MISSISSAUGA – After a couple of sub-par performances, the Sarnia Sting came up with a solid effort against the Mississauga Steelheads Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately the Sting fell just a whisker short of gaining any points.
A four-goal second period made the difference as the Steelheads posted a 4-3 victory over the Sting at the Hershey Centre.
“It’s tough,” admitted Sting head coach Trevor Letowski after the game. “We had a couple of leads and the leads could easily have been more than one or two goals. We had lots of chances and should have had at least one point out of this one.”
Sarnia went 0-3 on the weekend road trip and now has dropped four in a row in the Ontario Hockey League.
Their overall record dipped to 5-14-0-1.
The Sting opened the scoring at 5:54 of period one when newcomer Erik Robichaud scored his first career OHL goal. The only trouble is he never saw the puck go in the net.
Robichaud was at centre ice when he flipped the puck into the Mississauga change and then turned away to make a line change. The next thing the sparse crowd saw was the red goal light on. Somehow the puck had bounced past Steelheads goalie Spencer Martin.
“No, I never saw it go in.” said Robichaud. “I guess you have to be lucky than good sometimes.”
Sarnia made it 2-0 with one second left in the period when Craig Duininck took a cross-ice pass from Joshua Chapman and drilled a rocket past Martin from the point. Nick Latta also assisted on the captain’s fourth goal of the season.
Mississauga fought back to tie the game with two early second period goals. Trevor Carrick scored on a power play at 4:18and Bobby MacIntyre from close range at 6:13.
The Sting regained the lead at 9:32 on a power play when Nikita Korostelev notched his fourth of the season. He made a nice move from behind the net to slip the puck past Martin.
But another pair of quick goals by the Steelheads gave them their first lead of the game. Andrew Goldberg tied the game at 12:37 while Sam Babintsev put them ahead at 13:08.
That goal chased Sting starting goalie Brodie Barrick in favour of Taylor Dupuis. Barrick allowed four goals on 20 shots.
Even though the Sting scored one goal in the second frame, it was a case of missed scoring opportunities. Latta had two glorious chances, one on a breakaway, but missed the net both times. Nikolay Goldobin was also set up at close range, but he also shot wide.
The third period was much of the same for the Sting. Goldobin was in alone in the first minute, but never got a shot off.
Daniel Nikandrov appeared to score the tying goal at 8:53, but was waved off by the referee saying it was goalie interference by another Sting player.
“That was a tough one to take,” admitted Letowski, “I saw the reply and it looked good to me. I’m curious how they saw it. But that’s how our luck has been going of late,”
With time running out and Dupuis on the bench for an extra attacker, Goldobin rifled a close in shot off the cross bar with one a second remaining.
Mississauga finished with a 42-20 edge in shots on goal. Dupuis was solid in his time in the Sting net stopped all 22 shots he faced. Dupuis was named the game’s third star.
Each team was one-for-three on the power play.
The Sting returns home this week for a pair of games at the RBC Centre. They host the Kitchener Rangers Thursday night and welcome the Saginaw Spirit Friday night. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m.
“We are facing some adversity right now and some of the players don’t like it. It’s time to tighten up, make some changes, if necessary, have a good week of practice and move forward,” said Letowski.
Sarnia will complete the week with their third game is as many days when they travel to Plymouth to take on the Whalers Saturday night.
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
- Not dressed for the Sting were forward Matt Ciccarelli and defenceman Jeff King. Ciccarelli has his arm in a sling after suffering a shoulder injury late in the second period of Saturday’s game in Erie. He will have a MRI done on Monday to see the extent of the injury.
- The Sting got their first look at Steelheads defenceman Sean Day. He was granted exceptional status for the 2013 OHL draft, but did not go until the fourth overall pick by Mississauga. He currently has two goals and six assists while appearing in all 21 games. Day is minus-11.
The 15-year-old does not turn 16 until Jan. 9th. He stands six feet, two inches and weighs 217 pounds.