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Sting Fall Flat Against Mississauga


By DAVE PAUL

 

 

A mere three weeks ago, the Sarnia Sting sat in a fourth-place tie in the OHL Western Conference standings and it appeared the team could be in the hunt for home-ice advantage in round one of the playoffs.

But since then the Sting have endured a slew of injuries and, playing shorthanded many nights, the team has skidded to a 2-6-1 record and slipped to seventh place in the West.

The latest loss came Sunday afternoon at RBC Centre, a 6-3 drubbing at the hands of the Mississauga Steelheads.

The Sting, once again, played with only 16 skaters, missing the likes of Pavel Zacha, Patrick White and Connor Schlichting due to injury and Josh Chapman because of a suspension.

And, while its tempting to blame the loss on fatigue because of the reduced roster size, Mississauga was playing its third game in three days on Sunday afternoon so the fatigue factor worked both ways.

But it didn't appear to affect the Steelheads.

They were the livelier of the two teams for much of the first half of the game, building a 4-0 lead by the 11:23 mark of the second period. The Sting tried to fight back, racking up some impressive shot totals over the second half of the game, but they were too far behind to mount a comeback.

 

"We didn't have that extra gear today, that maybe we had against Kitchener," said Sting coach Trevor Letowski, after the game.

"I felt our team was ready to go and I thought we were pushing them," in the first half of the first period, he added. "We just couldn't score."

The Steelheads opened the scoring just past the halfway mark of the first and scored again late in the frame to lead 2-0 after 20 minutes. They scored early in the second and, again, just past the midway mark to make it 4-0 before Stephen Pierog finally got Sarnia on the board. But a late power play goal by Mississauga made it 5-1 after 40 minutes and made a Sting comeback very unlikely.

Anthony Salinitri made it 5-2, but that was just past the halfway mark of the third and Mississauga replied almost immediately to regain a four-goal lead.

Jordan Kyrou finished the scoring with an impressive backhand wrap-around goal.

The Sting pulled goalie Taylor Dupuis, though they were down by three, with nearly three minutes left to play, but the move produced no goals for either side.

Dupuis took the loss while Mississauga back-up goalie Cameron Zanussi got the win.

Sarnia outshot 41-28.

"It was a valuable two points," that the team surrendered, said Letowski. "The upcoming schedule is not kind to us."

The Sting have road games in Sault Ste. Marie and Guelph this week before hosting Niagara at home on Saturday. They host the Soo on holiday Monday.

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