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By DAVE BORODY
And the captain shall lead them.
Alex Galchenyuk scored two goals and assisted on another in leading the Sarnia Sting to an important 5-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires, Thursday night in front of 2,738 spectators at the RBC Centre.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Sting and moved them back to the .500 mark at 6-6-0-1 in the Ontario Hockey League.
Galchenyuk’s first goal came on a penalty shot in the second period to snap a 2-2 tie.
“I’ve had a lot of penalty shots, but I was a little nervous because this was the most important one so far,” said Galchenyuk. “It was a 2-2 game at the time and if I didn’t score you never know what might have happened.
“I went in faked a shot and then took a forehand shot. I think the puck went in under the blocker.”
As for the game Galchenyuk said, “Windsor came out hard in the first period. We were a little shaky. But we killed some penalties and when we got the one-goal lead, we got the momentum back. We then had that big penalty-kill in the third period and got the home win.”
When asked about his captain taking a penalty shot, Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu just smiled and said, “He would be my choice. It was a huge goal. Alex likes and wants to be in those types of situations where he can score a big goal.”
Galchenyuk’s second goal came into an open net to give him seven on the season, tops on the club.
The Sting trailed 2-1 after the first period before taking a 3-2 advantage after 40 minutes.
“We got off to a slow start in the first period,” said Beaulieu. “We practiced well all week, but we didn’t match their work ethic. But we stayed in the game and kept plugging away. Our special teams were very good. I kept telling the players to be patient as we would get our chances.”
Windsor opened the scoring before the game was two minutes old when Jordan Maletta knocked in a rebound from close range. Sarnia tied the game five minutes later when Bryan Moore scored his first career OHL goal firing home a rebound from a sharp angle.
Alexandre Renaud assisted on the play, his first OHL point.
The Spitfires regained the lead at 12:46 when rookie Josh Ho-Sang scored on a wrist shot.
Sarnia tied the game at 13:44 of period two on a power play when Nick Latta backhanded home a rebound off a point drive from Craig Duininck. Daniel Nikandrov also drew an assist on Latta’s third goal of the year.
Galchenyuk was awarded his penalty shot at 15:05 after being hooked from behind on a breakaway. The Sting captain show great poise as he calmly skated in and fired the puck past Spitfires goalie Jaroslav Pavelka.
The Sting found themselves in penalty trouble early in the third period when they were two men short for a minute and 41 seconds. But the penalty-killers, led by Charlie Sarault did an outstanding job to limit Windsor to only two shots on goal.
“I thought Charlie was the best player on the ice,” said Beaulieu, when asked about the key penalty-kill. “He blocked shots and showed the character player he is. He tried to come off the ice at one point, but I wouldn’t let him. He plays in every situation for us.”
Windsor finished zero-for-five with the man advantage.
Sarnia took a 4-2 lead at 5:39 when Alex Basso scored his first goal of the season. Basso, back from a three-game suspension, made no mistake on a perfect goalmouth pass from Galchenyuk during a two-on-one break.
Windsor pulled their goalie with two and a half minutes remaining. Sarnia had three chances to score into an open net before Galchenyuk iced the game at 18:33 on a two-man breakaway with Sarault.
After being outshot 19-14 in period one, Sarnia outshot Windsor 23-11 in period two and fnished 45-38 overall. J.P. Anderson got the win in goal for the Sting with a solid performance.
Sarnia is on the road this weekend as they play in Erie Saturday and in Brampton Sunday afternoon. Their next home game is a week Friday, Nov. 2 when the Plymouth Whalers come to town. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
Tickets for that game and all 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
- Galchenyuk was first star with Anderson second star and Windsor’s Nick Ebert third star. Duininck was the Dickie’s hardest working player of the game.
- Sting rookie forward Nikolay Goldobin had his seven-game consecutive points streak snapped.
- Sarnia is now 2-0 against Windsor this season. The two clubs play six times.
- The Sting had a new face in the lineup, rookie defenceman Zachary Core. He was an 11th round pick of the team this year.
- Not dressed were Craig Hottot and Anthony DeAngelo, both suspended, Davis Brown is out with an upper body injury while Josh Chapman suffered a hand injury in practice this week.
- Sarnia improved to 3-5-0-1 on home ice.
Dave Borody is a freelance writer who covers Sting games both home and away and also does features for the Sting Website.
Photo Courtesy Metcalfe Photography