The 17-year-old forward accepted a crafty backhand pass from Ryan Vendramin before bursting into the clear and beating Preds netminder Keegan Paulette from point blank range.
The tally, which was easily the prettiest of the night by either squad, went into the books as DeKoning’s 8th of the campaign. It was also his second game winner of the season.
DeKoning, a Sombra native, also had an assist in the second period when he set up Vendramin’s 20th goal of the year.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we outshot them big-time,” Sarnia coach Mark Davis said. “We couldn’t score in the first period and they got two questionable goals. Even Hughesy (Legionnaires goalie Aidan Hughes) knew they were questionable. But he settled down after that and made some good saves.”
For the contest as a whole, Sarnia outshot Lambton Shores 52-39.
With the victory the Legion crew improved its record to 20-16-2-3. Perhaps more important, the two points lifted the Sarnians into a tie for fifth place in the nine-team Western Jr. ‘B’ loop with the LaSalle Vipers. However, the Essex County team has three games in hand on the Legionnaires.
For a long time, it didn’t appear that Sarnia would get anything out of the contest.
In fact, the Preds jumped into a 2-0 lead, thanks to first period goals by Cole Braney and Marcel Berule. They also enjoyed leads of 3-2 and 4-3 in the second period.
But the Legionnaires came out on fire in the middle frame, pumping a staggering 27 shots on net. They scored five times during that flurry and would have had several more if not for the stellar play of goalkeeper Paulette.
Jordan Fogarty had two goals (his 16th and 17th) with the others going to defenceman Brad Yowart (his 10th), Vendramin and DeKoning.
Joey Zappa added an empty net goal late in the third period to seal the deal. For Zappa, who did a great job of penalty killing, it was his second of the season.
* The win was Sarnia’s third in a row.
* Ethan Sarfati and Carson Pearce had the Preds other goals.
* The Legionnaires were 2-for-5 with the man advantage while Lambton Shores was 1-for-5.
* Sarnia returns to action tonight (Sunday, Jan. 31) with a game in Strathroy.
* The Legionnaires were missing P.J. Vandervaart and Captain Hunter Tyczynski (both injured) and Brock Perry (suspended).