BELLEVILLE – There’s no question the Sarnia Sting do not like shootouts.
The Sting has been involved in five shootouts this season and unfortunately has lost all five.
The latest came Saturday night when the Belleville Bulls defeated the Sting 5-4 in a shootout in front of 2,688 fans at the Yardman Arena.
The Sting is now winless in their last four games in the Ontario Hockey League. But they did pick up a valuable point in their quest to remain in fourth place in the Western Conference.
Sarnia now leads Owen Sound by two points for fourth spot. Owen Sound lost 3-2 to Guelph.
Joseph Cramarossa of the Bulls scored on Sting goalie J.P. Anderson on the third shot in the shootout to give the Bulls the victory and end a six-game losing streak. (Both Cramarossa and Anderson began the season with St. Michael’s Majors).
The sad part for the Sting is they never trailed in the game. The teams were scoreless after the first period while Sarnia held a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
The Sting led 4-3 early in period three before Belleville tied the game with just under seven minutes left in regulation time.”
“We had an okay first period, had a good second period, but got outworked in the third period,” said Sting forward, Brett Thompson, who had three assists on the night. “They got the momentum in the third period.”
He added, “I don’t think fatigue set in, it was a case of us mental a lot of mental errors. In the overtime, but teams had chances, but J.P. (Anderson) held us in there.”
When asked what it’s going to take to end the winless streak, Thompson said, “It’s going to take the whole team working hard. We need everyone on board.”
The opening period was scoreless even though the Sting outshot the Bulls 12-8 and had several golden scoring opportunities, including two breakaways by Nail Yakupov and Reid Boucher. Unfortunately both players shot wide.
Sarnia also played shorthanded for six minutes, but killed off all three penalties.
The second period was wide open with five goals being scored, three by the Sting.
Sarnia took a 1-0 lead at 1:59 when Ludvig Rensfeldt finished off a two-on-one with Reid Boucher. The cross-ice pass provided Rensfeldt with an open net.
Belleville tied the game at 9:06 when Sting goalie J.P. Anderson fell behind the net trying to clear the puck. The puck came in front and ex-Sting Garrett Hooey had an open net.
Just 57 seconds later the Sting regained the lead when Rensfeldt notched his second of the game when he knocked in a loose puck from close range. Rensfeldt now has 14 goals on the season.
The Sting went ahead 3-1 a minute later when Domenic Alberga banged home a rebound after a point shot from Craig Duininck. It was Alberga’s 11th goal of the year.
But the Bulls wouldn’t go away and cut the lead to 3-2 at 16:08 when Jordan Mayer poked home a rebound.
Yakupov had his second breakaway of the game with just over two minutes remaining in the period. He tried to go upstairs with a backhand, but Bulls goalie Charlie Graham made a great glove stop.
The Bulls tied the game 32 seconds into period three when Brendan Gaunce wristed a shot past Anderson.
The Sting went up 4-3 three minutes later when Ryan Spooner banged home a rebound off a Rensfeldt shot. Spooner now has 19 goals on the season.
The Bulls outshot Sarnia 20-7 in period three and tied the game at 13:12 when Brady Austin made a rink-long dash and sent a low wrist shot between the legs of Anderson.
The five-minute overtime period was wild as both teams had several golden scoring chances, however, both netminders made solid stops to keep the game tied. Yakupov had another partial breakaway, but never got a shot off.
In the shootout, Sarnia scored first on a goal by Hottot. But the rookie Bulls goalie then stopped Yakupov and Spooner.
After missing on their first attempt, Belleville scored on their next two shots to gain the extra points.
In both meetings this season, Belleville defeated Sarnia in a shootout.
The Bulls finished with a 44-38 edge in shots on goal. Sarnia was zero-for-two on the power play while Belleville was zero-for-four.
The Sting completes their three-game road trip Sunday afternoon when they face the Kingston Frontenacs beginning at 2 p.m.
Sarnia returns home Friday when they host the Plymouth Whalers. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre. Tickets are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
– Brady Austin of the Bulls with a goal and an assist was first star with Rensfeldt second star and Gaunce of the Bulls third star.
– The Sting lost two defencemen in the third period. Adrian Robertson took an elbow to the face and did not return while Duininck took a shot off the ankle late in the period and also did not comeback.
– Yakupov had his eight-game consecutive goal streak snapped. Boucher had two assists, but has not scored in his last 11 games.
– Sarnia had their perfect record of leading after two periods snapped. They went into the game with a 17-0-0-0 mark when ahead after 40 minutes.
– Julian Luciani was the lone scratch for the Sting.
– Ex-Sting Grant Hooey has 10 goals and eight assists in 47 games.
– Sarnia has 20 games remaining in the regular schedule.
– You can listen to all Sting games on Country 103.09 CHOK Radio.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games both home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.