The Saginaw Spirit have a good team, and a very good goalie, in Jake Paterson.
On Friday night, this very good Saginaw team also came into Sarnia as one of the OHL's hottest teams (6-1-0-0 in their past seven games, since losing to Sarnia on Oct. 19) -- and was summarily spanked by the hometown Sting, 5-3, in front of 2,885 fans at RBC Centre.
It marked the third straight time the Sting has beaten Saginaw and Paterson this season. It was also the Sting's second consecutive win, after four straight losses. Sarnia began the bounceback weekend with a 5-0 victory over Kitchener on Thursday.
Sting coach Trevor Letowski said he has seen his team "stall" earlier this season after big wins, but he was pleased it didn't happen after Thursday's win. Following Friday's game, Sting coach Trevor Letowski praised his team's efforts.
"We were very solid in both wins," said Letowski. "With Chappy (defenceman Josh Chapman) out, and having just traded (team captain) Craig Duininck ... that's a big win tonight. That's a big statement game for our team."
Letowski said he has no explanation for his team's recent "dominance" over Saginaw.
"That team's been playing really well," said the coach. "They're not an easy team to beat.
"It's just one of those things," he added. "I have a lot of respect for (Spirit head coach) Greg Gilbert.
"When we play our game, work hard and don't turn over the puck, we can be an effective team," added Letowski. "Our guys should be really proud of themselves. We`re getting an above-average effort from all our players, and that`s what it takes for us to beat teams like Saginaw."
Friday's game was a wide-open affair -- particularly in the first period when the Sting outscored Saginaw, 3-2.
Nikolay Goldobin, the game's first star, and Bryan Moore gave the Sting three consecutive one-goal leads, trading goals with Saginaw's Eric Locke and Andrey Alexeev.
The Sting's number one line of Goldobin, Moore and Nick Latta was at its creative best once again on Friday and it was Latta scoring on a power play in the second to give the Sting the first two-goal lead of the game, 4-2.
Daniel Nikandrov's third period goal gave the Sting a 5-2 bulge before Saginaw's Cody Payne tapped in a cross-crease pass on a defensive breakdown, late in the third to finish the scoring.
Sting defenceman Anthony DeAngelo continued to rack up the points, contributing three assists to the Sting attack, while newcomer Jimmy McDowell added two helpers.
Taylor Dupuis, who has been in goal for each of the Sting's three straight wins over the Spirit, played well, stopping 43 of 46 Saginaw shots. The Sting fired 44 shots on Paterson.
The Sting will try to stay on a roll when they visit Plymouth on Saturday night. Game time is 7:05 p.m.