By DAVE BORODY
The Sarnia Sting dropped a 6-3 decision to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Thursday night in front of 2,646 fans at the RBC Centre.
The loss was Sarnia’s second in a row and dropped them into seventh place in the Western Conference standings of the Ontario Hockey League.
Sarnia never led in this game. The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period before the Greyhounds took a 3-1 advantage after 40 minutes, thanks to a 22-5 edge in shots on goal in the second frame.
Sault Ste. Marie outscored Sarnia 3-2 in the third period. The Sting never got any closer than two goals in the final period.
“We needed to win this game and we didn’t come out and play desperate hockey,” said Sting forward Reid Boucher. “We got outplayed.”
Boucher scored a pair of goals, giving him 53 on the season. He is now just five short of tying the team record of 58 held by Steven Stamkos. There are nine games remaining.
Boucher added, “We’ve got to get excited. We should by fighting for our lives. We need to fight for every point down the stretch.”
Nick Cousins led the Greyhounds with three goals and one assist and was named the game’s first star. In eight games against the Sting this season Cousins had seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points.
Trent Mallette, Sergey Tolchinsky and Ryan Sproul scored the other Sault Ste. Marie goals.
Craig Duininck scored the other Sting goal, his seventh of the season. Anthony DeAngelo had two assists while Charlie Sarault, Nikolay Goldobin, Alex Basso and Brett Hargrave had one apiece.
The Greyhounds outshot Sarnia 45-23. J.P. Anderson went the distance in goal for the Sting. Justin Nichols played the first period before giving way to Matt Murray in the second and third periods.
Sting coach Jacques Beaulieu was not pleased with his team’s effort.
“We competed for about 10 minutes in the third period and that was it. They put a lot of pucks on our net. Right now we aren’t winning the battles and that’s why teams are getting a lot of shots on goal.”
When asked what his team needs to do better against Erie, Beaulieu replied, “Get more pucks to the net, work a little harder and draw more penalties.”
The Sting had just one power play opportunity against the Greyhounds. Unfortunately it didn’t come until the third period and Boucher did score with the man advantage. The Greyhounds were one-for-five with the man advantage.
Sarnia completes a four-game home stand when they host the Erie Otters Friday night beginning at 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre. The Sting will then play three on the road with their next home game March 8th when they host the London Knights.
Tickets for Friday’s game and all remaining home games of the Sting are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
Cousins was first star with Sproul second star and Boucher third star. Nick Latta was the Dickies hardest working player of the game.
The four-point game by Cousins gives him 97 points, tops in the OHL. Sarault had one assist and is second with 90 points. Sarault celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday.
The Sting again played without Mike DiPaolo and Taki Pantziris, both injured.
Sarnia’s home record is now 15-12-0-2.
Sault Ste. Marie won five of eight games with the Sting this season.