By DAVE BORODY
ERIE, Pa. – The Sarnia Sting came into Saturday night’s game against the Erie Otters with the third-ranked power play in the Ontario Hockey League.
The Sting showed why they are quickly becoming one of the best in the league with the man advantage.
Sarnia scored four power play goals in just five attempts propelling them to a 5-2 win over the Otters at the newly named Erie Insurance Arena.
The win was Sarnia’s second straight as they improved their overall record to 7-6-0-1.
The Sting is also third in the OHL on the penalty-kill and showed off their skill in that department as Erie was zero-for-three on the power play.
Sarnia improved to 4-1-0-0 away from home as they led 1-0 after the first period and 3-1 after the second.
Craig Duininck opened scoring at 9:47 of period one on the power play when he took a cross-ice pass from Nikolay Goldobin and fired a slapshot over the shoulder of goalie Oscar Dansk.
Sarnia had at least three other great scoring chances. Reid Boucher was stopped on a partial breakaway, Alex Galchenyuk was stoned point blank on a goalmouth pass while Bryan rattled a shot off the goalpost from close range.
After surviving some pressure by the Otters early in period two, Sarnia jumped out to a 3-0 lead with two more power play goals in less than two minutes.
Charlie Sarault notched his sixth of the season at 10:04 when he took a drop pass from Boucher and fired a quick wrist shot past the goalie.
Duininck extended the lead to three goals at 11:57 with his second of the game. Like his first goal, Duininck took a cross-ice pass from Goldobin and drilled a high slapshot into the top corner of the net.
Erie finally solved Sting goalie J.P. Anderson at 18:15 when Connor Crisp knocked in a loose puck. First overall pick from the draft, Connor McDavid assisted on the goal to extend his consecutive games points streak to 14 games, tops in the league.
But the Sting regained their three-goal cushion 53 seconds into period three when Boucher cut around the Otters defence and backhanded home a low shot for his fifth of the year. Anthony DeAngelo gained the lone assist, his second of the night.
Erie cut the lead to 4-2 at 9:48 when McDavid intercepted a clearing pass and made a nifty move to slip the puck past Anderson for his seventh goal of the year.
Anderson close the door the rest of the way for the Sting. Goldobin iced the game for the Sting scoring into an open net on the power play at 18:30. It was his fifth of the year.
Sarna had another new face in the lineup in rookie forward Matteo Ciccarelli. He was a fifth round pick of the team in this year’sdraft. Matteo has been playing with the Lambton Shores junior B team.
Matteo is the son of Sting co-owner and president Larry Ciccarelli. So what sweater number did Matteo wear? Number 22 in honour of his uncle, Dino Ciccarelli, who wore number 22 during his long career in the National Hockey League.
Matteo played on a line with two other rookies, Mike DiPaolo and Alexandre Renaud. The line had three shifts a period with Ciccarelli picking up a tripping penalty in the third period.
The Sting announced before they game they have acquired left-winger Alex Carnevale from the Belleville Bulls in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2013 OHL draft. (The fifth-round pick was actually Niagara’s fifth-round picked up by the Sting in the Brett Ritchie trade a year ago.
Carnevale is no relation to Taylor Carnevale, who played with the Sting last season. Alex Carnevale was Belleville’s third-round pick in the 2011 OHL draft. He has no points in six games with the Bulls this season, his second in the OHL.
The five foot, 11 inch, 170 pounder is expected to be in the Sting lineup Sunday afternoon in Brampton. Born in 1995, Carnevale is from Beaverton.
Sarnia was minus four regulars from their lineup. The latest injury is to forward Daniel Nikandrov, who suffered an upper body injury in Thursday’s game with Windsor. Josh Chapman and Davis Brown are also out with injuries while Craig Hottot was serving the second of his 10-game suspension.
Sarnia finished with a 34-32 edge in shots on goal.
Sarnia resumes action on Sunday afternoon when they battle the Battalion in Brampton. Game time is 2 p.m.
The next home game for the Sting is Friday when they host the Plymouth Whalers beginning at 7:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre. Tickets for this game and all home games for the Sting are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
– Duininck was first star with McDavid second star and Boucher third star.
– The arena in Erie has been re-named the Erie Insurance Arena. Currently $45 million dollars in renovations are taking place over the next year. A total of 13 new suites are being added along with a new front entrance, new seats and other improvements. When finished the rink will seat almost 7,000.
– Last night’s game was the first of four meetings between Sarnia and Erie this season.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.