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Sting Come Up Short in Overtime vs Spirit

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By Carl Chimenti

Josh Bloom’s shorthanded goal at 1:10 in overtime was the difference maker in a tight contest, as the Saginaw Spirit (10-6-1-0) beat the Sarnia Sting (8-6-2-1) 4-3 in front of a large crowd (2,965), Friday night, at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena, in Sarnia Ontario.

Sandis Vilmanis (Florida Panthers) spun his late game magic once again, scoring the tying goal with just 10.1 seconds to play in regulation time to send the Sting to overtime. Vilmanis, let go a blast from the left side that beat Spirit goaltender Triston Lennox (New York Islanders) over the shoulder at 19:49 with assists from Ty Voit (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Ethan Ritchie, who capped a three-point night that included a pair of goals.

Both Lennox and Nicholas Surzycia put up strong efforts in net tonight. Lennox stopped 28 of 31 shots and Surzycia turned aside 20 of 24 shots. Sarnia out-shot Saginaw 31-24.

The three stars were Bloom (3rd), Lennox (2nd) and Ritchie the first star of the game.

For Ritchie the three-point effort was his first multiple goals and points game this season.

Marcus Limpar-Lantz, Angus MacDonell, Max Namestnikov, Zach Filak and Voit contributed with an assist each. For Voit it was his OHL league leading 31st point in 17 games.

Brayden Hislop put Saginaw on the board with the only goal of the first period at 13:03. The Spirit held Sarnia, for a long period of time in their end which led to the goal. Sarnia had the only two power-play chances and they created numerous opportunities but they could not beat Triston Lennox. Sarnia out-shot Saginaw 12-9 in the period.

Sarnia scored two goals in the middle stanza and they went to the dressing room with a 2-1 lead. Defenseman Ethan Ritchie scored both goals his fourth and fifth on the season and extended his point streak to three games (3 goals,1 assist) The first goal came at 5:40 as Ritchie took a pass and moved to just inside the hash marks and buried the wrist shot over Lennox’s shoulder to tie the game 1-1. Limpar-Lantz and MacDonell drew the assists on the even strength goal.

Ritchie scored his second goal on the power-play against the Spirit, who came into the game with the second-best penalty kill unit in the OHL behind only Ottawa. Ritchie picked up a loose puck in front and with Lennox out of position managed to put the puck past Lennox at 13:41. The goal was challenged and went under review for goalie interference, but upon further viewing, the goal was allowed to stand and the Sting had their first lead of the game. Namestnikov and Filak were credited with the helpers.

Saginaw scored twice late in the third period on goals from Matyas Sapovaliv (Vegas Golden Knights) at 13:24 and Luke McNamara at 17:06 to go ahead briefly, before the Sarnia late comeback goal that sent the game to overtime.

SWARM WARNING: The game marked the return of Sting captain Nolan Dillingham to the line-up, since suffering an injury in the opening night win over the Kitchener Rangers. Sarnia rookie Porter Martone is lighting it up as a member of Team Canada Red, at the 2022 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge. The fifth overall selection in the 2022 OHL Priority Draft has recorded three goals and five assists in the five games played.

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