An exciting third period saw the LaSalle Vipers score late to skate away with a 4-3 victory over the Strathroy Rockets on Wednesday night at the Vollmer Complex in LaSalle.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the third, Jack Bowler scored nine seconds into the period on a nice individual effort by taking the puck right off the faceoff, working his way past a couple defenders, and then beating the goalie with a deke. With the score now tied at 2-2, the Vipers pressed for the go-ahead goal and got it at 12:37 of the third when Jake Archer blasted home a one-timer off a nice pass from Aaron Shaw for his first goal in a Vipers uniform. However, with under four minutes to go, the Rockets responded with a flukey goal that deflected off a skate out front to once again bring things level.
That set the stage for some late heroics in the dying seconds of regulation on a play that began with a great pass from Abdul Abouzeeni to Kyle Walker. Walker’s shot didn’t beat Strathroy netminder Zion Micelli but the rebound landed perfectly for the net-driving Aaron Shaw to pounce on it and easily push it into the empty net and rescue the two points.
Abouzeeni paced the attack with four assists in the game to up his totals to an impressive 49 points in 44 games played this season as a defenseman. Bowler, Shaw and Stephane Crevier each had a goal and an assist in the game with Bowler getting the nod as his teammates’ selection as Player of the Game. Matt Sbrocca made 21 saves for his 10th victory of the season in goal.
It was another important win for the Vipers who now prepare for three road games in four days, beginning Friday when they travel to St. Marys to take on the third-place Lincolns.