Sarnia’s Comeback Bid Falls Short as London Holds On For 3-2 Win
By Carl Chimenti
The Sarnia Sting mounted a late rally trying to erase a three-goal deficit, but fell one short, as the London Knights held on for dear life, beating the Sarnia Sting 3-2, before a large crowd of 2,777, Sunday afternoon, at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.
Rookie Ryan Brown (First Star), Sarnia’s first round pick, in the 2023 OHL Priority Draft (17th overall) scored his second goal in as many games to start the comeback at 11:19 of the third period, on the power-play, from Marko Sikic and Lukas Fischer, to close the gap to 3-1. Less than three minutes later Dennis Lominac, who signed as a free agent during the off-season, scored his first goal as a member of the Sting, an even strength goal at 14:05 from rookie Hughston Hurt (4th round pick in OHL draft, 2023) and defenseman Jacob LeBlanc to slice the lead to one. A frantic finish in front of the London net, with six attackers on the ice in the final minute, failed to garner the equalizer despite some quality chances. Ben Gaudreau was solid in net for the Sting with 30 saves on 33 shots, with some of his finest stops coming late in the third period. London out-shot Sarnia 33-30. The loss evens up the Sting’s pre-season record to 1-1.
Sarnia’s next exhibition game will be September 20th to launch the 30th season celebration with a throwback game at the Sting’s original rink, formerly known as the Brock Street Barn and now as the Pat Stapleton Arena, verses, the Windsor Spitfires.
Sarnia finished 1/8 on the power-play. In a scoreless opening period, Sarnia out shot London 11-10. In the final minute the Sting went on a 5 on 3, man advantage, which continued into the second period. Goaltending was the big story as Sarnia’s Ben Gaudreau made a number of fine stops as did London’s Owen Willmore. The second period was much more physical, with some hard hits and a lot more of pushing and shoving, especially after stoppage of play. The Knights were able to break through with a pair of goals. Humphrey set up Cowen, who one timed the pass past Gaudreau at 1:20, following a 3 on 1 break for London. Brody Crane drew the second assist. The Knights increased their lead to 2-0 on a power-play goal at 15:16. Oliver Bonk let go a blast from inside the blue-line and O’Reilly was able to direct the puck, from in front. Ruslan Gazizov was awarded the second helper. Sarnia’s best scoring chance came late in the period following an awful London turnover, that saw Sikic with the puck alone in front, but his shot went just over the net. The Knights out-shot Sarnia for a second straight period 12-8.