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Friday, Mar. 23, 2018
Joel Vienneau stands on his head in Laurentian victory
by Randy Pascal

With playoff positions in the OUA East Division of the men's hockey ranks shaping up to be even more hotly contested than usual, the Laurentian Voyageurs could not have picked a better time to halt a five game losing skid.

And for that, they can say thanks, in no small part, to goaltender Joel Vienneau.

The former OHLer turned aside an astounding 63 of the 66 shots that he faced, including 57 saves in the final two periods alone, propelling the Voyageurs to a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Gee Gees Friday night in the nation's capital.

After Connor Sills (Ottawa) and Blake Forslund (Laurentian) exchanged first period tallies, the visitors erupted in the middle stanza. Brent Pedersen and Xavier Couture would beat Gee Gees' starting netminder Anthony Brodeur, chasing him from the game, before L.U. defenseman Kaden Ruest closed out the second period scoring.

That 4-1 lead looked to be in jeopardy early in the final frame, as Kevin Domingue replied with a pair of markers before the period was five minutes old, when Vienneau decided to completely close the door, surviving a 27-shot barrage in the final twenty minutes of play.

It was little surprise that Vienneau could not replicate the effort the next night as the Carleton Ravens posted a 6-0 shutout of the Voyageurs. Jared Steege showed the way for Carleton, scoring twice, with single goals coming courtesy of Benji Curtis, Matthew Sozanski, Ryan Van Stralen and Alexandre Boivin.

Justin Nichols earned the shutout with a 30-save performance as Laurentian's record moved to 2-6-0 with the weekend split. Coach Craig Duncanson and company begin a four game home stand, welcoming the McGill Redmen (8-2-0) on Friday and the Concordia Stingers (6-1-1) on Saturday (both games start at 7:35 p.m.).

The Voyageurs find themselves in 9th place, one point back of the UOIT Ridgebacks (2-5-1) and five behind both Ottawa and the Nipissing Lakers.

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