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Peca leads Lakers past Rams

Lakers defenseman Jason Gray and Sam Hopewell work against two Rams players to get the puck out of the corner. Photo by Mark Pare.

Lakers defenseman Jason Gray and Sam Hopewell work against two Rams players to get the puck out of the corner. Photo by Mark Pare.

The Nipissing Lakers (12-9-2) got two quick goals but it was a fight to the end as they defeated the Ryerson Rams (9-15-0) 4-3 on Friday night.

The Dorian Peca-Connor O’Donnell-Grant Toulmin line came up huge in the early stages and throughout, as Peca finished with two goals and an assist, O’Donnell notched three assists and Toulmin had a goal and an assist.

“There’s no question that line jump started us, scoring the two goals in the one shift at the start of the game,” said Lakers head coach Mike McParland, “O’Donnell’s been getting the points all year for us, Peca’s been jump started a little bit, rejuvenated a little bit playing with those two guys and Grant Toulmin’s really come along this year compared to last year.”

Sam Hopewell scored the other goal for the Lakers, who were also out shot 35-30.

Toulmin’s goal started it all at 1:28 of the first, firing home a one-timer in the slot.

At 1:59, Peca got his first of the game, as he spotted the loose puck in the blue ice behind goaltender Louie George.

It was a great start for the Lakers, but the Rams caught right back up, starting at 9:02, when Robert Visco got a power play goal, hacking a loose puck by Spence, amidst a scrum from the face off.

“I thought that we started real well but all of a sudden, we thought it was going to be too easy and we never had that killer instinct,” said McParland, “I thought we maybe could have finished them off early in the game, the goalie was a little bit shaky but we took a couple unnecessary penalties, we lost a couple crucial battles for the puck and all of a sudden, the score is 2-2.”

The tying goal came from Jamie Haines at 13:29, a great individual effort by taking the puck all around the net and found a shooting lane in the slot.

The Lakers re-took the lead with just under a minute gone in the second as Peca scored his second goal of the game on the power play.

Hopewell’s goal halfway through the period restored the two goal lead but the Rams cut into it at 17:56, thanks to some great passing in the offensive zone. A power play goal from Jamie Wise gave the Rams some hope, going into the third period.

In the third, the Lakers limited the shots on net by Ryerson and Spence made six of his 32 saves in that final frame for the victory.

George made 26 saves for the Rams.

The win puts the Lakers in a tie for fifth place in the OUA East with the Ottawa Gee Gee’s with 26 points a piece. The Lakers are back at it tomorrow night as they take on the Queen’s Gaels.

“We know what we have to do with them, we know how they’re gonna play,” said McParland of the game plan going into Saturday night’s game.

“We know they play the transition, we’ve talked about that this week in practice and we know it’ll be another one goal game there tomorrow in Kingston so we have to be conscious of our turnovers. I thought tonight, we had too many turnovers for a one goal game but we got away with it and at this time of year, the points are what counts and again, it’s exciting for the fans cause the game goes right to the end.”

The seventh place Gaels defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues 6-2 on Friday night, keeping pace with the Lakers, who are only one point ahead going into Saturday.

The Lakers next home game comes next Friday, February 1 when they take on the Concordia Stingers. Game time is at 7:00 p.m. at Memorial Gardens.

Game Notes
-The attendance was 1,401.