The Sarnia Sting got a first-hand look at the OHL's top-scoring team, Sunday afternoon at RBC Centre.
And, while the Sting lost by three goals (7-4), the final score actually flattered Sarnia, which was outshot 49-25 by the visiting Guelph Storm. But for some stellar goaltending by Taylor Dupuis, and some Guelph misfiring around the net, the score could have been more lopsided.
The sting actually battled the Storm to a 1-1 draw after 20 minutes. Guelph opened the scoring, but Patrick White's second goal of the season -- scored on a breakaway after the Sarnia forward blocked a shot at the Sting blue line -- not only evened the score, but sent over 3,000 stuffed animals raining down onto the RBC Centre ice, Sunday's game being the Sting's annual Teddy Bear toss.
Video by Dan Paul
Guelph scored the first two goals of the second period, but the Sting stayed within striking distance when Nick Latta deflected home a power play goal in the latter stages of the period. The middle stanza ended with Guelph leading 3-2.
The Storm began to pull away in the third, scoring three straight times to take a 6-2 lead, Sarnia defenceman Jimmy McDowell scored a pair of late goals before the Storm iced it with an empty-netter.
Tyler Bertuzzi led the balanced Storm attack with two goals while Zack Mitchell had a goal and two assists.
Ever positive, Sting coach Trevor Letowski said his team played hard but simply lost to truly elite squad.
"I think the effort was there for us," said Letowski, adding his team was hurt by committing too many giveaways. "Any time you turn the puck over against that team, they can make you pay."
"I think our group needs to play a perfect game to beat that team," he added. "We didn't do that."
The Sting have been giving up an alarming number of shots lately. While Letowski said Sunday's total of 49 shots was no anomaly for the Storm -- "I think they've been averaging about that many." -- he did acknowledge the Sting have to work on cutting down on the shots against.
"Obviously, it's a concern. We're playing in our end more than we would like," said Letowski, adding the team has to block more opposition shots, as well.
The Sting play a pair of home games next weekend, hosting Plymouth on Friday and Kingston on Saturday.