Sting Dominate Over Windsor, Open Season In Style
By Carl Chimenti
The Sarnia Sting opened up their 2023-24 season and 30 years of OHL hockey with a very impressive 8-2 win over the Windsor Spitfires, before a huge crowd of 4,199, Friday night at the Progressive Auto Sale Arena. It was raining goals for the Sting as they scored four in the first, three in the second and added one more for good measure in the third period.
Seven different players scored for Sarnia and four players scored their first career OHL goals or points. Tyson Doucette led the way with a three-point night, that included two goals, and was selected as the third star. Lukas Fischer and Marko Sikic, both had a goal and an assist. Mitch Young and Zach Filak netted one goal each. Roman Kukumberg and Dennis Lominac scored their first career OHL goals, with Lominac also adding an assist. Sandis Vilmanis (Florida Panthers) had three assists and was named first star. Andrew LeBlanc pitched in with two helpers. Sean Doherty also had an assist. Rookies Hughston Hurt and Ryan Brown registered their first career OHL points with an assist each. Goaltender Nick Surzycia was sharp tonight, making 31 saves on 33 shots, and nabbed the second star.
The Spitfires opened the scoring quickly at the 41 second mark. Liam Greentree found the back of the net on a rebound after Surzycia made the initial save with both James Jodoin and Cole Davis assisting. The Sting came roaring back scoring four unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead after one period of play. Fischer scored his first of the year at 4:17 with Windsor short-handed. After winning the draw Vilmanis dropped the puck back to Fischer and he let go a shot that found paydirt. Brown also assisted with his first OHL point. Doucette put Sarnia up 2-1, as he was able to find a loose puck in front at 6:08 with assists awarded to Vilmanis and Fischer. Young finished off a give and go goal with Doucette at 13:46. Roman Kukumberg finished up with his first career OHL goal, unassisted at 16:14. Surzycia was extremely sharp stopping all but one of the 17 shots he faced. The second period was more of the same as Sarnia added three more as Filak, at 3:53, Sikic, at 4:37 and Lominac with his first career goal at 8:15, all found the back of the net. Surzycia made the save of the game, robbing Aiden Castle with just 49 seconds remaining in the middle stanza. Doucette added the final goal at 18:20, in the third period. Sarnia out-shot Windsor 36-33. Both teams scored a power-play goal as the Sting was one for two, while the Spitfires went 1/7. Liam Greentree had a goal and an assist for Windsor.