By DAVE BORODY
WINDSOR – When Reid Boucher of the Sarnia Sting watched six members of the Windsor Spitfires along with five of his teammates fail to score in a shootout; his mindset was simple for the 12th shot.
“Score and end this thing now.”
Boucher did just that as he scored on his turn to give the Sting a 3-2 victory over the Spitfires, Monday afternoon in front of 5,183 fans at the WFCU Centre.
Boucher snapped a wrist shot past the blocker of goalie Jaroslav Pavelka to provide the Sting with their second straight win and improves their road record to a perfect 3-0.
Sarnia also moved back to the even mark overall for the first time this season at 3-3-0-1 in the Ontario Hockey League.
“I tried to make a quick move and shoot the puck,” said Boucher. “I didn’t want to mess around trying to deke as the puck seemed to be bouncing a bit and some of my team mates never got clean shots off.”
Boucher said the win was important to the Sting.
“We were playing our third game in four days and the guys were a little tired. I’m glad we were able to pull this one out.”
Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu said Boucher is starting to find the net.
“He’s been a little snake-bit of late, but today he scored both in regulation and in the shootout. He was able to give us two points.”
Boucher was named the game’s first star while Sting goalie J.P. Anderson was a natural choice for second star. After making 31 saves during the course of 65 minutes, Anderson stoned all six Windsor shooters.
“I just try and make the saves,” said Anderson, when asked about the shootout. “You try and see who you are facing and remember what their tendencies are. I think this is the first time I can remember going six shooters. I was able to make the saves and put pressure on their guy to do the same.”
Anderson added, “We didn’t panic when we gave up the tying goal early in the third period. It was a new game and we stayed the course. It was nice to get a couple of wins this weekend.”
After a scoreless first period, Windsor opened the scoring at 2:39 of period two when Derek Schoenmakers poked home a loose puck in the crease behind Anderson.
But just 24 seconds later Sarnia tied the game when Nick Latta deflected home a point shot from Craig Duininck. It was Latta’s second goal of the season.
Boucher put the Sting ahead 2-1 at 18:42 on the power play when he banged home a rebound off a Charlie Sarault shot. Boucher, who now has three goals, was stopped a minute earlier on a breakaway attempt by Pavelka.
Windsor pulled even just 19 seconds into period three as Ben Johnson was left alone in front of the Sting goal and he knocked in a passout from behind the net.
Scoring chances were few and far behind by both clubs the remainder of the third period. But it was a different story in the five-minute overtime session. Both teams had some glorious scoring chances, but the two goalies closed the door.
The two goalies continued to dominate the shootout until Boucher found the back of the net for the Sting on the 12th shot.
“Like I’ve been saying for the past couple of weeks, we battled,” said Beaulieu. “We lacked a little energy at times, but that was from the bus ride home from Sault Ste. Marie. But we are becoming a hard team to play against because we are a puck pressure team. We create a lot of pressure and that causes turnovers.”
Beaulieu was happy to get four out of a possible six points for the weekend.
“We could have had all three wins. It’s been positive. We’ll give the kids a day off and then get ready for the weekend.”
The Sting will be home this weekend for a pair of games at the RBC Centre. They host the Niagara IceDogs on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and take on the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Sunday at 2:05 p.m.
Tickets for both games, along with all home games for the Sting are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
- Boucher was first star with Anderson second star and Pavelka third star.
- Sarnia was one-for-three with the man advantage while their penalty killers were outstanding for the second game in a row as Windsor was zero-for-five.
- Two rookies, Jordan Addesi of the Sting and Ryan Verbeek were handed fighting majors and game misconducts for coming out of the penalty box after serving minors to fight in the first period.
- Defenceman Connor Murphy was back in the Sting lineup after missing one game due to a death in the family. Not dressed were defencemen Alex Basso and Mike DiPaolo and forward Alexandre Renaud.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games both home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.