It took a little while to get going, but when they did, the Sarnia Sting rolled to a lopsided victory Friday night.
The Sting scored four goals in the third period on their way to a 5-0 win over the Windsor Spitfires in front of 3,748 fans at the RBC Centre.
The win moved the Sting into sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference of the Ontario Hockey League with 67 points, two ahead of Owen Sound. The Attack lost to Guelph.
The Sting still enjoys a game in hand as Sarnia has 10 games remaining and Owen Sound nine.
J.P. Anderson turned aside all 28 shots he faced in recording his second shutout since joining the Sting in early January.
“It’s nice to get the shutout,” said Anderson. “We were coming off a disappointing loss in Owen Sound the other night and we wanted to come home and get two points tonight. Obviously it was a really tight game for two periods.
“We were good on the penalty kill and my teammates all battled hard. They did the dirty work blocking shots, especially late in the second period when we were two men short. When we got back to five-on-five in the third period we took the game over.”
Anderson stopped Windsor sniper Alex Khoklachev on a breakaway late in the first period with the score 1-0 in Sarnia’s favour.
“They (Windsor) like the play where a guy comes off the bench and he got in behind our defence. I just wanted to make a big save and keep the game in our favour,” said Anderson.
Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We started off slow. The kids looked tired. About 15 guys have played a lot of hockey over the last couple of weeks. But when we got going, we made some plays offensively and Anderson made some big stops.”
Beaulieu felt the turning point of the game came late in the second period when the Sting killed a two-man Windsor power play for a minute and 30 seconds.
“That was big for us. I think it kind of broke their backs. Windsor wasn’t the same team in the third period even though they work hard and keep coming at you.”
What turned out to be the winning goal came at 13:48 of period one off the stick off Domenic Alberga. He followed up a shot from rookie Daniel Nikandrov and from the slot; Alberga ripped the rebound into the top corner for his 14th goal of the season.
That was it for scoring until the third period when the Sting took over offensively.
Reid Boucher made it 2-0 at 1:55 with his 24th goal of the year. Boucher took a shot from an almost impossible angle on the left side, and appeared to bank the puck off the goalie into the net.
Defenceman Anthony DeAngelo increased the lead to 3-0 at 8:05 with his fifth goal of the season. DeAngelo showed great patience at the Windsor blue line with the puck as he managed to beat two defenders before lifting a backhand into the top corner of the net from the slot area.
Sarnia’s only power play goal took place at 12:13. The Sting actually held a two-man advantage when Ryan Spooner finished off a goalmouth pass from Brett Thompson for his 26th of the year.
The Sting completed the scoring at 18:32 when Justice Dundas notched his first career OHL goal. His initial shot was stopped by the goalie, but Dundas managed to knock the rebound into the net.
“It’s nice to see him score,” said Beaulieu. “You know he fights for us and protects our players. He made a nice play to go hard to the net on a two-on-one.”
Assisting on the goal was Justin Thomas, who was with the Sting earlier in the year before leaving the Sting for the Strathroy Rockets junior B team.
“I believe in giving second chances,” said Beaulieu. “We were in contact and he wants another shot. He’s going to play against Guelph and hopefully in Sault Ste. Marie and we’ll see how it goes.”
Sarnia finished with a 34-28 edge in shots on goal. Sarnia was one-for-six on the power play and Windsor zero-for-five.
The Sting play their sixth game in eight days on Saturday night when they host the Guelph Storm beginning at 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre.
Tickets are available at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
- Anderson was first star with Alberga second star and Boucher third star. Boucher was the only player with two points. DeAngelo was the Dickies hardest working player of the game.
- The Sting welcomed defenseman Craig Duininck back after missing nine games with a foot injury.
- Nikandrov took a slapshot off the ankle late in the second period and did not play in period three.
- Sarnia lost forward Tyler Brown late in the second period when he was given a five-minute major for checking from behind, along with an automatic game misconduct.
- Sarnia defeated Windsor for only the second time in five tries this season. They meet one more time in Windsor next month.
- Sarnia’s overall record improved to 30-21-2-5 while they are now 17-7-1-3 on home ice. Only Niagara has few losses at home (six) than the Sting.
- The Sting played without Nathan Chiarlitti, Craig Hottot, Adrian Robertson, Alex Basso, Nick Latta and Alex Galchenyuk.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games both home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.