Battisti blanks first place Flyers to become Vipers Shutout King
by Rob Benneian – Paolo Battisti turned aside all 31 Leamington shots to blank the first-place Flyers 2-0 Wednesday night at the Vollmer Centre.
The Vipers win snapped Leamington’s season-high 12 game winning streak.
It also makes Battisti the team’s all-time leader in shutouts, with five in his career.
“In games like tonight – big games – you need your goalie to give you a chance to win, and Paolo does that for us,” says Vipers head coach Bill Bowler. “He’s an excellent goaltender and a great teammate as well.”
The 20-year-old LaSalle native is among the franchise leaders in most major statistics, including playoff shutouts, goals against average and save percentage.
The Vipers scored a pair of first period power play goals, by Daniel Beaudoin and Nathan Savage, to take the lead before slugging it out with the Flyers for the final 40 minutes.
Rookie forward Liam MacDougall saw his point streak snapped at 20 games, one game shy of the Vipers record of 21, set by Sammy Banga in 2010-11.
“He really honed his game with the Lakeshore Canadiens at the Jr. C level and now he’s one of the top performers in our league,” Bowler says. “It’s a credit to the work ethic he has, the extra time he puts in at practice. It’s unfortunate it’s come to an end, but knowing Liam, he’ll start another (streak).
MacDougall registered at least one point in every Vipers game between Oct. 31 and Jan. 15.
The Vipers next action is Wednesday, Jan. 27 when they host the St. Thomas Stars. Game time is 7 pm.
The game is Link To Literacy Night, sponsored by the WFCU Credit Union. Fans are asked to bring in gently used children’s books to donate.