Sting Sting Downed by Plymouth Whalers monday march 23, 2013
By DAVE BORODY
The Sarnia Sting finds themselves behind the eight ball.
The Sting dropped a 5-2 decision to the Plymouth Whalers, Monday night in front of 2,427 faithful fans at the RBC Centre.
With the win Plymouth now holds a 3-0 lead in the best of seven Ontario Hockey League Western Conference quarter-final playoff series.
As in games one and two the Whalers got off to another quick start.
They scored just over a minute into the game, led 2-0 after four minutes and 3-1 before the game was 11 minutes old. In the first period the Whalers outshot the Sting 19-4.
“It hurts,” said Sting head coach, Jacques Beaulieu, when asked about the Whalers quick starts. “We talked about it before the game. We failed to win the opening face-off, something we haven’t done all series. It means you can’t activate a forecheck.”
Plymouth outshot the Sting overall 44-21. Beaulieu said after game two his team needs to get 40 shots on goal to win.
“We need possession of the puck and tonight we never had it much. They are an aggressive team and like to forecheck. They are tricky and force us to give up the puck.”
Beaulieu said he was not disappointed with the effort of his team.
“The kids are working hard. They are pushing as hard as they can. I like what I saw. A couple of their goals came because we are our own worst enemies. But we are up against a good hockey team. We have to continue two play hard.”
Scoring goals has become a big issue for the Sting as in their last seven games (four regular season and three playoff games); Sarnia is averaging only two goals per game.
On the flip side, Plymouth is unbeaten in 11 straight games and are averaging over five goals a game.
Rickard Rakell opened the scoring for Plymouth at 1:03 on a high wrist shot while Ryan Hartman made it 2-0 at 3:57 on a wrist shot from the slot.
The Sting got on the board at 5:57. Nick Latta stole the puck at the Whalers blue line, skated in and fired a wrist shot between the goalies legs. It was his second of the post-season.
But the Whalers regained their two-goal cushion at 10:49 when Stefan Noesen tipped in a goalmouth pass with goalie J.P. Anderson having little chance.
Plymouth scored the only goal of period two at 6:55 when Hartman got his second of the game from close range on a pass out.
The Sting was forced to kill off back-to-back penalties early in the third period preventing them from getting any kind of offensive attack going.
But they cut the lead to 4-2 at 15:01 when Anthony DeAngelo took a cross-ice pass from Nikolay Goldobin and wristed a shot over the shoulder of Whalers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.
But just over a minute later Plymouth put the game on ice when Rakell notched his second of the game. Most fans thought he kicked the puck in from close range, but after video review, the goal was allowed to stand.
“It’s disappointing and it’s frustrating,” said Latta. “We are trying to win. Going down 3-0 is tough. We need to get more shots. Everyone is down right now, but we have to re-focus and try and get a win on Wednesday.”
Beaulieu says his club will be ready for game four.
“We can’t leave anything in the tank. We have to come ready to play.”
The Sting was without defenceman Alex Basso who was given a one-game suspension by the league for his match penalty for slashing in game two. Forward Bryan Moore was back after missing game two with a lower body injury.
Plymouth’s Matt Mistele was handed a six-game suspension for his head hit on Alex Carnevale in game one. Carnevale is out indefinitely with a concussion.
Game four is on Wednesday at 7:00 pm at the RBC Centre.
Tickets for game four are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at www.Sarniasting.com
Hartman was the first star, (two goals), Vince Trocheck second star, (three assists), and Latta third star.
Sarnia was zero-for-five with the man advantage and Plymouth zero-for-four.
One of the National Hockey League scouts at the game was ex-Sting Dennis Maxwell. Now 38 years old, Maxwell is in his first season scouting with the New York Islanders. He played on the first-ever Sting team in 1994-95, along with Sting associate coach, Trevor Letowski.