Sasha Shines in Sting Debut
By Carl Chimenti
Cooper Way had his best night offensively since being acquired from the Oshawa Generals earlier this season, with his first two-point game, which included what proved to be the winning goal at 4:48 of the third period as the Sarnia Sting (10-6-2-1) beat the Windsor Spitfires (11-4-3-0) 3-2 in front of a large crowd of 3,168 Friday night at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.
The win evened the season series between the two teams at two wins apiece.
Sarnia featured a couple of new players to the line-up. Sasha Pastujov (Anaheim Ducks), joined the Sting this week following a trade that sent Max Namestnikov to the Guelph Storm and proved to be an instant contributor with a goal and an assist. Defenseman Lukas Fischer was playing in his first game with the Sting after signing an OHL standard player agreement on Thursday and he played a solid game on the blue-line.
One not so new player was a welcome return as rookie Porter Martone was back in the line-up. Martone scored his first career OHL goal in his first game back from the 2022 World Under-17 Challenge in his 13th career OHL game and later added an assist.
Martone lit it up at the Under-17 Challenge for Canada Team Red leading them to a Silver-Medal, scoring seven goals and twelve points in seven games. Sarnia’s first round (5th overall) in the 2022 Ontario Hockey League Priority Draft led all OHL players at the under-17’s in scoring and was tied for third in both goals and points overall. Martone took a pass from Way and skated in and beat Costanza at 4:54 to give the Sting a 1-0 lead after twenty minutes.
The two teams traded goals in the second frame. Pastujov scored his first goal as a member of the Sting (12th overall) just 38 seconds into the period with Marko Sikic and Marcus Limpar-Lantz drawing the assists. Windsor got that one back at 11:23 on a power-play goal from Ethan Miedema.
Goaltender Ben Gaudreau (San Jose Sharks) turned in another excellent outing for the Sting stopping all but two of the 23 shots he faced tonight. Besides the Miedema goal, Alex Christopoulos was the only other Spitfire who scored on Gaudreau and that came at 8:37 of the third period to close to with-in one goal but Gaudreau slammed the door shut to preserve the win.
The Sting out-shot the Spitfires 26-23.
The three Stars – Martone (3rd), Christopoulos (2nd) and Pastujov the first star