Courtesy of the Sarnia Sting
KINGSTON – The Sarnia Sting garnered another point Sunday afternoon, but to a player they will tell you they should have had two.
The Sting blew a two-goal lead late in the third period and lost 6-5 in overtime to the Kingston Frontenacs before 2,453 fans at the K-Rock Centre.
Newly-acquired Ryan Spooner scored the winning goal for Kingston at 2:30 of overtime on a power play to give the Frontenacs the victory.
Sarnia did pick up a point for the overtime loss, the third time they’ve lost in the extra session this year.
The Sting is now 9-9-3-0 in the Ontario Hockey League.
“It’s a tough way to lose,” said Sting Head Coach Dave MacQueen. “It’s too bad it had to end that way. Our goal this weekend was to get at least three of six points on the road trip and we did that. But we you have a two-goal lead with less than two minutes to play, it’s four points you wanted, not three.”
He added, “We played a pretty solid road game. We maybe ran out of gas late in the game. The worst thing that happened was we were playing four-on-four hockey in the last two minutes. It’s like them being on the power play when they pulled their goalie.
“We made a couple of mistakes on the winning goal. We lost the face-off and missed the coverage. Face-offs are so crucial in a game.”
The Sting’s big line had a solid afternoon as Kale Kerbashian had two goals and two assists, Nail Yakupov a goal and two assists and Tyler Peters one goal.
“Our big line is capable of scoring. Kingston didn’t seem to want to match lines or try and shut them down so they were able to put up some points,” said MacQueen.
The Sting got off to another good start as just over three minutes into the game when Kerbashian skated into the Kingston zone at full speed and snapped a wrist shot past goalie Philipp Grubauer. Sarnia had another great chance three minutes later when Garrett Hooey was awarded a penalty shot.
Hooey tried to go five-hole, but was stopped by Grubauer.
That goal seemed to inspire the Frontenacs as they responded with three goals. Nathan Moon scored from close range at 9:36, Mitch LeBar knocked in a loose puck at 11:22 while LeBar scored his second of the game on the power play 17:17.
Sarnia tied the game with a pair of second period power play goals.
Alex Galchenyuk notched his eighth of the year and first in 10 games at 8:03 when he ripped a shot over the shoulder of the goalie from the wing.
Kerbashian scored his second of the game, and 13th of the year at 14:37 when he banged home a rebound from close range.
The Sting took a 4-3 lead just 28 seconds into period three when Tyler Peters tapped a perfect cross-ice pass from Nail Yakupov into an open net. It was Peters’ eighth goal of the year.
A minute later John Cullen kept the Sting ahead when he stopped Ryan Spooner on a breakaway. Cullen then was sharp as the Sting killed off back-to-back penalties.
Yakupov put the Sting up 5-3 at 17:09 with his 17th goal of the season. He cut in front of the net and had his first shot stopped, but he managed to poke home the rebound.
But the Frontenacs would not go away and fought back LeBar completed his hat trick at 18:46 while they tied the game with 18.1 seconds remaining when Ethan Werek deflected home a point shot. Both goals came with their goalie on the bench for an extra attacker.
The Frontenacs won it in overtime at 2:30 on the power play as Ryan Spooner fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Cullen from the face-off circle.
Kingston finished with a 38-36 edge in shots on goal. Kingston was two-for-four on the power play and Sarnia two-for-three.
The Sting returns home for a pair of games this weekend at the RBC Centre. They host the Western Division leading Saginaw Spirit Friday night and have a return match with Kingston Saturday night. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m.
– LeBar was first star with Kerbashian second star and Werek third star.
– Sarnia dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen. Scratched were forwards Jesse Stoughton and J.C. Campagna (numbers) and defenceman Anthony Donati, who injured his knee Saturday night in Belleville.
– It was bring your dog to the game in Kingston, as several canines were on hand to watch the action.
– Sarnia’s power play has fallen to 13th in the league while their penalty killing has moved up to ninth spot.
– Jason Akeson of Kitchener is the OHL scoring leader with nine goals and 28 assists for 37 points. Nail Yakupov of the Sting is second with 35 points as Yakupov has 17 goals and 18 assists. Kerbashian is now fourth with 33 points.
Yakupov’s 17 goals are second along with two others. Garrett Wilson of Owen Sound is tops with 19 goals. Yakupov leads all rookies in scoring.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games both home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.