By DAVE BORODY
Game 60 of the season for the Sarnia Sting proved to be a record-breaker.
The Sting set a team record for most goals scored in a game as they rolled to a 13-3 win over the Erie Otters, Friday night in front of 3,314 enthusiastic fans at the RBC Centre.
Sarnia broke the old mark of 11 goals they scored on two occasions during the 1998-99 Ontario Hockey League season.
After two consecutive home losses the Sting wanted to get off to a quick start against the Otters. Reid Boucher scored just 15 seconds after the puck was dropped and the Sting were on their way.
They scored four more goals in a span of five minutes to taking a commanding 5-0 lead before the game was 16 minutes old.
Sarnia led 5-1 after one period and 9-1 after 40 minutes.
Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu was happy with the bounce-back effort by the Sting, but admitted it’s just one game.
“I don’t put too much into a game like this because we haven’t played well over the past five games. It’s nice for the kids to put up some numbers, but they are going to have to forget about quickly and look at the next game.”
Beaulieu added, “We can feel good about ourselves, but we still have a lot of work to do. I didn’t like our neutral zone coverage. It was sloppy. Our gaps were not good and that’s why teams are getting a lot of shots on goal.”
Reid Boucher and captain Charlie Sarault led the offensive assault for the Sting. Boucher had four goals and two assists while Sarault had seven assists. The seven points is the most a Sting player has scored in a game this season.
Boucher’s four goals now gives him 57 on the season, one shy of the team record held by Steven Stamkos. Boucher is tied for second with Ivan Novoseltsev.
“It feels pretty good,” said Boucher, when asked about closing in on Stamkos’ record. I’ll feel a lot better when I go past it.”
Boucher, who scored six points for the first time this year, added, “We knew we had to come out and compete hard and we did just that. We got off to the quick start and didn’t take our foot off the gas. It was nice to see everyone contribute.”
Boucher had one good chance late in the game for his fifth goal. Five goals in a game by a player will win $10,000 for one lucky person in a CHOK Radio promotion.
“Yea, I got off a good shot, but it sailed over the net,” said Boucher.
Beaulieu calls Boucher a special player.
“He’s really special. In my 15 years coaching in the CHL I’ve never been part of a guy who scored 57 goals. And he’s not finished. It’s a credit to him.”
Nikolay Goldobin added two goals and two assists to take over the OHL rookie scoring lead with 57 points on 26 goals and 31 assists. He leads Connor McDavid of Erie by a point as McDavid was held off the score sheet.
Nick Latta had two goals and two assists, Bryan Moore two goals and one assist while Brett Hargrave, Anthony DeAngelo and Tyler Hore, with his first of the year, notched singles. Even goalie J.P.Anderson got on the score sheet with an assist in the first period.
Hayden Hodgson, Travis Wood and Dane Fox scored for Erie, who have lost 16 of their last 19 games.
Each team had 37 shots on goal. Anderson recorded the victory for Sarnia. Oscar Dansk allowed five goals on 10 shots in just over 15 minutes before giving way to Devin Williams for the Otters.
The Sting finished two-for-four on the power play while Erie was zero-for-six.
The Sting play their third game in as many nights Saturday night when they travel to Plymouth to battle the Whalers.
“They embarrassed us in our building earlier this week so we would like to return the favour,” said Boucher. “We know it’s going to be a tough task.”
The Sting has two road games next weekend and do not return to the RBC Centre until March 8 when they host the London Knights in a Sportsnet TV game.
Boucher was first star with Sarault second star and Latta third star. Hargrave was the Dickie’s hardest working player of the game.
Sarnia’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to one.
The Sting’s overall record improved to 33-24-0-3 while they are 16-12-0-2 on home ice. Sarnia has four home games left in the regular season.