The Sarnia Sting (20-17-6) took the trip down Highway 402 for a mid-week clash with the rival London Knights (28-7-6). This was the Sting’s first glimpse at the “new look” Knights since they loaded up at the deadline; acquiring Mitchell Stephens (Saginaw), Mitch Vande Sompel (Oshawa) and OA-forward Dante Salituro who spent the first half of the season in the Columbus Blue Jackets farm system.
The Knights kicked off the scoring just 2:49 into the first frame, when Max Jones slid home his first since returning from an arm injury suffered in late November. Knights newcomer Mitchell Stephens and Cliff Pu were credited with the helpers. The Sting would respond just five minutes later when Sarnia forward Troy Lajeunesse would pot his 14th goal of the year on a breakaway, beating Knights goalie Tyler Parsons. Jordan Kyrou would pick up an assist on the Lajeunesse tally, keeping alive an impressive eight-game point streak. The first period would come to close tied at one’s with the Knights leading the shots-on-goal category 12-7.
Sarnia would come out flying in the second stanza controlling most of the play in the period. Tyler Parsons would continue to stand tall which would include a diving glove save on Sting defenceman Jeff King. King would take his frustration out on Knights antagoniser Max Jones in a spirited toe-to-toe bout. Both would sit for five; however King would get the rest of the night off for taking off Jones’ helmet during the scrap. Both goalies held their ground and could not be solved in the second frame as the game remained tied heading into the intermission.
A hooking penalty to Jordan Kyrou at 5:16 of the third would help the Knights take the lead as Janne Kuokkanen put home his 18th of the year on the power play. The visitors from Sarnia would continue to battle and would be rewarded for their effort when blue-collar, utility man Franco Sproviero would drive to the net banking one off Knights D-man Evan Bouchard to tie the game at two. Neither team could find the winner in regulation and the final regular season meeting between these two teams would head into overtime.
The Knights would control the majority of the OT period however they couldn’t seem to solve the cool, calm and collected Justin Fazio. The game would need a shoot-out to crown a winner and Fazio would not be denied, stopping all three Knights shooters. Former London Knight and new Sarnia Sting Drake Rymsha continued to be an impact as he notched the only shoot-out marker to put Sarnia in the win column.
Vande Sompel- SAVE
The Sting will host a pair of important Western Conference battles this weekend at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena. Dylan Strome and the Erie Otters will attempt to spoil the party on Friday night while the league leading Soo Greyhounds head to Sarnia for an afternoon match up, puck drop is at 3:30 pm.