Sting return bid foiled by Rangers

Sarnia Stings get good at escaping deep holes.

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Sarnia Stings get good at escaping deep holes.

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Now head coach Alan Letang wants them to stop digging those holes in the first place.

The Stings were left empty-handed after another third-period comeback failed in a 6-5 loss to the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday at Progressive Auto Sales Arena.

The Sting went from two goals to two draws even in the final frame, but they remain winless against Rangers this season.

“I liked our resilience in the third,” Letang said. “We showed a bit of emotion. We were invested in the game, as I’ve already talked about, but we need it from the start of the game, not when we’re down and don’t go into the third period.

The Sting’s second straight loss and third in four games tied them with the Rangers for seventh place in the Ontario Hockey League’s Western Conference. Both teams are one point ahead of ninth-placed Saginaw Spirit, who travels to Sarnia at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday for a rescheduled game.

“We would have liked a better result,” said Letang. “We would have liked a better start. We would have liked to referee a little better. I thought they missed a few calls.

Sarnia Sting's Angus MacDonell, left, braces for a hit from Kitchener Rangers' Justin Nolet in the first period at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia, Ont., on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network
Sarnia Sting’s Angus MacDonell, left, braces for a hit from Kitchener Rangers’ Justin Nolet in the first period at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia, Ont., on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network

The Rangers won the first four games of the season series while beating the Sting by a combined 25-10.

The first period belonged to the Rangers. Sunday was no different. They led 2-0 at intermission and outscored the Sting 11-1 on aggregate in the first period.

The Sting can’t afford to feel the game and wonder how well Rangers will play, Letang said. They can’t expect Rangers to be tired or unwilling to be physical.

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“We have to go out with the energy that we put out in third, with the desperation that we had in third and move our feet,” Letang said. “When you are in this state mentally, you are in this state physically.

“All of a sudden your passing gets a little sharper, the power play starts moving the pucks faster, D passes the pucks faster. They stand at the blue line, we slide a few pucks behind them, we throw our forecheck, we take their time and space, and then all of a sudden the momentum starts to tilt for us.

The Sting trailed 4-2 until Ty Voit scored his second of the game at 3:37 of the third period on a breakaway.

Trade deadline picker Marko Sikic scored his first Sting goal on the power play at 5:09 for a 4-4 tie.

“He did a lot of little things for us,” Letang said. “Play the right way, work the walls a bit. It’s still that presence on the net for us, that’s what we need. Glad to see him rewarded. »

Jack Harper restored the Rangers lead at 8:38, but Sting rookie Ryder McIntyre responded at 12:32 with his third career goal.

“Ryder gets a nice deflection in front of the net. He’s starting to feel comfortable,” Letang said.

Matthew Sop scored the winner on the power play at 16:08 by hitting in a rebound.

Sting rookie goaltender Dylan Grover made 21 saves in his second straight start. Sarnia’s top two goaltenders — Ben Gaudreau and Anson Thornton — were still out due to OHL’s COVID-19 protocols.

Letang doesn’t know if Gaudreau or Thornton will be ready to play on Tuesday, but he’s optimistic.

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“I know they feel better today,” he said. “I think today was their last day of quarantine. They are through with their symptoms, so I expect them to come to the rink and we have some work to do with them. One of They should be ready to go on Tuesday, hopefully.

Rangers took a 3-1 lead thanks to Mike Petizian’s hat trick.

Nolan DeGurse cut the lead in half at 12:40 of the second period, but Joseph Serpa restored the two-goal bulge on a power play at 14:05.

Rangers rookie Jackson Parsons made 26 saves.

REMARKS: Andrei Malyavin was off the COVID-19 list, so the Sting dressed six defenders for the first time in three games. … Former Sting defender Justin Nolet had two assists for Rangers. … Sees has 14 points during his six-game point streak. … Nolan Burke’s five-game goal streak came to an end, but he ran his scoring streak to six games with three assists. He has 12 points during the streak. … DeGurse had two assists for a three-point game. … Nolan Dann was whistled as the instigator of his third-period fight with Harper with 5:43 left. … Grover was backed up again by Nicholas Surzycia, a recall from Georgina Ice of the Provincial Junior Hockey League. … The Sting will play four games in six days this week. After hosting Saginaw on Tuesday and Erie on Friday, they will visit Flint on Saturday and Windsor on Sunday. … After playing in an empty arena last month, the Sting will be allowed 500 spectators from Tuesday.

Sarnia Sting's Marko Sikic, right, celebrates with Nolan Burke after scoring against the Kitchener Rangers in the third period at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia, Ont., Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network
Sarnia Sting’s Marko Sikic, right, celebrates with Nolan Burke after scoring against the Kitchener Rangers in the third period at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia, Ont., Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network

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