there's a certain way to lose and tonight was unacceptable."

The silver lining in the blowout loss was the team's penalty kill, which turned in another perfect performance. They were successful on all five attempts, along with Rosaasen's short-handed tally.

"The guys we use compete and understand what we're asking them to do. The guys that kill (penalties) have been doing a great job sacrificing their bodies and getting into shooting lanes."

The Vipers (8-5-0) next game is Wednesday, Oct. 22 against the Lambton Shores Predators (5-7-0) at the Vollmer Centre. Game time is 7 pm.

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