PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The good times continue for the Sarnia Sting.
The Sting won their fourth game in a row as they edged the Plymouth Whalers 4-2, Saturday night in front of only 1,718 fans at the Compuware Sports Arena.
With the win, Sarnia improved to 12-11-1-1 in the Ontario Hockey League. It marks the first time they have been over the .500 mark since Oct. 16th when they had a 4-3-1-0 mark.
Sarnia has also won six of their last seven games.
“It was another big road win – it’s exciting,” comments Head Coach Trevor Letowski. “That was arguably our best 1st period all season. We came in here and dominated early on. If not for their goalie, we could have been up more.”
“We lost some flow as the game went on and penalties let them back in the game. But, we kept battling and found a way to win,” adds Letowski.
Nikita Korostelev proved to be the hero as he scored the winning goal with just under six minutes to play in regulation time.
The Sting got off to a fast start taking a 1-0 lead just 59 seconds into the game. Daniel Nikandrov did a wraparound from behind the net to slip the puck past the goalie. Anthony DeAngelo and Alexandre Renaud picked up assists.
Nikandrov scored his second of the game and seventh of the year at 14:37 on a shorthanded breakaway. He outraced the Whalers defender and fired home a low shot.
The Sting did a great job defensively, allowing just five shots on goal in the opening frame.
Plymouth cut the lead to 2-1 at 8:36 of period two on a bit of a lucky bounce. A point shot was stopped by Sting goalie Justin Fazio, but the puck then bounced off Will Bitten of the Whalers and into the net.
The Whalers came out hard to start the third period forcing Fazio to making several solid saves.
But just after the Sting had killed off a second consecutive Whalers power play, Plymouth tied the game at 9:52 when Matt Mistele sent home a high wrist shot from the slot.
Korostelev put the Sting ahead 3-2 at 14:07 with his team-high 14th goal of the season. He took advantage of a Whalers giveaway to cut in front of the net and fire the puck past the goalie.
Plymouth pulled their goalie with a minute left and had two good scoring chances that were stopped by Fazio.
Brandon Lindberg iced the game for Sarnia scoring into an open net with 5.2 seconds left. It was his eighth goal of the year.
Fazio recorded his first win in goal since mid-October with a solid performance-turning aside 30 of 32 shots he faced. Alex Nedeljkovic took the loss as he made 27 stops.
On Fazio, Letowski comments, “It was nice to see him play well. He hasn’t played a ton for us lately and was coming off a tough loss [against Erie]. He made some big saves tonight. It doesn’t surprise me, he’s a gamer.”
Sarnia finished zero-for-two on the power play while Plymouth was zero-for-five.
The Sting will play their third game in as many days when they host the Kingston Frontenacs Sunday afternoon beginning at 4:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre. It will be Kingston’s lone appearance of the season in Sarnia.
There will also be a special autograph session with the players after the game in the Hive. Children’s tickets are only $6 for the game.
Tickets for all Sting home games are on sale daily at the RBC Centre Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
– Nikandrov was first star with Bitten of the Whaler second star and Fazio third star.
– The Sting went with the same lineup as the previous two games. Pavel Zacha was serving the third game of a six-game suspension. He is eligible to return Dec. 7th against Sault Ste. Marie. Jakob Chychrun, Matt Ciccarelli and Connor Schlichting are all injured.
– Sarnia and Plymouth meet five more times this season.
– Kevin Spinozzi leads the Sting in plus-minus at plus-14.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games both home and away and also does features on the Sting Website.