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Legionnaires comeback falls short in 7-5 loss

Jon Maillet For the Journal The St. Mary’s Lincolns went up early and never looked back despite a late push from the Sarnia Legionnaires, Thursday. The Lincolns held on to a 7-5 win at the Pat Stapleton Arena.
Austin Harper scored twice in the Sarnia Legionnaires’ 7-5 loss to the St. Mary’s Lincolns, Thursday. (Shawna Lavoie Photography)

Jon Maillet For the Journal

The St. Mary’s Lincolns went up early and never looked back despite a late push from the Sarnia Legionnaires, Thursday. The Lincolns held on to a 7-5 win at the Pat Stapleton Arena. 

Ethan Weir scored two goals and two assists for St. Mary’s, while Sarnia’s Austin Harper scored twice and added an assist, as he tried to help his club get back into the game. 

Legionnaires coach Bryan Irwin was happy his team showed some fight after the first period, but was not pleased with the start. 

“Not impressed with our first period, not impressed with our start, not impressed with our warm up, and we got behind the eight ball,” Irwin told the Journal, as the Legionnaires found themselves in a 4-1 hole after the first period. 

“I’m glad they answered; I thought the second was better.”

Indeed the first period was all St. Mary’s, as the Lincolns led the shot clock 19-5 and scored three goals within a minute late in the first to take a 4-1 lead. 

Anthony Tudino had the lone Sarnia goal in the first period. 

In the second period, Sarnia would come out with some grit; despite giving up a shorthanded goal, the Legionnaires would see goals from Cameron Graham (11) and Ty Moffat (8) to cut the Lincolns lead to 5-3. 

Sarnia would get a chance late in the second and score, however the goal would be called back as the officials ruled the net was off (many would have argued it was pushed off) however that argument would fall on deaf ears. 

“At the end of the second to go into the third, I thought we controlled the play and had some chances to get it to 5-4. Good effort — just a bad start and a bad five or six minutes in the first period,” said Irwin of his team's effort after two periods.

Austin Harper cut the St. Mary’s lead to 5-4 midway through the third, his seventh of the season; Ty Therrien and Ryan Richardson had the assists on the goal that brought Sarnia within a goal. 

St. Mary’s however would regain their goal leadon a powerplay goal from Ethan Weir — his second of the game to put the Lincolns ahead 6-4. 

Harper would once again try and lift his squad, scoring his second of the game to bring Sarnia within a goal. Matthew Anderson and Wesley Brooks had the assists on Harper’s eighth of the season, that made it a 6-5 game. 

“Great night for Austin,” said Irwin of the veteran forward. 

“I thought he showed some real leadership and charisma, kept the guys motivated on the bench and kept them focused on getting the next one, so it was a great night for Austin for sure.”

This would be as close as the Legionnaires would get though, as the Lincolns would add an empty net goal to seal it 7-5. 

Logan Phillips made 34 saves in the loss, and despite a tough first period, Irwin was impressed with how his goaltender kept his team in it. 

“There was a couple odd goals in the first, but Logan is a veteran guy that understands the importance of not giving up the fifth one when it’s four. He just kept battling, so I thought Logan had a good night.”

Despite an abundance of power plays, neither team was able to capitalize much. St. Mary’s scored once on seven chances, while the Legionnaires came up empty on all seven chances they had, as the officials certainly made their mark on the game. 

Sarnia may be without the services of Ty Therrien, who was called for a head check in the last 10 minutes of the third period. He received the usual 10 minute misconduct as well as a second 10 minute misconduct, which may come with a one game suspension. 

Sarnia is still without Colton Graham who was not in the line up Thursday night. Graham is serving a six-game suspension he received November 19 in Chatham after a fight in the last 10 minutes. 

Graham should return to the line up December 7. 

Next up for the Legionnaires, they finish the weekend in Komoka to take on the Kings, Sarnia has won all three meetings this season including a 6-3 win last week. Puck drops at 7:15pm at the Komoka Wellness Centre Saturday night. 

Sarnia is now 9-11-1-0 on the season. 

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