By Dan McCaffery
Shawn Waldie made history Saturday as the Sarnia Legionnaires skated to a 6-5 win over the Leamington Flyers.
Waldie picked up his 127th career assist, then scored with his team two-men short as the Legionnaires defeated the Flyers right in the Tomato Town.
Waldie's assist shattered the old mark of 126 set by former Legionnaire Matt Abercombie.
Perhaps fittingly, Waldie's milestone helper set up a goal by Jesse Drydak, who holds the all-time record for most goals by a Sarnia Jr. 'B' player.
But Waldie said the win, which all but wraps up first place for the Legionnaires in the GOJHL's Western Conference standings, was more important than his exploits.
Sarnia sits eight points ahead of the second-place Flyers with the end of the regular schedule just seven games away.
In the second period, with Sarnia down two men, Waldie scored a spectacular goal.
He stole the puck from a Flyers defenceman at the point and raced down the ice on a two-on-one break.
When the Leamington rearguard went down to block an anticipated pass, Waldie danced around him, moved right in on goal and roofed a backhander.
“That was as nice a goal as you'll ever see,” Sarnia coach Dan Rose said afterward.
He added his team kept its cool when it ran into a rash of second period penalties.
For several minutes, in fact, the Legionnaires were down two men. But goalie Kyle Washer held the fort, blocking 19 of 20 shots he faced in the middle stanza.
“The defence did a great job of penalty killing, they kept the pressure on,” Rose said. “And Washer was unbelievable. All the penalty killing systems in the world (don't matter if the goalie isn't sharp).”
Waldie's dramatics overshadowed what was also a great night for Drydak.
The explosive right-winger got his second of the night on a breakaway.
He appeared to lose control of the puck at the last moment but it slid into the net anyway, almost in slow motion.
Drydak got his third of the game not long after that, skating out from the side, only to see another puck get away from him and slid into the net.
His fourth of the evening, which broke up a tense 4-4 tie in the third period, came on a hard drive from just inside the Leamington blueline.
Drydak now has 35 goals on the season, which is three more than he had in each of the last two campaigns.
Derek D'Andrea had the eventual game winner, banking a shot in off a Flyers rearguard to finish off a two-on-one break.