By DAVE BORODY
WINDSOR – Taylor Dupuis is going to remember his first start in goal for the Sarnia Sting for a long, long time.
The recently-acquired netminder turned aside 48 of 49 shots in leading the Sting to a 3-1 win over the Windsor Spitfires, Thursday night before 5,232 stunned fans at the Windsor Family Credit Union Centre.
The win was the first of the season for the Sting in the Ontario Hockey League to even their record at 1-1.
Dupuis was simply brilliant between the pipes as he had both the Spitfires players and their fans shaking their heads with a number of outstanding saves.
The 19 year-old came to the Sting just before the season began in a trade with the Sudbury Wolves. Dupuis had played only 18 games last season with the Wolves where he posted a 5-6-1-1 record and a 3.99 goals against average.
The Sting gave up a sixth round draft pick to get Dupuis.
“This feels real good,” said Dupuis, as he signed autographs after the game. “Not only for me, but for the team as well to get two points. The boys let me see a lot of the pucks. I know there were 49 shots, but not too many from close in. The guys also scored some goals early and gave my a nice cushion.”
Dupuis says he’s happy to be in Sarnia.“The goaltending situation in Sudbury was not ideal for me. Coming to Sarnia with a young squad I’m going to see a lot of rubber, but that’s okay. It’s a great city. I love coming to the rink in shorts. I’m definitely happy to be here.”
Dupuis lost his shutout bid three a half minutes left in the third period when Windsor finally found the back of the net on their 46th shot.
The Sting had only 20 shots on goal, but were much more efficient as they scored on three of their first six shots to taking a 3-0 early in the second period.
Sting head coach Trevor Letowski was happy for Dupuis.
“He was very good, obviously,” said Letowski. “We gave up too many shots, but Taylor was solid. He just looked comfortable in there and certainly made some big saves. It’s a great start for him.”
As for the win, Letowski said, “It feels good. I’m real happy for these guys. They got rewarded after a tough loss last weekend. The hockey gods were on our side tonight. But they have worked hard over the past month.”
Letowski downplayed his first career victory as a head coach.
“It’s not a huge deal for me. Like I say, I’m happy for those guys in the dressing room. They are the ones who worked so hard. It feels good for all of us.”
The Sting came home with two points despite playing without one of their top defenceman in Anthony DeAngelo. He was in Pittsburgh taking part in the USA Top Prospects Game. DeAngelo is expected to go in the early rounds of the 2014 National Hockey League draft.
Despite being outshot 14-3 in the opening period, Sarnia took a 1-0 lead thanks to Bryan Moore’s first of the season.
The goal came just past the midway point of the period. Moore took a pass from Josh Chapman, and using his speed, cut in from the left wing and fired a quick wrist shot past the Spitfires goalie.
Top draft pick Nikita Korostelev also assisted, his first career OHL point.
Sarnia took a 2-0 lead at 3:11 of period two on Jordan Addesi’s first goal of the year. He fired what appeared to be an innocent-looking wrist shot from a sharp angle, but the puck somehow went between the goalies legs.
The Sting scored on their next shot at 6:50 to make it 3-0. This one was no fluke as Nick Latta drilled home a centering pass from Korostelev. Moore also gained an assist.
That goal chased starting netminder Jordan DeKort of the Spitfires in favour of Dalen Kuchmey. DeKort allowed three goals on six shots.
At the other end of the ice, Dupuis continued to be a solid rock turning aside all 19 shots he faced, including a couple from point blank range.
Sarnia had just three shots again in period three, but was more focused at protecting their lead.
Dupuis lost his shutout at 16:32 when Slater Koekkoek took a cross-ice pass and snapped a shot into the top corner.
The Sting resume action this weekend with a pair of games at the RBC Centre. Sarnia takes on Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters Friday at 7:05 p.m. while they host the North Bay Battalion for their one and only appearance in Sarnia on Sunday beginning at 4:05 p.m.
Tickets for these two games 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 Sarniasting.com
- Dupuis was easily the game’s first star with Bryan Moore second star and Windsor’s Ryan Moore third star.
- Sarnia was zero-for-five with the man advantage while Windsor was zero-for-three.
- As part of the opening ceremonies at Friday’s game with Erie, the Sting will celebrate the retirement of long time broadcaster
Murray Vosbourgh. He began his illustrious career as colour commentator with the Sting during their inaugural season in 1994,
along side George Heath. Vosbourgh is well known and respected by all OHL teams as well as members of the OHL executive.
- Besides DeAngelo, other Sting players not dressed were Mike DiPaolo, Matt Ciccarelli and Alex Renaud.