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No Luck of the Irish for the Sting
MARCH 14, 2015


By DAVE PAUL
 

Ex-Sarnia Sting forward Vladislav Kodola came back to haunt his former teammates, Friday night at the RBC Centre, as the Sting fell, 4-3, to the Saginaw Spirit.

Kodola's game-winning goal was the only scoring in the third period of a highly-entertaining game -- one which saw the Sting fall behind 3-0 by the 13-minute mark of the first period, only to come back and score three times in the second period to even the score at 3-3.

The Belarussian forward has struggled since his trade to Saginaw earlier this season, tallying just six points in 21 games coming into Friday night's contest. But his impressive, breakaway game-winner at 9:40 of the third gave the Spirit a much-needed two points in their quest to hold onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Kodola's tally was also the only goal allowed by Justin Fazio, who played 47 minutes of Friday night's game, after relieving starter Taylor Dupuis.
Despite taking the loss, Fazio was outstanding -- spectacular, at times, particularly during a five-minute stretch in the second period when he made three stunning saves, lunging across the crease to take away certain goals from the Saginaw shooters.

The middle save of that trio, a headlong, post-to-post dive and glove save, prompted a standing ovation from the Sarnia crowd.

Sting coach Trevor Letowski called it "a game that could have went either way."

"We kind of traded, chance for chance," for much of the game, said Letowski. "We were a little flat early ... but the second period was a completely different story. We showed some really good 'push back' and put ourselves back in the game.

"I think the third period was fairly even. We pressured them late, hit a post and a crossbar," said Letowski.

In fact the Sting were all over the Spirit, while using six attackers, during the final minute of the game. But they were unable to score the equalizer.
 

The Sting played without defenceman Jakob Chychrun. He was held out for "precautionary reasons" and will also miss Saturday night's game in Sault Ste. Marie.

Letowski would not elaborate on Chychrun's injury but did say it's noticeable when the rookie defenceman is out of the lineup.

"I thought our forward group was pretty good tonight," said Letowski, "but we struggled to defend. ... Our group of six just wasn't good enough for this time of year."

Noah Bushnell, Troy Lajeunesse and Hayden Hodgson scored the three second period goals for the Sting, all on high wrist shots that beat Saginaw goalie Evan Cormier. Saginaw outshot Sarnia 37-33.

The Sting, now virtually locked in to seventh place in the Western Conference standings (and a first round playoff matchup against Erie Otters), will wrap up this weekend's action with Saturday's trip to the Soo.

Next weekend they will wrap up the season by hosting Windsor on Friday, then traveling to Owen Sound on Saturday and Guelph on Sunday.
"It's an important stretch. We need to finish strong," says Letowski. "We're striving for consistency. ... We've got to be playing our best hockey," to finish up the season.

 

The Sting wore the unique green St. Patrick’s Day themed jerseys, 
The Jerseys are being auctioned off to raise funds for the Sting Foundation. Click here to place your bid

 

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