Photos and story by Dave Paul
For half a hockey game, it appeared the Sarnia Sting had a shot at pulling off an upset victory over their bitter rivals, the London Knights.
Sarnia held a 1-0 lead as the midway point of the middle period passed, thanks to a first period goal by Nick Latta. But the perennial contenders from London awoke in the second half of the game, outscoring the Sting 4-0 the rest of the way, in cruising to a 4-1 victory over the home team, Thursday night at the RBC Centre.
Tait Seguin and Ryan Rupert scored second period goals and Christian Dvorak and Brett Welychka (into an empty net) added third period tallies for the Knights, who dominated play for the final 30 minutes of the contest.
The game, played before 3,324 fans, lacked the intensity of some of the Sarnia-London clashes from the past, but Sarnia fans weren't complaining when Latta gave the Sting the lead midway through the first period, scoring on a rebound that beat London goalie Anthony Stolarz. Assists went to Davis Brown and Craig Duininck.
London seemed off their game for much of the first period and, although they threatened, the Knights were unable to connect, struggling to finish on a number of rushes vs. the Sting and goalie Taylor Dupuis.
Sting forward Nikita Korostelev rang a pair of shots off the post -- once in the first and again early in the second -- narrowly missing opportunities to give the Sting a two-goal lead.
Sting coach Trevor Letowski praised Korostelev's efforts after the game saying the youngster "didn't look like a kid out there. That was his best game of the season."
Letowski added, for the Sting, the game was "a good effort against a very good team. This is the kind of game we can build off."
It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Sting, but, while he conceded that it was "important to see some results (wins) at some point," Letowski was unwilling to criticize much about Thursday's efforts.
"We played a good, solid game. Obviously, you want to get some wins at some point ... but we have to be happy with the way the team competed tonight," the coach said.
The Sting play at home again Friday night, hosting the Windsor Spitfires in a 7:05 start at RBC Centre.