By DAVE BORODY
ST. CATHARINES – Three power play goals proved to be the difference as the Niagara IceDogs skated to a 6-3 victory over the Sarnia Sting, Thursday night in front of 2,851 fans at the Gatorade Garden City Complex.
The loss was Sarnia’s second straight and dropped their overall record to 5-12-0-1 in the Ontario Hockey League. Niagara snapped a five-game losing streak.
Niagara jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one period and enjoyed a 5-0 lead by the 14-minute mark of period two. The Sting closed the gap to 5-2 after 40 minutes before each team scored late in the third period.
“They outworked us,” said Sting head coach Trevor Letowski. “We knew they would be a desperate team and they took it to us right from the opening whistle. We didn’t have enough fight back. It wasn’t pretty.”
He added, “We were down only 2-0 after one period, but they scored a couple of quick power play goals early in the second. Those were tough to give up. One looked like a high stick.
“When we scored those two quick goals late in the second period it gave us a little life. But in reality it was too little, too late. We need a better effort than that on the road to get two points.”
The Sting had a hard time containing Carter Verhaeghe, a draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, He notched the hat trick. Ben Hughes added two goals and Jesse Graham one for the IceDogs.
Bryan Moore led the Sting offence with a pair of goals, giving him nine on the season. Nick Latta notched his 15th of the year and also added an assist. Nikolay Goldobin picked up a pair of assists.
Niagara held a 37-31 edge in shots on goal, including 16-7 in the first period. Christopher Festarini was the winning goalie while Brodie Barrick took the loss.
Niagara finished three for six with the man advantage while Sarnia was two-for-six.
The Sting gets a day off before continuing their three-game road trip. Saturday night. Sarnia travels to Erie to battle the Otters while Sunday afternoon they take on the Mississauga Steelheads at the Hershey Centre.
Letowski knows his team must put forth a much better effort on Saturday night.
“We haven’t played well now in back-to-back games. We know Erie is a tough team, especially in their own building. We need a lot better effort.”
Sarnia’s next home game is Nov. 14th when they host the Kitchener Rangers beginning at 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre. They will also be home the next night to the Saginaw Spirit.
Tickets for 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 Sarniasting.com
Scratches for the Sting included newcomer Erik Robichaud and defenceman Jeff King. Robichaud drove all night from Timmins in order to join the team for the road trip. He took part in the pre-game skate. He’s expected to play on Saturday in Erie.
Defenceman Connor Schlichting of the Sting was the Academic player of the month in October for the West Division. The rookie rearguard has an 84 percent average attending Northern Collegiate.
Sarnia’s road record dropped to 2-5-0-0.
Anthony DeAngelo of the Sting picked up one assist and continues to lead all OHL defencemen in scoring with seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points. DeAngelo ranks 15th in overall league scoring.
All three stars were from Niagara.