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Lambton Sting advance to playoff final
sarniasports.com march 8th, 2011


The Lambton Sting minor atoms have reached the Alliance Consolation Playoff Finals with a 4-3 victory over Kitchener in game 5 of their semi-final series. The Sting will meet either Waterloo or Huron-Perth in the final round which is expected to begin this weekend.

The Sting got off to a rough start in the series as they dropped the opening game 3-2. Nolan DeGurse and Hunter Monkhouse were the goal scorers while Brock Barber and Dylan Riddell each earned an assist. Lennex Jagoo had a strong game in net.

Game 2 in Kitchener ended in a 1-1 tie as the Sting battled hard despite missing two defensemen with the flu and having others play despite not being at 100% health. Nolan DeGurse would give the Sting a 1-0 lead with an unassisted power play marker late in the second period. The Sting defense of Jaycob White, Blake Brand, Brandon Neelin and forward turned blueliner for the game Spencer Vandenboom were outstanding and goaltender Liam McCarthy had a huge game. Kitchener tied the game on a controversial penalty shot call with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Neither team scored in the 5 minute overtime so each team would earn a point.

Back in Sarnia for Game 3 the Sting finally had everyone healthy and got off to a quick start when Brandon Neelin set up Greg Ross for the game's first goal, a blast from the high slot that sent his dad scrambling for the razor. Kitchener would answer a minute later and then would take a 2-1 lead midway through the second period. However, Hunter Monkhouse would tie the game for the Sting early in the third period as Brock Barber and Ross drew helpers on the play. Three minutes later DeGurse would score on the power play to make it 3-2 Sting. Josh McLean earned the lone assist. The Sting looked to be poised to even the series but a late defensive breakdown left a Ranger player all alone in front of Lambton goaltender McCarthy. The netminder stopped the first two shots but before the Sting defense could get back in the play the Kitchener forward deposited his third whack at the puck in the back of the net. Once again, 5 minutes of overtime decided nothing and the 6 point series was now 4-2 in Kitchener's favour.

The Sting travelled to Kitchener for Game four knowing that a loss would end their season. The boys responded by playing one of their best periods of the entire year scoring 5 times in the first period en route to an 8-2 victory. The first period was all Lambton but thanks to many questionable calls including a 5 minute major to defenseman Jaycob White the Sting played most of the final 2 periods in their own end. Liam McCarthy was oustanding in net making 35 saves and preventing the Rangers from gaining any momentum that might allow them to get back into the contest. Brock Barber and Dylan Riddell each scored three times while Josh McLean and Nolan DeGurse added singles.


Game five in Sarnia would decide the series winner as each team entered the game with 4 points. Kitchener took a 1-0 lead 4 minutes into the game but then the Sting took over. Brock Barber evened the contest at 1 late in the opening period with DeGurse picking up the assist. In the second period Josh McLean scored two amazing goals with DeGurse assisting on both and AP Carson Perry helping out on the first one. McLean's first goal was a spectacular shot from in close that he roofed under the crossbar and the second one was a blast from the half boards that would have taken the Kitchener goalie's head off had it not narrowly missed the keeper's mask.

Early in the third period the Sting increased their lead to 4-1 as DeGurse placed a perfect backhand from in close right under the crossbar after a nice pass from Barber. In desperation mode the Rangers would pull their goaltender with 5 minutes left and that tactic did result in a pair of goals to cut the Sting lead to 4-3. However, that was as close as the Rangers would get as McCarthy made some big saves and the entire team played very well in their own end particularily defensemen Ryan Barwitzki and Cole MacKinnon who were outstanding during crunch time.
 

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