Photo Courtesy – Metcalfe Photography
By DAVE BORODY
There’s a good reason by Sarnia Sting netminder J.P. Anderson has more wins than any other goalie in the history of the Ontario Hockey League.
If you needed any proof why, his performance against the Oshawa Generals Saturday night will make you a believer.
Anderson was outstanding in leading the Sting to a 4-2 victory over the Generals in front of 3,080 fans at the RBC Centre.
The overage netminder turned aside 40 or 42 shots he faced, including stopping all 16 shots in the third period, one of them being a breakaway.
He was named the game’s first star for the second consecutive night, as he was the top dog in a 2-1 win at Windsor on Friday night.
Oshawa outshot the Sting 42-19 while most of the third period was spent in the Sarnia zone, but Anderson closed the door.
“I had a good game, but I didn’t think it was my best game of the season,” said Anderson. “I was happy with my effort. I played aggressive. I was reading the plays well and reading the shooters well. I tried to come out and challenge when I had and react to pucks and use my head.”
Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu knows when Anderson is on his game.
“There’s no movement in the net. We he gets square to the shooters he is hard to beat. The only time he gets into trouble is when he starts flopping around. He wasn’t doing any of that tonight.”
Oshawa opened the scoring at 12:51 of period one when Bradley Latour knocked in a loose puck after a scramble around the Sting goal.
But the Sting tied the game at 16:50 on their first power play. A shot from the point by Anthony DeAngelo was stopped by a Generals defenceman, but Sting sniper Reid Boucher pounced on the loose puck and snapped a shot into the top corner on the glove side.
For Boucher it was his 51st goal of the campaign leaving him just seven shy of the team record of 58, currently held by Steven Stamkos.
The Sting took their first lead at 7:31 of period two, again on the power play when Alex Basso took a cross-ice pass from Nikolay Goldobin and drilled home a low slapshot. It was Basso’s ninth goal of the year.
It took a penalty shot for Oshawa to tie the game at 8:30. Scott Laughton of the Generals made a nice deke to beat Anderson with a backhand.
What turned out to be the winning goal was scored by Bryan Moore of the Sting at 18:26. Moore took a pass in the corner from Nick Latta and then came to the front of the net and slipped the puck past netminder Daniel Altshuller. It was Moore’s sixth goal of the year.
Oshawa turned up the intensity in the third period looking for the equalizer. They had some good scoring chances, including a breakaway by Latour, but Anderson was equal to the task.
The Sting fourth goal came at 14:42 when they created a turnover at center ice. Nick Latta raced in alone and picked the top corner on the glove side for his 12th goal of the season.
“We competed real well,” said Beaulieu. “They pushed the pace. We skated well and stayed with them. Our special teams were good. It was nice to see the kids execute our systems.”
He added, “Of course J.P. was really good tonight and our defensive group overall was steady. We are growing as a group.”
Anderson also paid tribute to his team-mates.
“We came out decent in the first period. They came at us with pace. They are a big, strong, physical team. We had to be ready to match their intensity. We then capitalized on our scoring chances. In the third period the guys blocked shots in front of me and did what we had to in order to win.”
He added, “It was a big bounce back game in Windsor after what happened in Sault Ste. Marie. I thought we carried that momentum into this game. Hopefully we can do the same on Monday against Plymouth.”
Sarnia finished two-for-six on the power play and Oshawa just zero-for-two. The Generals did not have a power play until the third period.
Next action for Sarnia is on Family Day Monday when they host the Plymouth Whalers beginning at 2:05 p.m. at the RBC Centre. Kids under 12 will be admitted for just $5 while there will be a family skate after the game.
Tickets for the game and all remaining home games of the Sting are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at Sarniasting.com
– Anderson was first star with Moore second star and Laughton third star. Daniel Nikandrov was the Dickies hardest working player of the game.
– Sting captain Charlie Sarault had one assist to give him 87 points, the same number he had all of last season. Sarnia has 11 games left.
– DeAngelo had two assists while Latta had a goal and an assist.
– Nikolay Goldobin’s parents, Sergei and Violet, along with sister Eva are here from Moscow to watch their son over the next week. He picked up one assist.
– Sarnia is now 24-4-0-1 when leading after two periods.
– The Sting’s home record improved to 15-10-0-2.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.