(WINDSOR, ON) – The margin between 1st and 2nd in the OHL West has grown to 3 points after the Sarnia Sting handily defeated the Spitfires 5-1 last night in front of 5,585 in Windsor. The Spits are now looking at an uphill struggle to regain home ice advantage for the playoffs, including an away match-up against the same Sarnia team on the last day of the regular season.
The Sting jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the end of the 1st period on goals by Pavel Zacha and Sam Studnicka, both coming on the power play.
Windsor closed the gap to 1 when Mikhail Sergachev scored his 15th of the season, from the red hot Christian Fischer, at 6:01 of the 2nd. But a giveaway moments later at the Sarnia blue line allowed Jeff King an unmolested breakaway, on which he made no mistake.
Sarnia’s third goal chased starting goaltender Mario Culina from between the pipes, replaced early for the second straight game by Mike DiPietro. Culina allowed 3 goals on 13 shots and took the loss.
The 2nd period was punctuated by a centre ice scrap between Cristiano DiGiacinto and Kevin Spinozzi. DiGiacinto landed most of the punches while the Sarnia player looked to just be hanging on for the ride.
Travis Konecny made it 4-1 before the end of 40 minutes and Nikita Korostelev netted one at 5:43 of the 3rd to cap off the scoring.
Sarnia’s Charlie Graham was credited with the win, facing 25 shots from the Spitfires.
In addition to being out-scored, the Spitfires were also shut out of the Stars of the Game. Konecny, King, and Graham were named 1,2,3, respectively.
Windsor takes to the road for a game in Owen Sound Saturday night before returning to host Kitchener on March 17 and Saginaw the following night. The Spitfires will end the regular season on March 20 when they seek revenge in Sarnia.
Were the playoffs to start today Windsor would face the Rangers starting in Kitchener.
Saginaw needs just a win or a Flint loss to clinch the final playoff berth in the West, while last year’s Robertson Cup winners, the Oshawa Generals, and the Hamilton Bulldogs will battle to the last game for the last spot in the East.