Sarnia Sting Downed by Plymouth sunday march 23, 2013
By DAVE BORODY
PLYMOUTH, Michigan – If there’s one thing you need to know about this year’s edition of the Sarnia Sting, they are not quitters.
After get blown out in game one, the Sting bounced back with a wonderful effort against the Plymouth Whalers Saturday night.
Unfortunately it was one goal short.
The Whalers built up a 3-1 second period lead and then hung on to edge the Sting 3-2 in front of 2,883 fans at the Compuware Sports Arena.
The win gives Plymouth a 2-0 lead in the best of seven Ontario Hockey League Western Conference quarter-final playoff series.
“The kids were working tonight, a lot harder than in game one,” said Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu. “We also competed a lot harder. We were winning the one-on-one battles and winning face-offs. Our whole game was better.”
The Whalers snapped a 1-1 tie with a pair of unanswered goals in the second period.
“They came hard at us in the second period. I almost was going to call a time out. They are a good hockey team.”
He added, “We gave them too much respect in game one. We were standing around and watched them play.”
The Sting lost veteran defenceman Alex Basso with a minute left in period two when he took a match penalty for slashing. The puck got caught up in Basso’s equipment and after the whistle blew, Tom Wilson of the Whalers slashed Basso and was given a minor penalty before Basso retaliated.
Basso faces further discipline.
“It was tough losing him like that,” said Sting captain, Charlie Sarault. “It was in the heat of the moment and he got frustrated. Hopefully the suspension won’t be too long.”
Sarault said the Sting played a strong game.
“We came in here tonight and played with a lot more intensity. We played a simple game. Our penalty killing was good. It’s too bad we couldn’t have scored a couple more goals on the power play.”
Sarnia was two-for-10 with the man advantage while Plymouth was zero-for-four.
Sarnia was already without two forwards as a result of injuries suffered in game one.
Alex Carnevale suffered a concussion after being hit in the head by Plymouth’s Matt Mistele in the first period of game one. The league has suspended Mistele indefinitely.
Forward Bryan Moore also did not play due to a lower body injury.
Defenceman Josh Chapman returned to the lineup after missing game one and played a strong game. Rookie forward Matt Ciccarelli also dressed.
The Whalers got off to another fast start at 1:26 of period one when Mitchell Heard drilled a slapshot over the shoulder of J.P. Anderson from the left wing.
But the Sting tied the game at 4:59 on the power play when Nick Latta deflected home a point shot from Basso. Brett Hargrave also drew an assist.
Although outshot 11-9 in the period, Sarnia had several good scoring chances, thanks to three more power play opportunities.
However it was a different story in period two as Plymouth outshot Sarnia 18-5 and scored a pair of goals.
Zack Lorentz put the Whalers ahead 2-1 at 1:50 when he took a centering pass and slipped a backhand past Anderson.
The Whalers extended their lead to 3-1 at 6:36 when Tom Wilson wristed a shot over the shoulder of Anderson on a two-on-one break.
The Sting cut the lead to 3-2 at 5:31 of period three on the power play when Reid Boucher backhanded home a low shot from close range. Craig Duininck and Anthony DeAngelo drew assists.
Sarnia then had a golden opportunity when they enjoyed a two-man advantage for 53 seconds. They had several great chances, but missed the net on two open shots.
In the final minute with Anderson on the bench for an extra attacker, Boucher had a great chance in front of the Whalers net, but the puck was bouncing and he could not get off a shot with what appeared to be half of the net open.
The Whalers outshot the Sting 36-27 overall, but the Sting held a 13-7 advantage in the third period.
Beaulieu says the series is not over yet.
“Our kids are comfortable playing in their own rink. We need to get our fans behind us like they do here in Plymouth and get the rink hopping like in here. Our five-on-five play has to be better while we need to get 40 shots on goal to win.”
Sarault also believes the Sting can bounce back.
“We need to bring the same kind of effort and keep the intensity level up. We need our fans behind us, be disciplined and bare down on our scoring chances.”
The series now switches to the RBC Centre in Sarnia for games three and four on Monday and Wednesday. The games will begin at 7:05 p.m.
Tickets for both games are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
- Heard was first star with Lorentz second star and Latta third star.
- Former Toronto Maple Leafs manager Brian Burke was in attendance. Burke is now a scout with Anaheim Ducks.