Story by Brad Coccimiglio (Sootoday.com) | Photo courtesy of James Egan Photography
It comes down to one game, winner-take-all.
The Sarnia Sting forced a seventh game against the Soo Greyhounds thanks to a 5-1 win on Sunday night at the Essar Centre in Ontario Hockey League Western Conference quarter-final action.
The Sting trailed the series 3-1 but picked up back-to-back 5-1 victories to send it to game seven on Tuesday night at the Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre.
After falling behind 1-0 five minutes into the contest, the Sting scored five unanswered goals in the game en route to the series-extending win.
“In the first period we were really good and in the second period they came out hard and we started to take a little bit of the momentum later in the second,” Bannister said. “They get the goal to make it 2-1 and the third period wasn’t a very good period.”
“For us to be successful we need everybody to be on board and we can’t win with a handful of guys coming to show up,” Bannister added. “In the third period we just weren’t good enough and they took over the game.”
For the Sting, the past two games have given the team a belief.
“They believe they can win and that’s the bottom line,” Sting Coach Derian Hatcher said. “We didn’t get off to a great start but we just kept coming.”
Boris Katchouk had the lone goal for the Greyhounds while goaltender Brandon Halverson made 28 saves.
Bannister said that after a light first period, Halverson was “really good” in period two.
“He didn’t have much work in the first but in the second period he was really good and we let him down in the third,” Bannister said.
Bannister would also speak of the Greyhounds puck-management, which was an issue in the loss.
“Some of our guys just didn’t manage the puck well,” Bannister said. “We needed guys to be stronger on pucks in our zone and when they have possession of the puck, make positive plays with it.”
Charlie Graham made 28 saves for Sarnia.
“It starts off in the net,” Hatcher said. “Charlie played really well. Especially early tonight, he made some timely saves.”
“The last couple of games he’s been tremendous for us,” Hatcher also said.
For the Greyhounds, going on the road for the seventh game is something where the team can look on its previous success in the series.
“It’s a one-game series. We’ve been successful down there before and we’ll look to go there and have success again,” Bannister said.
“Certainly we believe in ourselves on the road and we’ve had success,” Bannister also said. “We’ve had success in two out of the three games there. We’re going to look to regroup, get some rest here and get ready for the game on Tuesday.”
Jakob Chychrun paced the Sting with two goals and two assists. Pavel Zacha also had a pair of goals for the Sting and assisted on another. Jordan Kyrou had a goal and an assist. Josh Jacobs also had two assists for Sarnia.
Matt Mistele, who entered the game as the Sting leading goal-getter with six goals and eight points in the series, was limited to just one assist and Hatcher would credit the secondary scoring of the Sting, specifically in games five and six.
“We’ve been getting some scoring from other guys and that’s been crucial,” Hatcher said.
Bannister would also credit the Sting defensively.
“They block a lot of shots and get into shooting lanes,” Bannister said. “They made it difficult for us. That’s certainly one of their strong points.”
Veteran forward Bobby MacIntyre didn’t play in the game after taking warmup. Bannister would only say that the 19-year-old was day-to-day. MacIntyre’s status for game seven was not known.
Attendance – 3,475
Red Star Three Stars of the Game
1- Pavel Zacha, SAR
2 – Jakob Chychrun, SAR
3 – Boris Katchouk, SSM
BOXSCORE | PLAY-BY-PLAY RECAP
It all comes down to Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarter Final Series this TUESDAY, APRIL 5th @ 7:05 p.m.
The Hounds and Sting meet at the Sarnia Sports & Entertainment Centre with the best-of-seven series tied 3-3.
Fans can tune into the action beginning with the Bay Mills Resort & Casino’s pre-game show on Rock 101 (101.3 FM, www.rock101.net) starting at 6:35 p.m.
This game will also be simulcast on Oldies 93 (93.9 FM)
SHAWTV subscribers can view the game live on Cable Channel 10 beginning at 7 p.m.