By Carl Chimenti
Nolan Burke (Nashville Predators) scored goals number 45,46 and 47, while adding an assist and Ty Voit (Toronto Maple Leafs) reached a personal milestone with his 200th career OHL point, as part of a three-point afternoon that included his 19th of the season and the Sarnia Sting (36-17-5-3) beat the Kitchener Rangers (30-28-4-0) 6-3 in a Sunday matinee, before a large gathering of 3,859, at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.
It was the seventh straight win for Sarnia and extended their unbeaten streak to twelve games (10-0-1-1).
Burke’s three goals pulls him to within two of the OHL leader Matthew Maggio’s 49. Burke scored twice on the power-play and continues to lead the OHL with 22 man-advantage goals.
Voit was named third star, Luca Del Bel Belluz (Columbus Blue Jackets) with three assists, was selected as the second star, while Burke was chosen as the first star.
Ethan Ritchie and Sandis Vilmanis (Florida Panthers) also scored for the Sting. Christian Kyrou (Dallas Stars) contributed a pair of assists to run his current point streak to six games (2-10-12).
Easton Wainwright and Ethan Del Mastro (Chicago Black Hawks) both had one assist. For Wainwright it was his second assist in the last three games. Del Mastro has been on a heater with eight points in his last four games (1-7-8).
Sarnia goaltender Ben Gaudreau (San Jose Sharks) was excellent in the win as he stopped 27 of 30 shots. The Sting out-shot the Rangers overall 34-30.
The Sting were perfect on the power-play going three for three while the Rangers were held scoreless in two opportunities with the man-advantage.
With the win, the Sting swept the season series with the Rangers winning all four games. Sarnia began the 2022-23 OHL season oddly enough with a 6-3 victory at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on opening night and finished the series sweep with a win by the same score this afternoon.
Lleyton Moore, who had a goal and two assists pulled the Rangers close early in the third period at 5-3, but Vilmanis scored an empty net goal from Voit at 17:27 to ice the win.
Del Bel Belluz and Burke played key roles, as they were in on two of the three Sarnia goals in the first period. Del Mastro put the first scoring play in motion with the Sting on the power-play as he feed Del Bel Belluz in the corner and Del Bel Belluz located Burke in front with a pass and Burke scored on the glove side of Ranger goaltender Marco Costantini for a 1-0 lead at 7:58. It was goal number 45 for Burke on the year.
Kitchener tied the game at 10:40, on a goal that went under review for a possible off-side. But the goal was allowed and was credited to Francesco Pinelli (Los Angeles Kings) from both Lleyton Moore and Matthew Sop.
Sarnia went back ahead at 12:21 as Del Bel Belluz cycled the puck from behind the net and found a wide-open Ritchie and Ritchie roofed the puck for his 12th goal of the season. Sarnia made it 3-1 as Burke scored his 46th and second of the game at 16:49. The original shot came from Kyrou with the puck deflecting off a Ranger player in front and came right to Burke who took advantage of the gift.
Gaudreau was forced into making several key saves in the final minute as the Sting defensive zone coverage broke down. The Rangers out-shot the Sting through the first twenty minutes 12-8.
Sarnia out scored Kitchener 2-1 in the second period and out-shot the Rangers 16-10 to open up a 5-2 lead heading into the third period. Burke netted a hat-trick on a power-play goal early on at 2:24 with his 47th goal of the year. Voit set up the goal with a pass to Kyrou and his shot was deflected by Burke. The assist went to Kyrou and Voit and for Voit it was a milestone, his 200th OHL career point.
The Sting made it a perfect three for three with the man-advantage scoring at 9:21 on a goal from Voit, with the assists going to Burke and Del Bel Belluz. Hunter Brzustewicz got one back for the Rangers at 10:38 from Filip Mesar (Montreal Canadiens) and Moore.
Once again in the last couple of minutes the Sting defensive zone coverage was lacking as Gaudreau had to come up with a couple of great saves and he also got help from the goalies best friend, the goal post, as the Rangers hit iron twice in the latter part of the middle stanza.