The Flint Firebirds scored three unanswered goals in the third period to overcome a 3-1 deficit to beat the Sarnia Sting 4-3, on Friday night at the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre. Detroit Red Wings prospect Villi Saarijarvi scored the game winner with less than nine minutes to go in the game.
Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist while Troy Lajeunesse and Matt Mistele scored once each for Sarnia. Jeff King added a pair of assists.
Keenan Reynolds and Will Bitten had a goal and an assist in the win for Flint, as they defeated Sarnia for the fourth time in seven meetings this season. Ryan Moore had a single tally and Mathieu Henderson contributed two assists.
Charlie Graham played well enough and deserved a better fate as he made 22 of 26 saves for Sarnia. Flint goaltender Brent Moran turned away 38 of 41 shots faced.
It did not take the Sting long to get on the board, as Lajeunesse scored his 14th of the year, beating Firebirds’ goaltender Moran, 53 seconds into the game. Both King and Konecny drew the assists.
As the first period continued, both teams battled with good scoring chances at both ends. With less than four minutes to play, Flint was able to tie the game at 1-1. Reynolds beat Graham with help from Will Bitten and Mathieu Henderson at 16:47.
Konecny put Sarnia back on top, near the midway point of the second period, with a goal from in front. King, with his second assist and Pavel Zacha, did the grunt work to set up the goal. Mistele added to the lead with a goal from the door step at 13:49. Sting Captain Sam Studnicka was credited with the only assist on Mistele’s 26th of the season. The ice was tilted in Sarnia’s favor for most of the middle stanza and the shots on goal told the story, Sarnia 16 and Flint 4.
Flint made a comeback in the first half of the third period and were able to tie the game at 3-3 with goals 66 seconds apart. Moore sliced the Sting lead to one goal at 6:47 from Reynolds, and Bitten scored the equalizer at 7:53, from Henderson. Villi Saarijarvi scored an unassisted power play goal at 11:19 to give the Firebirds their first lead of the game and it turned out to be the eventual game winner.
- The three stars were Bitten, Konecny and Moran.
- Sarnia will finish off weekend play at home hosting the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Sunday afternoon at 2:05 pm.
- Flint had the only power play goal as they went 1/3. Sarnia failed to score in their only chance with the man advantage.