Red-hot Wells scores twice as Maroons beat Legionnaires

Evan Wells scored twice as the Chatham Maroons foiled the Sarnia Legionnaires' comeback bid in a 6-5 win Sunday at Chatham Memorial Arena.

Chatham Maroons' Tate Bowden (89) is checked by Sarnia Legionnaires' Drayton Todoroff (19) in the third period at Chatham Memorial Arena in Chatham, Ont., on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network

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Slow is a word not normally associated with Evan Wells.

However, the lightning-quick forward started slowly this season with no points in the Chatham Maroons’ first seven games.

He’s made up for it in the past four games with five goals.

“Just getting lucky,” said Wells, 18. “Right spot, right time with the puck.”

He scored two more Sunday in a 6-5 win over the Sarnia Legionnaires before a crowd of 612 at Chatham Memorial Arena.

“I got off to a very slow start,” he said. “Now I’m just getting used to it from the summer. It’s actually nice feeling that I can actually put the puck in the back of the net now.”

Kaleb Tiessen, Blake Petterle, Maddux Rychel and Adrian Stubberfield also scored for the Maroons (5-3-1-2), who are tied for fourth place in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Western Conference.

Tiago Rocha made 37 saves for his fourth win.

The Maroons rebounded from a 9-1 loss in LaSalle to earn their third win in four games.

“It was a very good bounceback game for us,” Wells said. “We needed it after the smacking that we took on Wednesday. We had a good practice on Thursday, and it showed that we had a good practice out on the ice today.”

Wells’s five goals are already two more than he scored in 39 games as a rookie last season.

He enjoys the extra ice time this season on the young team.

“It’s nice actually getting a bigger role from last year to this year and going out and actually helping a little bit more this year,” he said.

Wells hasn’t scored with a man advantage, but he’s getting chances on the power play by parking himself in front of the opposing goalie.

“I like being out in front of the net on the power play,” he said. “It’s probably the hardest position because you’re always getting hit, moved around and stuff like that. Anything can happen in front of there. You can get a puck (and) tap it in or you can tip it in.”

The five-foot-eight, 155-pound Wells doesn’t look like the type of player who normally goes to battle with defencemen in front of the net, but he refuses to back down.

“I’m not big,” he said, “but you’ve just got to hold your own out there.”

He’s taking abuse, but his body is holding up well.

“Bumps and bruises there, but they’ll go away after a little bit,” he said.

The Maroons went 1-for-9 on the power play and the Legionnaires were 3-for-4.

Rychel broke a 4-4 tie at 6:54 of the third period. Stubberfield followed with the Maroons’ lone power-play goal at 8:46.

Stubberfield’s goal proved to be the winner when Legionnaires captain Ben Schoch scored at 11:37.

The Legionnaires thought they’d scored a tying goal with under three minutes left, but the officials waved it off.

Legionnaires head coach Derek Di Muzio said the referees refused to discuss the call. He was also upset after the Maroons had five power plays in the third period to the Legionnaires’ one.

“We had momentum a number of times and it was all taken away by a call,” Di Muzio said. “I was real disappointed in that because I thought there were times we consistently had some chances off our forecheck and pressure, and then there’d be a penalty.”

Brenden Bouvier, Nolan DeGurse, Joseph Ferrera and Cameron Ware also scored for the last-place Legionnaires (2-6-0-1), who erased three one-goal deficits. Jakob Knowles made 30 saves.

The Maroons played without 20-year-old forward Dallas Maurovic, who received a four-game suspension for his match penalty for head contact at the end of Wednesday’s loss.

The Maroons will visit the Komoka Kings on Saturday and host the LaSalle Vipers at 7 p.m. Sunday.