By DAVE BORODY
ERIE, Pa. – The Erie Otters remained unbeaten on home ice following a 7-1 victory over the Sarnia Sting, Saturday night in front of 4,777 fans at the newly renovated Erie Insurance Arena.
The Otters set a franchise record with their ninth consecutive home win in the Ontario Hockey League. They are the only team who have yet to lose a regulation-time game in the OHL.
Their overall record improved to 15-3-1-0 as they have won 13 of their last 14 games.
For the Sting, they have lost three in a row. Their overall record stands at 5-13-0-1.
In those three losses, Sarnia has given up 19 goals while scoring only seven.
Newcomer Erik Robichaud made his debut for the Sting. The overage forward played on a line with Daniel Nikandrov and Alex Carnevale.
Robichaud had a great chance in the third period when he couldn’t finish off a goalmouth pass from Tyler Hore.
Sarnia outshot Erie 10-7 in the opening period and had the better scoring chances, but the Otters held a 1-0 lead.
The only goal of the period came at the 58-second mark when Dane Fox snapped a wrist shot past Sting goalie, Taylor Dupuis from the slot.
The Sting thought they had scored a shorthanded goal late in the period when a rebound shot off the stick of Nikandov appeared to just get over the goal line. The play continued for several seconds and when play was finally stopped, video review ruled no goal.
(The Otters do not use goal judges anymore since video review came to the OHL).
The opening eight minutes of period two proved disastrous for the Sting as Erie scored three times to take a commanding 4-0 lead. Import Andre Burakovsky had two goals and Darren Raddysh one.
The Sting finally got on the scoreboard at 11:53 when Alex Renaud notched his first goal of the season. He took a pass in the slot and ripped a wrist shot over the shoulder of goalie Devin Williams. Vladislav Kodola and Nick Latta picked up assists.
But two and a half minutes later Erie extended their lead to 5-1 when Burakovsky completed his hat trick on the power play.
Travis Dermott and Fox scored the Otters goals in the third period.
Erie was two-for-five on the power play while Sarnia was zero-for-six.
The Otters held a 30-19 edge in shots on goal. The Sting could muster only four shots in the third period.
The Sting completes their three-game road trip Sunday afternoon when they travel to Mississauga to battle the Steelheads. Game time is 2 p.m.
Sarnia returns home next week for a pair of games at the RBC Centre. They host the Kitchener Rangers Thursday night and the Saginaw Spirit Friday night. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m.
Tickets for 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
Healthy scratches for the Sting included forward Patrick White and defenceman Connor Schlichting. Sarnia currently has 22 players on their roster.
The Sting’s road record is now 2-6-0-0.
Sarnia is now 0-6-0-0 when trailing after the first period and 1-9-0-1 when behind after 40 minutes.
Renovations at the Erie Insurance Arena cost $47 million and took over a year and a half to complete. With standing room, capacity is now 6,800.
Erie has won both games against the Sting this year. They play two more times.
Otters forward Connor Brown had two assists and leads the OHL in scoring with 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points. Sophomore sensation Connor MacDavid picked up three assists.