By DAVE BORODY
MISSISSAUGA – The Sarnia Sting dropped a 4-2 decision to the Mississauga Steelheads, Wednesday night in front of just 1,624 fans at the Hershey Centre.
The loss was the second in as many games for the Sting who saw their record fall to 26-17-0-3 in the Ontario Hockey League.
After taking a 1-0 lead, Sarnia allowed three Mississauga goals in a span of just over three minutes late in the first period to fall behind 3-1 after 20 minutes.
The Sting would never recover from that lapse. They pulled to within a goal late in the second period, but could not come up with a tying goal in the third period before the Steelheads scored into an open net in the final minute.
“It’s rather disappointing because this was a real important game and we came out very, very flat,” said Sting associate coach, Trevor Letowski. “But we did have some fight and push back in the second half of the game and that’s something. We knew they were a fragile team and we did give ourselves a chance.
“But that’s still no excuse to start the game that slowly and not get points, which are so important at this time of the season.”
Sarnia had just three shots on goal over the opening 14 minutes of that game. Part of that was due to the fact they had to kill off back-to-back penalties.
But when the Sting did get a power play, it took them just 14 seconds before Nikolay Goldobin whipped home a pass from Alex Basso at 14:06 for his 22nd goal of the season. It was also his first goal in seven games. Charlie Sarault added his league-leading 55th assist on the play.
However the Steelheads tied the game at 15:36 when Bobby MacIntyre re-directed home a point shot past Sting goalie J.P. Anderson.
At 16:19, Mississauga took a 2-1 lead when Riley Brace took advantage of a Sting giveaway behind their own net. Brace stole the puck, came in front and put a backhand past a surprised Anderson.
Kristoff Kontas scored what turned out to be the winning goal at 17:51 on the power play when he cashed in on a rebound after a point shot was stopped by Anderson.
Sarnia had penalty issues early in the second period as they took three in a row, but was able to kill them all off.
The Sting closed the lead to 3-2 at 18:13 when Davis Brown scored his fifth of the year sending a wrist shot behind the legs of goalie Spencer Martin. Craig Duininck and Alex Carnevale picked up assists.
There were no penalties called in the third period. Sarnia held a wide edge in play and a 14-6 edge in shots on goal. They had several good scoring opportunities, but were turned away at Martin in the Steelheads goal.
Sarnia had one last gasp with a face-off in the Mississauga zone with less than a minute to play and Anderson on the bench for an extra attacker. But the face-off was lost and seconds later it resulted on a two-man breakaway. Brace scored his second of the night with 26.3 seconds left into an open net.
Sarnia finished with a 38-32 edge in shots on goal. Sarnia was one-for-three with the man advantage while Mississauga was one-for-six.
“We started okay, but the rest of the first period was terrible,” said Sting defenceman Anthony DeAngelo. “We got better as the game went on. We also seemed to get a little frustrated with our scoring chances. We have to bare down more.”
As for two key upcoming games with Plymouth, DeAngelo said, “First we have to forget about this game and be prepared for the next two games. They are huge. I think we can win both of them.”
The Sting now prepare for a crucial home and home series with the Plymouth Whalers. It begins Friday at the RBC Centre. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The two teams meet again Saturday night at the Compuware Sports Arena in Plymouth.
Tickets for Friday’s game and all remaining home games for the Sting are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at www.sarniasting.com
- Sarnia went with the same lineup as in their previous two games with David Nemecek being the only healthy scratch.
- All three stars went to Mississauga with goalie Martin first star, MacIntyre second star and Brace third star.
- Sarnia’s road record fell to 14-8-0-1.
- Ex-Sting Craig Hottot played his 11th game since joining Mississauga in a trade before Christmas. He has no points and is minus eight with 29 penalty minutes.
- Sarnia’s record when trailing after two periods is now 2-11-0-1.
- The Steelheads won both games between the two clubs this season.
- For Anderson, it was his first game back at the Hershey Centre since the trade to the Sting over a year ago.