The winning streak is over.
The Sarnia Sting had their modest four-game winning streak snapped when they dropped a 5-3 decision to the Mississauga Steelheads, Thursday night in front of 3,059 fans at the RBC Centre.
The loss dropped Sarnia’s overall record to 5-4-0-1 in the Ontario Hockey League.
The Sting never led in the game trailing 2-1 after the first period and 3-1 after the second. Twice in the third period the Sting pulled to within a goal, but each time the Steelheads would respond to restore their two-goal margin.
And was as the case in their previous game, Sarnia ran into another hot goalie in Spencer Martin. Martin turned aside 37 of 40 shots he faced and was named the game’s first star.
Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu felt his team was not ready for the game.
“We didn’t start off right. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves having won four in a row. We were over-confident. It was a sloppy game, but we just weren’t ready to play.
“Add to that their goalie Spencer Martin was unbelievable. By far he was the best player on the ice. Three of their five goals were blatant mistakes on our part. This game can
come back and bite you pretty quick if you aren’t ready.”
After the Sting missed several good scoring opportunities early in the game, Mississauga responded with a pair of goals as Stuart Percy scored on a high shot form the point at 9:21 while Spenser Cobbold poked home a loose puck at 13:29 after Sting goalie J.P. Anderson had stopped a breakaway.
Sarnia got on the board at 17:13 when Craig Hottot drilled home a slapshot from the slot for his third goal of the year. Nikolay Goldobin and Daniel Nikandrov drew assists.
The lone goal of period two came at 5:15 when Kristoff Kontos of the Steelheads ripped home a high wrist shot from the slot.
The Sting closed the gap to 3-2 early in period three on a shorthanded tally when Charlie Sarault knocked in a loose puck after Hottot went hard to the net with the puck.
But under three minutes later, Mississauga had their two-goal lead back again when Scott Teskey was left alone in front of the goal and he tapped home a rebound.
Some late-game magic by the Sting appeared to be in the works when Sarault notched his second of the game and fourth of the year at 17:08 finishing off a nice cross-ice pass from Alex Galchenyuk.
But just 23 seconds later Sarnia turned over the puck in the neutral zone. It resulted in a two-on-one break and Brett Foy fired a low shot between the legs of Anderson to end the comeback.
Mississauga finished with a 40-28 edge in shots in goal.
“It’s frustrating obviously because we had some chances,” said Sting defenceman, Connor Murphy.
“But we also had too many breakdowns. We gave up odd-man rushes and we had some loose coverage in front of J.P. We weren’t boxing out in front of our net and we weren’t getting the puck out along the boards.”
Murphy added, “We don’t play these guys a lot and you don’t know them that well, but we needed a better start. It’s always harder when you get behind like we did, especially in our own building. The guys were down a little down after the second period. We got some momentum back in the third period, but turnovers killed us.”
Sarnia returns to action Friday night when they travel to Guelph to take on a Storm team who has roared out of the gates with an impressive 6-2-0-1 record.
“The kids aren’t in school Friday because of the PA day so we will bring them in and show them video from this game. We needed to get prepared to play a real good team in Guelph,” said Beaulieu.
The Sting completes their weekend Saturday night when they host the Kitchener Rangers at 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre.
Tickets for that game and all home games for the Sting are on sale at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
- Seven of the eight goals came at even strength with the Sting scoring shorthanded. Sarnia was zero-for-four on the power play while Mississauga was zero-for-three. Sarnia has not allowed a power play goal in five straight games.
- Martin was first start with Hottot (one goal and one assist) second star and Foy third star. Nikandrov was the Dickie’s hardest-working player of the game.
- Goldobin finished with two assists and has at least one point in five consecutive games. He now has two goals and five assists on the season.
- Sarnia played without defenceman Alex Basso was serving the first of a three-game suspension for his checking from behind penalty last Sunday. Rookie forward Davis Brown missed the game with an upper body injury.
The player who checked Brown, Kevin Spinozzi of the Greyhounds, was handed an eight-game suspension by the OHL Thursday.
- The big brass of the Montreal Canadiens, including manager Marc Bergevin and head coach Michel Therrien were at the game watching their first pick, (third overall), Alex Galchenyuk play.
- Sarnia has climbed to third in the league on the power play and eighth in the penalty-kill.