Story by DAVE PAUL
Video & Photos by Dan Paul
Photos by Pat Brethauer
The drought is over.
The Sarnia Sting ended an 11-game losing streak in convincing fashion, Saturday night at RBC Centre, thumping the Ottawa 67's, 6-1.
The Sting -- and goalie Brodie Barrick -- were actually 5.6 seconds away from shutting out the 67's but the visitors managed to avoid the whitewash with a late goal.
It was a dominant performance by the Sting, who welcomed back star defenceman Anthony DeAngelo from an eight-game suspension. DeAngelo added a lot of punch to the team's offence, scoring twice, adding one assist, and not looking at all rusty after his long layoff.
The Sting fans even got into the act, performing the wave, late in the third period.
The Sting visit Windsor to face the Spitfires on Sunday afternoon.
Sarnia completely dominated the play, outshooting Ottawa, 9-2. Captain Nick Latta, with his 32nd goal of the season, gave the Sting a 1-0 lead, which they maintained at the end of 20 minutes.
In a more balanced period (shots were 13-13), Sarnia was able to defend the one-goal lead until Davis Brown scored to make it 2-0, just past the 12 minute mark. Then, in the final minute of play, Brandon Lindberg scored on a shorthanded breakaway, and the teams went to the dressing rooms with the Sting leading 3-0 after 40 minutes.
Ottawa outshot the Sting 13-9 in the third, but didn't really have a significant territorial advantage. Noah Bushnell's goal, early in the third made it 4-0 and DeAngelo finished the Sting scoring with his two tallies.
Sting coach Trevor Letowski said:
"We haven't had a game like that, maybe all year. Tonight everything seemed to go well. We got a good effort from everybody. … It means a lot just to end that streak.
"Ottawa's a desperate team. They are fighting for a playoff spot. For us, we don't have that built-in motivation, so for us to get that effort out of our group, it means a lot. … It's a testament to our guys.
"Now we've outshot teams back-to-back nights -- that probably hasn't happened all year. That says something, that we're starting to maybe turn the page a little bit," added Letowski. "We're playing a little tighter, that's good. … We want to play like that the rest of the year. If our group plays like that we're going to be happy down the stretch.
"(DeAngelo) was outstanding. Anthony's been through a lot over the last few weeks -- all he could do is respond.
"I'm sure there were a lot of people watching tonight to see how he would play and he was very very good tonight," said Letowski. "He made the smart play, he played sound hockey, he got three points … he was the glue for us."
Anthony DeAngelo, on his return:
"It was great to get back on the ice. ... I paid the price for what I did and I was ready to get back and learn from it and tonight I think I did a good job and it was good to get a win.
It was fun tonight, I saw the guys smiling on the bench," continued DeAngelo. "Losing 10 straight is not fun …. I thought they (Ottawa) were playing hard, but they just couldn't handle us tonight. I thought we played really sound and we did the little things we needed to do to win the game."
DeAngelo, on his lesson learned:
I was really frustrated, I made a mistake and I learned from it -- I got to clear my mind.
"I usually don't have fun on the ice, and I think that's what has been the problem recently. I've been getting so mad, you know, it's been a bit of a rough season. … But tonight I had fun, and it was a great game for me, personally, and for the team.
"It's nice to be on (the winning) end of things for once … we just hope we can keep it going against Windsor.
"The biggest thing was the two points. … Obviously it's tough to let in a goal with five seconds left -- but we've been in a hole here, so it's great to get two points for the team."