SARNIA – The Chatham Maroons relied on their offence to end their longest winless streak of the season Thursday.
Nolan Gardiner scored twice and the Maroons took 54 shots in a 7-5 win over the Sarnia Legionnaires before a crowd of 1,235 at Sarnia Arena.
Griffin Robinson and Maddux Rychel each had a goal and three assists for the Maroons, who were 0-1-1-1 in their previous three games.
Matt Murray, Dane Johnstone and Sean O’Brien also scored.
Maroons goalie Tristan Lewis made 33 saves for the victory, while Jakob Knowles of the Legionnaires made 47.
Rookie netminder Adam Harris didn’t play for the Maroons, but he dressed for the first time since being injured Jan. 12 in Strathroy.
Defenceman Jake O’Donnell was also back in the Maroons’ lineup after sitting out Sunday’s double-overtime loss to the Rockets.
The third-place Maroons (25-12-3-4) all but clinched a top-three finish in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Western Conference.
They’re eight points ahead of the fourth-place Legionnaires, who have five games left. The Maroons have four to play.
The Maroons can’t catch the first-place Leamington Flyers, who are nine points ahead after beating the Rockets 5-0 on Thursday.
The Maroons led 1-0 for most of the first period after Robinson’s goal at 4:43.
Nolan DeGurse scored a short-handed goal for the Legionnaires at 18:48, but Gardiner replied 61 seconds later.
Murray and Johnstone put the Maroons up 4-1 in the second period before DeGurse scored again.
Rychel and Isaac McLean traded goals in the final minute of the frame.
The Maroons went up 7-3 early in the third period on goals by O’Brien and Gardiner.
Logan Gardner and Joseph Ferrera scored for the Legionnaires before their comeback attempt fizzled out.
Rookie forward Zach Power had two assists for the Maroons. Johnstone and Murray also had two points apiece.
The Maroons were 2-for-5 and the Legionnaires were 1-for-5 on the power play.
The Maroons will visit the St. Marys Lincolns on Friday and host the St. Thomas Stars at 7 p.m. Sunday at Chatham Memorial Arena.