Four Goal First Period Gives Sarnia 6-3 Win Over Flint
By Carl Chimenti
It was the Flint Firebirds (16-10-2-1) Christmas party and they certainly were in a giving mood with their poor defensive zone coverage, which lead to a four goal first period for the Sarnia Sting (14-9-4-2) and they never looked back as they beat the Firebirds 6-3 Saturday night at the Dort Financial Center, in Flint, Michigan.
SWARM WARNING: It was only the eighth win for Sarnia in this building since the relocation of the Plymouth Whalers to Flint for the 2015-16 season.
Nolan Burke (Nashville Predators) led the way with two goals and an assist, extending his modest point streak (3-4-7) to three games.
Easton Wainwright had a two-point effort and opened the scoring with a goal, both for the second straight night.
Cooper Way scored a huge short-handed goal, unassisted, into an empty net at 17:54 of the third period which put the game on ice. It was the second short-handed goal of the game for Sarnia and their third overall this season. The goal was Way’s third of the season and he also had an assist for his second two-point game this year.
Marko Sikic had three helpers and Sandis Vilmanis (Florida Panthers), who was named first star, added two more to run his current point streak (4-5-9) to five games.
Zach Filak had a goal and has points in four of his past five games (2-3-5).
Ty Voit (Toronto Maple Leafs) added a pair of helpers and the OHL scoring leader extended his point streak (3-8-11) to five games.
After adding his first point of the season last night against Flint, Captain Nolan Dillingham scored his first goal of the season, a short-handed effort.
Goaltender Nicholas Surzycia in his fourth straight start was just simply brilliant, stealing a win for Sarnia as he stopped 30 of 33 shots tonight and for his effort was named the second star.
Sarnia wasted no time coming out of the gate scoring four goals in the first 8:22 of the opening period. Wainwright for the second time in as many games opened up the scoring just 48 seconds into the game. Vilmanis and Sikic drew the assists. The goal was Wainwright’s fifth this year.
Burke scored the first of his two in the period at 3:59, scoring in front, from Sikic with his second assist and Voit. The score went to 3-0, as Filak netted his fifth of the season on a nice three-way passing play from Vilmanis and Wainwright at 6:02. Burke scored his second goal at 8:22 again on another three-way passing play that included Sikic and Voit.
Zacharie Giroux got one back for the Firebirds at 16:28 from Tyler Deline and Blake Smith. Surzycia made a terrific save in the waning moments to preserve the three-goal lead after twenty minutes of play. There were two fights in the period. The first match featured Owen MacDonald taking down Daks Klinkhammer at 9:41 and the second saw Dillingham hammer Ethan Hay at 12:14.
The two teams exchanged goals in the second period. Sarnia scored their second short-handed goal of the season at 11:14. Cooper Way, on the forecheck did some excellent work behind the Firebird net winning the battle and coming up with the puck and he sent a pass to Dillingham who was in the slot and he scored his first goal of the season and second point in as many games. Burke drew the second helper.
Flint sliced the lead back to 5-2 with a goal from Ethan Hay, with Gavin Hayes (Chicago BlackHawks) adding the only assist at 13:24. The Sting managed only 13 shots in the first two periods but had five goals to show for, as they took advantage of their shot selections.