After failing to pick up crucial points this past weekend, the Sting find themselves 5 points back of the Plymouth Whalers for the 8th and final playoff spot in the OHL’s Western Conference. The Sting gave up a total of 20 goals in 3 games last weekend – a statistic that can be chalked up to fatigue. Plagued by injury and suspensions, Sarnia played with a short bench this past weekend, and only dressed 15 players (13 skaters & 2 goalies) for Saturday’s game at home against Mississauga.
With newly acquired Hayden Hodgson, fresh off a 10 game suspension, in the lineup this weekend, the Sting will be looking to return home with 4 of a possible 6 points. Consistent with the team’s approach all season, secondary scoring will need to be a factor on this weekend’s Eastern road trip.
Nikolay Goldobin –Goldobin leads all NHL draft eligible players from the OHL with 75 points in 50 games this season. The forward also leads all draft eligible players from the OHL with 34 goals, ahead of Oshawa’s Michael Dal Colle (32). He remains in 3rd place of the overall OHL scoring race.
Hayden Hodgson – Will play his first game since January 10th after serving a 10 game suspension.
Nikita Korostelev – Korostelev currently sits in 6th place among the OHL’s top scoring rookies with 30 points this season.
Injury Report – Patrick White & Zachary Core are out indefinitely with upper body injuries. Alex Renaud is out indefinitely with mono.
Suspensions – Connor Schilichting will serve the 3rd of a 3 game suspension on Friday night before returning on Saturday in Belleville.
EASTERN ROAD TRIP
Friday, February 7, 2014 –Sarnia Sting (15-30-1-5) @ Ottawa 67’s (17-29-1-3)
The Sting will take on the 67’s for the first time this season as game 1 of their Eastern road trip this weekend. This will be the first of two meetings between the two teams this month. Both teams find themselves battling for a playoff birth and will be hungry for the 2 points on Friday night in Ottawa.
Season Series: Sarnia 0 – Ottawa 0
Players to watch – Ottawa 67’s
Ryan Van Stralen – As an overager, Van Stralen leads all 67’s players with 52 points this season. The big-bodied winger also leads the team in goals this season with 26.
Travis Konecny – The rookie remains only 1 point behind Van Stralen for the team lead with 51 points in 45 GP. Konecny was the first overall pick in last year’s OHL priority selection draft – drafted out of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs program.
Saturday, February 8, 2014 –Sarnia Sting (15-30-1-5) @ Belleville Bulls (14-32-2-2)
Last weekend the Bulls came into Sarnia and downed a depleted Sting lineup by a score of 7-2. The Sting will look to get even this weekend as they travel to Belleville for OHL action on Saturday night. Similar to Ottawa, Belleville is battling for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, currently held by Niagara who are winless in their last 4.
Season Series: Sarnia 0– Belleville 1
Players to watch – Belleville Bulls
Remi Elie – Elie was selected 40th overall in last year’s NHL Entry draft by the Dallas Stars. He leads all Bulls players this season with 45 points in 49 GP. The big-bodied winger came over to Belleville in a trade with London earlier this season and is no stranger to playing at the RBC Centre.
Jordan Subban – In 46 games this season, Subban has accumulated 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points.
Sunday, February 9, 2014 – Sarnia Sting (15-30-1-5) @ Kingston Frontenacs (27-19-2-2)
The Frontenacs are a tough team battling for a top 3 spot in the Eastern Conference. Reeling from a loss to close out action last weekend, the Fronts will be hungry for a win against the Sting. The two teams have only faced off one other time this season – that game taking place in Sarnia in December. It was a night to forget for Sting fans, as the highly talented Kingston team routed the Sting by a score of 9-1.
The Sting will have to rely upon strong goaltending and great team play to come out on top against Kingston on Sunday afternoon.
Season Series: Sarnia 0– Kingston 1
Players to watch – Kingston Frontenacs
Sam Bennett – Current rankings have Bennett going first overall in the upcoming 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The draft eligible forward has 72 points this season, 6th overall among OHL skaters.
Roland McKeown – The Fronts blueliner was named OHL defenseman of the month for the month of January. With 32 points in 47 games this season, McKeown is having a breakout season and currently holds a plus-minus rating of + 25.