St­ing win in over­time

Hatcher scores in OT, Per­reault tal­lies twice for 5-4 win over Spits

The Observer (Sarnia) - - SPORTS - JIM PARKER NEWS

WIND­SOR — The Sar­nia St­ing and Wind­sor Spit­fires are both ad­just­ing to life af­ter trad­ing a top player.

The St­ing are mov­ing on af­ter deal­ing over­age for­ward An­thony Salin­i­tri to Oshawa while the Spit­fires traded all-star goalie Mikey DiPi­etro to the Ot­tawa 67’s on Tues­day.

While the two teams might not have the tal­ent to bat­tle for a divi­sion or con­fer­ence ti­tle, there’s still plenty left to bat­tle for.

“We’re go­ing to try and win ev­ery night,” St­ing as­so­ciate coach David Leg­wand said. “We have a good hockey team and kids that want to com­pete.”

The St­ing crept to within a point of the Spit­fires for sixth over­all in the West­ern Con­fer­ence with a 5-4 win in over­time on Thurs­day be­fore a crowd of 4,430 at the WFCU Cen­tre. The two teams meet again on Fri­day at 7:05 p.m. at Pro­gres­sive Auto Sales Arena.

“You go out ev­ery night and try to win,” Leg­wand said. “You do what you can to win. We have some kids that are pick­ing up the slack.”

Like rookie Ja­cob Per­reault, who got the St­ing go­ing as he tipped Sar­nia’s first shot of the game past rookie goal­tender Kari Pi­iroinen. It was Pi­iroinen’s first start since the DiPi­etro trade and he is ex­pected to as­sume the No. 1 job.

“It’s a big change and I was ner­vous,” said Pi­iroinen, who fin­ished with 37 saves. “It was a tough start (with the goal) for me. I’ve got to be used to that be­cause no one’s go­ing to say it to me.”

Pi­iroinen, who is from Fin­land, made 21 straight saves af­ter the Per­reault goal to al­low his team­mates to set­tle into the game.

“They still have good goal­tend­ing and good team,” Leg­wand said of the Spit­fires. “It changes a lit­tle with (DiPi­etro) gone, but he was go­ing to be gone.”

St­ing rookie goalie Ethan Langevin was also solid and kept the Spit­fires off the board un­til mid­way through the sec­ond pe­riod when Wind­sor got back-to-back goals by Daniel D’Amico in just over five min­utes.

D’Amico was left unchecked at the side of the net to tie the game mid­way through the pe­riod and scored on a two-on-one to give Wind­sor what would be its only lead at 2-1.

“With­out a guy like Mikey, a big pres­ence in the room and vo­cal for us, it felt dif­fer­ent,” Cuylle said. “At the same time, we played very well.”

But even with Salin­i­tri gone, the St­ing have plenty of fire­power and it showed in a 37-sec­ond span in the fi­nal two min­utes of the sec­ond pe­riod.

“It’s not a re­build by any means,” Leg­wand said. “It’s a trade where (Salin­i­tri) was go­ing to be around four more months.

“We’re wor­ried about our team and ev­ery­one’s go­ing to do what’s best for their or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Goals by Adam Ruz­icka and Ryan McGre­gor put Sar­nia up 3-2 af­ter 40 min­utes, but the game would con­tinue to go back and forth in the third pe­riod.

Will Cuylle, who is a 16-year-old rookie, would score twice on the power play in the third pe­riod to force over­time.

Both goals were set up by fel­low 16-year-old rookie Jean-Luc Foudy and the sec­ond came with less than three min­utes to play in reg­u­la­tion to off­set Per­reault’s sec­ond of the game.

“We switched up the power play a bit and have been work­ing on it the last two days a lot and did a good job ex­e­cut­ing,” said Cuylle, whose team was ranked 17th on the power play in the 20-team league com­ing into Thurs­day’s game.

In a wild over­time where Spit­fires de­fence­man Con­nor Cor­co­ran drilled a shot off the post, the St­ing got the win­ner with 41.4 sec­onds left in three-on-three play with Kel­ton Hatcher con­vert­ing a two-on-one, which al­lowed Sar­nia to grab an ex­tra point and move to within a point of the Spit­fires.

“That’s three-on-three for you,” Cuylle said. “Back and forth and fun to play, but one mis­take and it can cost you.

“Ev­ery game were try­ing to win and we’re never sat­is­fied with one point, es­pe­cially where it’s one shot from two points. It stings a bit more, but it’s a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

DAN JANISSE/POST­MEDIA

Wind­sor Spit­fires' Curtis Dou­glas gets sand­wiched be­tween Ash­ton Reesor, left, and goalie Ethan Langevin of the Sar­nia St­ing on Thurs­day at the WFCU Cen­tre in Wind­sor.

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