By DAVE BORODY
“We laid an egg.”
Those were the words of Sarnia Sting head coach, Jacques Beaulieu, after his team dropped a 6-2 decision to the upstart Saginaw Spirit, Friday night in front of 2,809 fans at the RBC Centre.
The loss snapped a two-game losing streak for the Sting in the Ontario Hockey League.
The Sting was coming off an emotional overtime victory in London the night before, but could not feed off the momentum of that game against the Spirit.
Saginaw has won 10 of their last 13 games. Sarnia had won the previous three meetings with the Spirit this season.
“They play a simple game,” said Beaulieu. “Really there’s nothing different from earlier in the year. But our kids didn’t show up tonight. Maybe they will still thinking about last’s night’s game in London.”
He added, “We didn’t stick to our game plan. There were a lot of individual efforts on our part. Our power play wasn’t very good.”
The Sting was given seven power play opportunities, the most they’ve had in several games, but managed just one power play maker.
“We didn’t come out of our zone and attack with any speed. We got scrambling around and it took off valuable time on our power plays,” said Beaulieu.
What also didn’t help matters for the Sting was the fact they played catch-up hockey the entire game. Sarnia never led in the contest.
The teams were tied after 20 minutes while Saginaw took a 3-2 lead after two periods. The Spirit put the game out of reach with three unanswered goals in the final period.
Reid Boucher scored both Sting goals, given him 47 on the season. He is now just 11 shy on tying the team record of 58, held by Steven Stamkos. Boucher has 15 games remaining.
Charlie Sarault and Nikolay Goldobin assisted on both goals, as the Sting could not generate any much-needed secondary scoring.
Jimmy Lodge was tops for the Spirit with two goals, but it was Nick Moutrey’s goal that turned out to be the game-winner as he snapped a 2-2 tie just past the midway point of the second period.
Garrett Ross, Zack Bratina and Steven Strong scored the other Spirit goals. Saginaw was one-for-three with the man advantage.
Saginaw finished with a 33-27 edge in shots on goal with Jake Paterson the winning goalie while J.P. Anderson took the loss.
Sarnia will get a day off before hosting the Barrie Colts Sunday afternoon beginning at 2:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre. The Colts lead the Eastern Conference standings.
“It will be Barrie’s third game in two and a half days so hopefully we can push them hard. We need to get a good forecheck going and play better than we did today,” Beaulieu said.
Tickets for Sunday’s game are on sale at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
Fans are reminded kids 12 and under will be admitted Sunday for only $5. There will also be special entertainment between periods. The Sting will honour Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk, who played for the Cornwall Royals before going on to enjoy a fine National Hockey League career.
– Lodge was first star with Erick Locke (three assists) second star and Boucher third star. Tyler Hore of the Sting was the Dickies hardest-working player of the game.
– The Sting was missing another regular, as Mike DiPaolo did not dress due to a sore back. Matt Ciccarelli dressed in his place. Defenceman Taki Pantziris is sidelined indefinitely with a lower body injury.
– Sarnia holds a 3-1 record against Saginaw this season. The teams meet two more times. The Spirit trails Sarnia by five points for seventh spot in the Western Conference.
– Sarnia’s home record fell 13-10-0-2. Nine of Sarnia’s remaining 15 games are at home.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.