By DAVE BORODY
OWEN SOUND – The Sarnia Sting got another point Wednesday night, but they would have really liked two.
The Owen Sound Attack defeated Sarnia 4-3 in overtime in front of 2,765 fans at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
Jay Gilbert of the Attack drilled a high slapshot past Sting goalie J.P. Anderson at 3:38 of the five-minute overtime period for the game winner.
The results leaves Sarnia and Owen Sound tied for fourth place in the Western Conference of the Ontario Hockey League. Both teams have 65 points with Sarnia holding a game in hand.
The game was scoreless until the third period when the teams split six goals to force overtime.
“We played a tight hockey game for two periods, especially with four of our top six defencemen missing,” said Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu. “We held them back. We had to kill a lot of penalties in the first and second periods and that took the momentum away from us.”
He added, “I’m disappointed we lost the game. The kids played well. We know that’s their team and were missing a lot of guys. We easily could have had two points. The kids battled. We had a great chance in overtime.”
Beaulieu says it was a close game all the way.
“It was back and forth and both teams missed some good scoring chances. You could see two teams fighting for home ice in the playoffs. We got another point and we move on.”
Owen Sound held a 12-9 edge in shots on goal in the scoreless first period. Sarnia’s best scoring came with rookie centerman Daniel Nikandrov was stopped from close range after a centering pass.
The Sting was forced to kill three straight penalties early in period two. Sarnia had just one shot on goal in 12 minutes of play.
After Anderson made two great point blank stops off of the Attack’s Daniel Zweep, the Sting was handed a great opportunity when they held a two-man advantage for 57 seconds.
They managed four quality shots on goal while Connor Murphy rang a shot off the goalpost on a slapshot.
The Attack again held an edge in shots on goal at 15-9. The home team thought they had scored in the final minute when Kurtis Gabriel knocked in a loose puck, but one of the officials lost sight of the puck after the initial shot and blew the play dead.
Then the floodgates opened for goals in period three.
Artur Gavrus opened the scoring for Owen Sound at 2:45 of period three on the power play. But just 41 seconds later Sarnia tied the game when Nail Yakupov banged home a rebound for his 28th goal of the season.
Sarnia took a 2-1 lead at 8:54 when Ryan Spooner took a friendly bounce off the glass and snapped an unassisted goal past goalie Scott Stajcer for his 25th of the season.
Just over two minutes later the Attack squared matters at 2-2 when Gavrus notched his second of the game.
Domenic Alberga put Sarnia ahead 3-2 at 12:22 with his 13th of the year firing home a low shot from the slot. But 56 seconds later, Owen Sound tied the game again when Daniel Catenacci scored on a wraparound.
Sarnia was zero-for-three on the power play while Owen Sound was one-for-seven. The Attack enjoyed five straight power plays.
“We really competed tonight,” said Alberga, one of Sarnia’s best forwards. “The calls sure didn’t go our way. That was a real bad one on (Brett) Thompson. He tapped the guy on the back of the legs and got four minutes for spearing.”
He added, “We got one point, but should have had two. But we have to let this game pass and get ready for Friday night. We get another chance at these guys at home next month.”
The Sting once again played without seven regulars, including four defencemen. Missing were rearguards Nathan Chiarlitti, Adrian Robertson, Alex Basso and Craig Duininck, along with forwards Craig Hottot, Nick Latta and Alex Galchenyuk. None of the injured players are expected back for at least a week.
Counting last night’s game, Sarnia has lost 214 man games to injuries so far this season.
The Sting return home for a pair of games this weekend at the RBC Centre. They host the Windsor Spitfires Friday night and the Guelph Storm Saturday night. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m.
Tickets for both games are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
- Owen Sound leads the 20-team OHL in penalty minutes with 1,179. Sarnia is the second least penalized team with 821. Erie is the lowest team at 757.
- Gavrus was first star with Spooner second star and Catenacci third star.
- Sarnia’s overall record is now 29-22-2-5 while they are 13-14-1-2 on the road.
- Owen Sound has won two of three games against Sarnia. The teams play one more time next month in Sarnia.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.