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Sting Lose Game 3 Heartbreaker
MARCH 29, 2015


By DAVE PAUL

The Sarnia Sting trail the Erie Otters 2-games-to-1 after Game 3 of their best-of-seven, opening round OHL playoff series, Sunday night at RBC Centre.

But, for the third straight game, the Sting turned in a stellar effort against the heavily-favoured Otters in a fantastic game that truly could have gone either way.

A look-what-I-found goal, halfway through the third period by megastar Connor McDavid, turned out to be the game-winner in Erie’s 6-5 victory, spoiling a stellar effort by the home team, in front of a sell out crowd.

The Sting got off to a great start, playing a superb first period. They led 2-1 after 20 minutes but it could easily have been a larger lead.

Stephen Pierog opened the scoring 3:30 into the first and Pavel Zacha made it 2-0, nine minutes in.

Pierog then came close to making it 3-0 a short time later, when he found himself alone in front of Erie goalie Devin Williams for the second time in the period, but hit the post.

It turned out to be the first of many turning points in the game as Dylan Strome scored a short time later to make the score 2-1.

The Sting came close to getting their third goal of the period again, near the end of the frame, when Daniel Nikandrov hit the underside of the crossbar, missing a goal by fractions of an inch.

Otters goalie Williams – who looked shaky the entire game, and could be his team’s Achilles heel – was clearly beaten by the shot, but it stayed out and the score was 2-1 at the end of the frame.

 

Early in the second the Otters showed how explosive they could be, scoring four times in a span of 3:23, to take a 5-2 lead and, it appeared, seize control of the game.

The Otters capitalized on a couple of Sting penalties during their barrage – officiating clearly irking the crowd, which felt the Sting were being more harshly treated by the referees. However, the fifth Otters goal was a shorthanded effort.

The Sting comeback started a couple of minutes later when Alex Renaud scored at 7:15 to make the score 5-3.

There was no scoring for the final 12:45 of the middle period.

 

But in the third, the Sting stepped up and scored a pair of early goals – a power play goal by Hayden Hodgson at 2:25 and an even strength marker by Troy Lajeunesse, 52 seconds later, to even the score at 5-5, sending the home crowd into a frenzy, once again.

Action went back and forth until midway through the frame when a scrummed faceoff resulted in the puck popping out to McDavid who was in the right place at the right time, and found himself all alone, one-on-one vs. Sting goalie Taylor Dupuis.

McDavid had lots of time to dangle the puck right across the goal crease until Dupuis committed, went down, and gave McDavid most of the net to shoot at.

The Sting pressured the Otters relentlessly down the stretch and narrowly missed tying the score at 6-6 on numerous occasions.

But they could not convert and the Otters skated away with the win and a 2-1 lead in the series.


Post Game Interview with Head Coach Trevor Letowski

Game 4 is Tuesday night at RBC Centre.

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