By DAVE BORODY
Photo courtesy Metcalfe Photography
One of the key ingredients for any major A hockey team is their three overage players.
Whatever their position is they must contribute in order for the team to be successful.
For the Sarnia Sting, one of their overagers this season will be forward Charlie Sarault.
Sarault is coming off a 80-plus point season a year ago after being acquired by the Sting from the Kingston Frontenacs.
The gritty centerman scored a goal and assisted on three others in leading the Sting to a 6-2 win over the London Knights, Monday afternoon in front of 2,250 fans at the RBC Centre.
The win evened Sarnia’s exhibition record to 1-1 in the Ontario Hockey League.
“I want to be a leader,” said Sarault, when asked about his role on the team this season. “I want to show the young guys the ropes. We have more younger guys than last year. I also want to produce on the ice and create offence.”
Sarault says his style of play isn’t going to chance.
“I want to have a good year both offensively and defensively. If I can bring that to the team and other players follow along, we should have a pretty good season here in Sarnia.”
He added, “For me personally, I want to have a good year and translate that into signing a pro contract. It’s always been my dream to play at the next level. But it won’t only be points, but also how my plus-minus is.”
Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu is expecting big things from Sarault.
“I’m looking at the same thing as last year. Charlie’s a good, all-around player who plays at both ends of the rink and is very reliable. I trust him a lot and I know I can put him out there is all situations and he will get the job done.”
Sarault says the fans should expect a little different style of play from the Sting this year.
“We don’t have as much skill as last year and we don’t have a lot of big names. But maybe in the end we had too much skill and not enough grit. We need to be able to play with more grit this year, block shots and play down low more.”
After a scoreless first period against London, the Sting jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the second period before outscoring the Knights 3-1 in the third period.
“Our work ethic was much better (than our first game) and we played 60 minutes,” said Beaulieu. “In London we played just one period and then got ourselves into penalty trouble. Today we were more disciplined.”
Reid Boucher added two goals and one assist for the Sting, giving him four goals in the two games. Domenic Alberga, Connor Murphy and first round draft pick Brett Hargrave all scored one goal each.
Alex Galchenyuk played his first pre-season game and the first round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens had a pair of assists.
Sarnia scored three power play goals and one while shorthanded.
Chris Tierney and Jack Nevins scored for London, both even strength goals.
J.P. Anderson, another one of Sarnia’s overagers, played the first half of the game in goal and turned aside at 15 shots he faced, including stopping a breakaway in the first period. Rookie Brodie Barrick allowed two goals on eight shots. Two London goalies faced 28 shots.
Next action for the Sting is Thursday night in Saginaw. They return home Sunday to host the Windsor Spitfires beginning at 2 p.m. at the RBC Centre.
Sarnia has four exhibition games remaining leading up to their season opener at home against the Belleville Bulls, Sept. 21st.
Tickets for any upcoming game, both pre-season and regular season can be obtained by calling the RBC Box Office at 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com