Gaudreau Stops 24, As Sarnia Beats North Bay 4-2
By Carl Chimenti
The Sarnia Sting (26-15-4-2) shut down the second best offensive team in the Ontario Hockey League behind the excellent goaltending of Ben Gaudreau (San Jose Sharks) and a strong for-check, beating the high powered North Bay Battalion (34-14-1-1) 4-2, Thursday night at the North Bay Memorial Gardens.
Gaudreau stopped all but two of the 26 shots he faced to help Sarnia open up their three-game northern Ontario, road trip with a win, jump starting the Sting back into third place over the idle Owen Sound Attack in the Western Conference. The win also increased their lead to four points over the third place Saginaw Spirit and eight points over the Flint Firebirds in the West Division.
Sasha Pastujov (Anaheim Ducks), who left the game late in the third period with an injury, had a goal and an assist and was selected as the first star of the game.
Luca DelBelBelluz (Columbus Blue Jackets), Marko Sikic and Ryan Mast (Boston Bruins) tallied one goal each for Sarnia. Ty Voit (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Ethan Ritchie, both had a pair of assists. Voit was named as the second star. Ethan Del Mastro (Chicago Black Hawks) and Nolan Burke (Nashville Predators) contributed one assist each.
Sarnia out-shot North Bay overall 34-26, limiting the Battalion to only six shots in a scoreless third period.
Matvey Petrov (Edmonton Oilers) had a goal and an assist and was selected as the third star for the Battalion.
Sarnia scored early and late to open up a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes. DelBelBelluz finished off a 2 on 1 odd man rush for the Sting with his 27th of the season as he beat Battalion goaltender Dom Divincentiis (Winnipeg Jets) low on the glove side, after taking a short cross-ice pass from Pastujov at 1:31. Ritchie was credited with the second assist. North Bay tied the game at 17:19 on a goal from Dalyn Wakely. Avery Winslow and Petrov assisted on the goal. The Sting went on the power-play late and it took all of 11 seconds for the Sting to respond as Pastujov scored his 28th from the top of the right face-off circle at 18:38 from both Del Mastro and Voit. Sarnia was dominate on the shot clock by a 17-8 margin.
The second period saw the Sting score the first two goals before North Bay got one back. For the second straight period Sarnia scored early this time the goal came at 1:16 as Sikic took a pass from Ritchie and he intended to set up DelBelBelluz with a pass in front but the pass never got to him, instead was deflected off a Battalion player into the net. It was Sikic’s 10th goal of the year. The Sting went up 4-1 on a goal from Mast, his 4th of the year at 6:51. It was a three-way passing play, as Burke sent a pass to Voit and he set up Mast with a pass. Petrov notched his 23rd at 7:54 from both Kyle McDonald and Wyatt Kennedy. North Bay out-shot Sarnia 12-9 in the middle stanza.