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Photo by Metcalfe Photography
The Sarnia Sting let one get away Saturday night.
The Sting lost 6-5 in overtime to the upstart Guelph Storm in front of 3,460 fans at the RBC Centre.
The loss dropped Sarnia’s overall record to 12-2-1-3 in the Ontario Hockey League. Guelph improved to 8-4-1-2.
Stephen Gaskin scored the winning goal for Guelph at 3:43 of overtime as he was left alone in front of Sting goalie Brandon Maxwell and Gaskin made no mistake from close range.
The goal capped a wild third period when five goals were scored, three by the Sting. Sarnia’s fifth goal came with 2:26 left in regulation time to force the five-minute overtime session.
The Sting weren’t as sharp as they’ve showed in previous games this season.
“From the start there was no flow,” said Sting associated coach Trevor Letowski. “We took a lot of penalties and just couldn’t seem to get anything going. They (Guelph) played hard. We watched a lot of tape of them and they are a young, hard-working team.
“We talked about it before the game, their style of play. We knew they would come hard at us and they did.”
Letowski added, “The game still could have gone either way. But we didn’t get the job done at home and we should have.”
Three times in the game public address announcer Rick Burrows had not yet finished announcing a Sting goal when Guelph came right back and scored.
“That’s hockey,” said Letowski, when asked about the Sting giving up goals right after they had scored. “Guelph put a lot of pressure on us and we didn’t move the puck sharp enough in our own end. But we took eight or nine minor penalties and it was hard to play our speed game when we were forced to kill that many penalties. It was a choppy game.”
Sarnia opened the scoring at 12:41 of period one when Brett Ritchie snapped a wrist shot past Storm goalie Brandon Foote. But just 20 seconds later Francis Menard tied the game for Guelph with a shorthanded goal.
Scott Kosmachuk put Guelph up 2-1 at 18:56 with a power play marker. It was the first power play goal Sarnia has allowed in several games and only the eighth power play goal given up all season.
Ritchie scored his second goal of the game, and fifth of the season on a Sting power play at 12:23 of period two to even the score at 2-2. But just 18 seconds later Patrick Watling put Guelph ahead again.
The final 10 minutes of the period proved to be a wild one with five goals scored.
Sarnia tied the game at 3-3 at 9:58 when Charlie Sarault scored on a power play. At 11:25, the Sting went up 4-3 when Domenic Alberga was handed the puck by a Storm defenceman and the Sting forward made no mistake.
But just 21 seconds after that Guelph squared matters at 4-4. Brock McGinn had an open net as Sting goalie Brandon Hope was caught behind the goal.
That goal chased Hope in favour of Maxwell. At 13:01 Guelph went ahead 5-4 when Jason Dickinson cut in front and slipped home a backhand.
At 17:34 Craig Hottot pulled the Sting even with a shorthanded goal as he deflected home a shot from Brett Thompson.
Sarnia had one great scoring chance in overtime when Nail Yakupov rang a shot off the goal post in the first minute.
The Sting finished with a 36-32 edge in shots on goal, but had just one shot on goal in the five-minute overtime period. Guelph had two shots.
“It was a disappointing effort from start to finish,” said Sting captain Nathan Chiarlitti. “We were very undisciplined. Any time you spent 18 or 20 minutes killing penalties it’s hard to deal with. I know these kinds of games happen, but we have to be more desperate to want two points.”
Sarnia finished two-for-eight on the power play while Guelph was one-for-seven. Each team had a shorthanded goal.
Next action for the Sting is a pair of road games this weekend as they travel to Owen Sound Friday night and play in Mississauga Sunday afternoon. Sarnia’s next home game is Nov. 20th when Kitchener comes to town. The Sting will also be home the next night to the Saginaw Spirit
– Gaskin, who scored the game-winner, was first star with Ritchie second star and Hunter Garlent of Guelph, (two assists) third star. Sarault, who had a goal and two assists for the Sting was the Dickies hardest working player.
– Yakupov was held off the scoresheet for one of the few times this year.
– Newcomer Brett Thompson had a pair of assists for the Sting giving him four points in two games with his new team.
– Sarnia has managed just four of eight points in games that have gone past regulation time. The have one overtime loss and three times fell in shootouts.
– Sarnia’s home record is 7-1-1-2.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games both home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.