By DAVE PAUL
Photos by Pat Brethauer
In the space of 48 seconds, Sarnia Sting sniper Nikolay Goldobin turned what looked to be a sleepy loss into a glorious come-from-behind, 3-2 win for the home team, Friday night at RBC Centre.
The Sting entered the third period trailing the Plymouth Whalers 2-0 in a game that had lacked the intensity one might have expected from a pair of rival teams battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the OHL's Western Conference.
Sarnia`s Alex Renaud scored on a scramble in front of the Plymouth goal at 3:08 of the third period to get the Sting to within a goal.
Still, it looked like that was as close as the Sting would get. Until, with 55 seconds left to play and the Sting goalie pulled -- and the Whalers having missed on a couple of opportunities to score on the open net -- Goldobin wristed the tying goal past Plymouth netminder Alex Nedeljkovic from the high slot.
Then, with just seven seconds left to play, Goldobin was credited with the winner on a goal that actually bounced off a Plymouth defender and into the Whalers net.
Following the game, Sting coach Trevor Letowski acknowledged "the first 40 minutes, it was a pretty quiet, boring game."
Letowski said both teams seemed to be playing very cautiously during the first two periods.
He added the instructions to his team, during the second intermission, was to "try to push the pace and ... be more aggressive.
"I thought we played a really good solid third period," said Letowski. "Once again, we were resilient ... I think you gotta give our guys credit. ... It was an exciting way to end the game."
Goldobin, who also had an assist in the contest was named the game's first star. The three point effort moved him into the league's top-10 scorers (he is tied for ninth, with 48 points).
The usually busy Taylor Dupuis needed to make just 14 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Sting while Sarnia fired 30 shots on Nedeljkovic.
With the win, the Sting moved into a tie with Plymouth for eighth place in the Western Conference. Each team has 25 points.
The Sting will be back in action Saturday night when they host Kingston at 7 p.m. at RBC Centre.