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Sting lose close one to Spitfires
dave borody march 13th, 2011

WINDSOR – The Sarnia Sting can hold their heads high today even though they lost another hockey game.

The Sting fell 4-3 in overtime to the Windsor Spitfires, Sunday afternoon before 6.505 fans at the Windsor Family Credit
Unit Centre. Tom Kuhnhacki scored the winning goal 35 seconds into overtime on a backhand from close range. It was the only lead the Spitfires had the entire game.

Sarnia led 1-0 after the first period while the teams were tied 2-2 after the second. They gave Windsor everything they could handle and then some.

“That’s exciting stuff,” said Sting interim head coach Trevor Letowski, when asked about the game. “It was a great effort on our part to come into a tough building and against a team who is playing for something. They ended up with 50-plus shots, but that’s a little misleading as many of their shots came on the power play. Five-on-five I was very happy with the way we played today.”

Sting fans should feel sorry for their overager netminder Troy Passingham. He played an outstanding game stopping 49 of
53 shots he faced. He was named the game’s first star.

“I didn’t even know I was first star,” said a tired Passingham after the game. “It’s always nice to get recognized like that in your old building.”

Passingham came to the Sting in a trade with Windsor back in January.

“I had a lot of motivation today. I had a lot of family and friends here today, You always want to beat the team who
traded you, It’s never fun to lose but we put in a solid effort today. We probably should have won today. But overall
it was a good weekend and I’m proud of the team.”

Letowski said Passingham, who was also first star in the win over Guelph on Thursday, played a great game.

“That’s probably the only negative to this game, we didn’t get the win for him. It would have been nice to see him rewarded for his effort. He’s played well lately. There are people watching him and I’m sure he will get an opportunity to continue his career after this year.”

Passingham says he liked the way his team responded this weekend.

“I think we all got tired of losing. No matter who you are or what your position is, you have something to play for.

Five out of six points isn’t bad. Sure, I’m looking to catch on with somebody and that’s why I want to play well.”

Despite being outshot 15-9, Sarnia scored the only goal of period one thanks to a gift from Windsor goalie Jack Campbell.

Campbell tried to shoot the puck down the ice from behind his own net, but Alex Galchenyuk of the Sting intercepted it, and he proceeded to whip home a wrist shot from the slot for his 27th goal of the season. Windsor tied the game two minutes into period two when Kerby Rychel cut in around the Sting defence from left wing and backhanded a low shot past Passingham from close range. But Sarnia regained the lead just over a minute later when Galchenyuk tipped home a perfect goalmouth pass from Nail Yakupov for his 28th goal of the year.

The assist gives Yakupov 93 points on the season on 47 goals and 46 assists to set a new team record for most points by
a rookie in one season. He passed Steven Stamkos.

Kenny Ryan pulled Windsor even at 13:55 when he banged home a rebound after a point shot from Ryan Ellis.

Passingham stopped his second breakaway of the game a minute into period three stoning Zack Kassian of the Spitfires.

Sarnia took a 3-2 lead at 10:43 with a shorthanded goal as Kale Kerbashian took a pass from Brett Ritchie on a two-on-one break and beat Campbell from close range. It was Kerbashian’s 36th goal of the year. For the third time in the game Windsor squared matters at 3-3 at 14:19 when Ellis scored on a screen shot off a face-off in the Sarnia zone.

The Sting them found themselves in hot water down two players for 46 seconds with under two minutes to play, but did an
outstanding job defensively not allowing the Spitfires a shot on goal. Windsor gained the extra point scoring early in overtime. The Spitfires finished with a 53-27 edge in shots on goal.

Letowski was pleased with his team’s effort over the past three games.

“To me it’s a great achievement to take five out of six points against three good hockey teams. Someone would have
made a lot of money in Las Vegas. But we can hold our heads high. The message was to play hard for 60 minutes in each
game. Hopefully we can carry the momentum over to the final weekend and finish strong.”

Sarnia was one-for-three on the power play while Windsor was zero-for-seven.

The Sting will play their final home game of the season on Thursday when they host the Erie Otters. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre. Sarnia will then conclude the season with road games Friday night in London and Saturday night in Sault Ste. Marie.


- Passingham was first star with Ellis second star and Galchenyuk third star. Galchenyuk had six points in the three weekend games. He remains second in OHL rooking scoring behind his teammate with 28 goals and 48 assists for 76 points.

- The Sting went with the same line-up as Friday in Saginaw as J.C. Campagna, Jesse Stoughton and Anthony Donati are all out with injuries. None of the three are expected to play again this season.

- Ex-Sting goalie John Cullen of the Spitfires could be out four to six weeks after suffering a knee injury a week ago. Cullen hurt his knee in warm-up in Plymouth.

- The Sting will honour former player Brent Sullivan on Thursday night. The overager was traded at the deadline this year after spending three and a half seasons with the team. He finished his junior career with the Sarnia Legionnaires junior B team. He plans on playing university hockey at the University of Ottawa next season.


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