The Sarnia Sting hosted the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Friday night.
It was the fourth meeting of the Ontario Hockey League’s top two Western Conference teams this season.
With both sides having made major additions prior to the trade deadline, there was a whole lot of talent on the ice tonight. And it turned the game into one of the most entertaining we’ve seen at Progressive Auto Sales Arena all year.
In the first period, the evening began with a crazy scramble in front of Soo goaltender Matthew Villalta. Sting forwards Jordan Ernst and Franco Sproviero jammed away in the crease, but couldn’t quite squeak one through Villalta’s pads.
Shortly after, Sting defenceman Nick Grima fired a hard point shot dead off the post. The sound of rubber on iron echoed throughout the rink.
With Sproviero getting a breakaway chance, and Ernst following up with a close wraparound opportunity, the Sting swarmed in the first period. It was a sign of things to come.
As the first period clock wound down, Sting forward Adam Ruzicka scored his twenty-fourth of the season. Ruzicka had a hat-trick in the Sting’s game on Wednesday in Flint. Tonight, he kept it going. Taking a drop pass from Sting captain Jordan Kyrou, Ruzicka caught and fired, sending the puck past Villalta.
A mere twenty-six seconds later, Sting forward Jamieson Rees scored his fourth of the season. It ended a slight cold streak for the Sting rookie, and Rees’s emphatic celebration made the crowd go wild. Sean Josling did the hustle work, driving the Hounds crease and creating the goal. It was 2-0 for Sarnia after one.
Things were relatively quiet in the second period before the Greyhounds got on the board. Soo captain Tim Gettinger slid a goal through Sting goaltender Justin Fazio with five minutes to play in the middle frame. But, just over a minute later, the Sarnia crowd found more to cheer about.
Sting defenceman Nick Grima scored his first goal of the season. Assists went to Anthony Salinitri and Drake Rymsha. For Grima, after a hard week of practice, tonight’s goal was incredibly rewarding. Grima led a joy-filled celebration toward the Sting bench as all his teammates went nuts with excitement.
Sting forward Michael Pezzetta nearly scored on a breakaway deke moments later. Heading into the third, the Sting were feeling pretty good.
Keeghan Howdeshell and Hayden Verbeek scored for the Soo in the final period to tie the game at 3-3. But, Ruzicka had some more magic in the bag.
Ruzicka scored his fiftieth career OHL goal, twenty-fifth of the season, and fifth in the last two games. It gave the Sting a 4-3 lead with just minutes to go. Judging by the reaction of the rink, everyone knew that this game was over.
Kyrou added an empty net goal to complete the night, and the Sting defeated the Greyhounds by a final score of 5-3. It was the Hounds first regulation time loss since October 27. Of course, that night was also a Sting victory.
Fazio picked up the win in goal, stopping 27 of 30 shots faced.
Tonight’s official boxscore can be viewed here.
The Sting are back in action on Sunday evening in Oshawa. Game time against the Generals is 6:05 PM. We’re going for seven wins in a row!
NEXT HOME GAME: STING vs. KNIGHTS
Saturday, February 3 | 3:30 PM
Progressive Auto Sales Arena
#SwarmWithUs | Secure your seats here.