By DAVE BORODY
Photo by Metcalfe Photography
The biggest crowd of the season saw the Sarnia Sting come up just a little short against the Kitchener Rangers Saturday night.
The Rangers scored three unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Sting 5-3 before 4,013 fans at the RBC Centre.
The loss was the third in as many nights for the Sting who saw their overall record dip under the .500 mark in the Ontario Hockey League to 5-6-0-1.
The Sting jumped out to a 2-1 lead after one period and held a 3-2 advantage after 40 minutes. But the Rangers tied the game on a shorthanded marker early in period three and scored the winning goal with three and a half minutes remaining in regulation time.
Sarnia played with 19 players, one under the limit, as three players say out with suspensions and one with injury.
“We played hard the entire game,” said Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu. “We unfortunately missed a couple of assignments in the third period. We were lazy on a power play in the third period and it cost us a goal.”
Beaulieu added, “They (Kitchener) played well. (John) Gibson was pretty good in goal for them. But I was happy with our effort. The kids are working hard. We have a young team and there are growing pains involved.”
Beaulieu refused to use three games in three nights as any kind of an excuse.
“It’s tough. The kids are tired. For many of them it was their first time this season doing that. But it’s something all teams go through.”
Kitchener opened the scoring just four minutes into the game when Darby Llewellyn sent home a high slapshot from the left side past Sting rookie netminder Brodie Barrick.
Barrick got his first home start of the season after starting two weeks ago in a game up in Sault Ste. Marie.
Sarnia tied the game at 17:46. Russian Nikolay Goldobin made a nice deke on the Rangers goalie before firing home a wrist shot for his fourth goal of the year. Goldobin also extended his consecutive games points streak to seven.
Just 39 seconds later, the Sting took a 2-1 lead when Alex Galchenyuk took a cross-ice pass from Charlie Sarault and rifled a shot past Gibson. It was Galchenyuk’s fifth of the year.
Kitchener squared matters a 2-2 midway through period one. Eric Ming had an open net from the slot after Barrick was accidentally taken out of the play by one of his own defencemen.
After Nick Latta of the Sting ripped a wrist shot off the post, Sarnia regained the lead at 17:33 when Reid Boucher came from behind the net to tuck the puck past Gibson. Boucher now has four goals on the season.
Tobias Rieder tied the game for Kitchener at 2:49 of period three with a shorthanded goal as he converted a pass out from Ben Thomson.
The game remained tied until the 16:24 mark when Rieder scored the game winner as he knocked in a loose puck during a scramble in front of the Sting goal.
Sarnia had a couple of opportunities in the final minute with Barrick on the bench before Ryan Murphy scored into an open net for the Rangers with 25 seconds remaining.
Kitchener finished with a 31-29 edge on shots on goal.
Sting forward Justice Dundas said the Sting battled hard.
“It was our third game in three nights and our legs got a little heavy in the third period. Kitchener was able to capitalize on our mistakes. It’s something we have to learn from.
He added, “Every team in this league is high-end and we need to learn to come more prepared for every game. If we learn from our mistakes the wins will come.”
Sarnia had only two power plays and Kitchener one. They all came in the third period.
Next action for the Sting is Thursday when they host the Windsor Spitfires beginning at 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre. It will be the only home game of the week as Sarnia plays in Erie on Saturday and in Brampton next Sunday.
Tickets for Thursday’s game are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
Children’s tickets for Thursday’s game are just $5.
- Rieder was first star with Goldobin second star and Thomson third star. Sarault was the Dickie’s hardest working player of the game. Goldobin now has four goals and seven assists.
- Sarnia played without two regular defencemen in Alex Basso and Anthony DeAngelo. Basso was serving the third of a three-game suspension and DeAngelo the second of a two-game suspension.
Forward Craig Hottot has been suspended indefinitely pending a league hearing for his head check major in Guelph. Rookie forward Davis Brown remains sidelined with an upper body injury.
- A cheque for $5,000 was presented before the game to United Way by the RBC Royal Bank.
- Kitchener does not play in Sarnia again the remainder of the regular season. Sarnia still has two trips to Kitchener.
- Tickets for the Team Canada-Team Russia Subway Super Series Game Nov. 12th at the RBC Centre are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games both home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.