Courtesy of the Sarnia Sting
OTTAWA—The Sarnia Sting lost another tough one Friday night. The Sting dropped a 3-2 decision to the Ottawa 67s before 9,862 fans at the Rona Centre.
The loss dropped Sarnia’s overall record to 8-9-2-0 in the Ontario Hockey League.
Sarnia never led in the game, as the teams were scoreless after one period before Ottawa took a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes.
Craig Hottot was one of only two scorers for the Sting on Friday night.
Sarnia Sting Head Coach Dave MacQueen didn’t like the way his team played for two periods. “I don’t know because we beat these guys a week ago we were feeling too good ourselves. They figured we could hit the switch in the third period. But if had not been for John Cullen in the first and second periods the game would be over. We were skating in quicksand for 40 minutes.”
MacQueen admitted he was surprised by his team’s play over 40 minutes. “Sure I was surprised. We were okay for three or four minutes and then were back on our heels after that. We started to do things like we were doing a month go. We were playing as individuals. Their goalie was struggling with rebounds yet we did get enough pucks to the net or any traffic in front of him.”
After saying all that, MacQueen said his team still had a chance to win. “We kept hanging around and made a game of it. Unfortunately their top line was better than our top line. Our top line was on the ice for two of the last three goals. They didn’t pick up their defensive assignments.” (Ottawa’s top line had eight points while Sarnia’s top line had none).
Sarnia could muster just five shots in a scoreless opening period. Their only real scoring chance came midway through the period when Nail Yakupov cut in around the Ottawa defence, but was stopped at close range by 67s goalie Petr Mrazek.
The game’s first goal did not come until the 8:22 mark of period two when Toffoli came off the sideboards and wristed a shot that beat Sting goalie John Cullen on the short side.
Sarnia did not have a power play in he game until the 11:46 mark of period two. They were able to get two shots on goal.
Cullen kept the Sting in the game with several fine saves late in the period, one when he thwarted Cody Lindsay on a breakaway. He made two other excellent stops on deflections from in close.
Sarnia tied the game at 2:55 of period three when Pawlaczyk scored his first goal in a Sting uniform. He was alone in front of the net with a loose puck and made no mistake rifling a shot over the goalie’s shoulder.
After the goal the Sting put on their first sustained pressure of the game, but were unable to come up with the go-ahead goal. Ottawa regained the lead at 8:46 when Toffoli notched his second of the game. He snapped a wrist shot past Cullen from the face-off circle.
Sarnia’s second power play midway through period three produced a number of good scoring chances, but the Ottawa goalie made three solid saves to keep his team in the lead.
But the Sting tied the game at 13:18 on a great individual effort from Hottot. He was one against three coming over the 67s blueline. He got a wrist shot off that was stopped by the goalie, but followed up and made no mistake knocking in the rebound for his fifth of the year.
For the third time Ottawa took the lead, and this time for good at 14:41 when Toffoli completed his hat trick as he re-directed home a goalmouth pass. The Sting shot themselves in the foot when they took back-to-back penalties in the final four minutes and could not generate any offence.
Ottawa finished with a 32-24 edge in shots on goal. The Sting had only 11 shots after two periods.
The Sting continued a busy weekend when they faced the Bulls Saturday night in Belleville at 7 p.m. after taking on the Kingston Frontenacs Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. Sarnia’s next home game is this Friday when they host the Saginaw Spirit beginning at 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre.
STING NOTES – Toffoli was first star with Shawn Prince of Ottawa second star and Sting captain Nathan Chiarlitti third star. – Two Sting players had their scoring streaks snapped. Kale Kerbashian failed to pick up a point for the first time in 11 games while Brandon Francisco had his three-game goal-scoring streak ended. He had scored five times in the previous three games. – Scratches for the Sting were forward J.C. Campagna (sickness) along with defencemen Ron Soucie and Ryan Zupancic (both numbers). – Sarnia’s road record fell to 2-5-2-0. Their only two wins away from home so far this season have come in Sault Ste. Marie. – Sarnia was zero-for-three on the power play and Ottawa zero-for-five.
There was a major trade in the OHL this week. The Peterborough Petes sent disgruntled forward Ryan Spooner and defenceman Jeff Braithwaite to Kingston in return for Alan Quine and Clark Seymour and two second round draft picks, one in 2011 and the other in either 2013 or 2015. Spooner is the key man in the deal. He is into his third season in the OHL and was a second round draft pick of the Boston Bruins last June. Quine was the second overall player in the 2009 OHL draft.
In another minor deal this week, Ottawa acquired defenceman Jake Cardwell from Sudbury in exchange for a player and two draft picks. The Sting had shown some interest in Cardwell, an 18 year old.
Sarnia ranks ninth in the 20-team league on the power play operating at 18.8 percent. Kitchener is first at 27.8 per cent. Sarnia is 10th on the penalty kill at 81.1 per cent. Brampton leads at 87.5.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games both home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.
All game photos courtesy of Metcalfe Photography unless otherwise indicated.