Sting start poorly in shutout loss to Rangers

One-tenth of a second isn’t much time, but it meant a lot to the Sarnia Sting and Kitchener Rangers on Sunday.

Sarnia Sting's Jamieson Rees (39) battles Kitchener Rangers' Michael Vukojevic (51) in the first period at Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia, Ont., on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network)

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One-tenth of a second isn’t much time, but it meant a lot to the Sarnia Sting and Kitchener Rangers on Sunday.

Greg Meireles of the Rangers scored 0.1 seconds before the buzzer sounded to end the second period.

That proved to be the only goal in the Sting’s 1-0 loss before a crowd of 3,387 at Progressive Auto Sales Arena.

Netminder Ethan Langevin suffered the hard-luck defeat despite making 28 saves.

He kept the Sting in the game during the first two periods when they were outshot 24-9.

“We just didn’t come out strong the way we wanted to,” Langevin said. “We kind of kept to the outside and it showed with nine shots through two periods. In the third period, we picked it up and we just couldn’t get a goal to tie it up.”

The Sting (23-25-5-2) are tied again with the Rangers (25-24-3-0) for sixth place in the OHL’s Western Conference with 53 points apiece. The Rangers have three games in hand.

Sting head coach Derian Hatcher isn’t concerned with the standings or potential playoff matchups.

“The standings are what they are,” Hatcher said. “We’re going to win our games, and where we fall, we’ll fall. You never want to pick your poison or anything like that.”

The Sting wore Fortnite-inspired jerseys Sunday in collaboration with Lambton College’s esports program.

The matinee was their third game in less than three days.

They looked like a tired team in the first period while being outshot 16-4.

The Sting got through the first period unscathed and almost made it through the second, too, until Meireles scored on the power play.

Meireles tapped in a cross-crease pass from Riley Damiani after both Rangers were able to slip behind the Sting’s defence.

“It’s definitely frustrating, but we knew it was only a one-goal game,” Langevin said. “We could have got back and tied it up, so it didn’t get us too down.”

The Sting came out firing in the third. They were credited with the first 10 shots in the period.

“We didn’t think we were playing that well (in the first two periods), so we had to pick it up somehow,” Langevin said.

The Sting enjoyed a two-man power play for two full minutes starting at 6:10. However, they managed only three shots.

A late power play also proved fruitless as the Sting finished 0-for-4.

Their power play on home ice ranks third-last in the OHL at 16.5 per cent.

The Sting outshot the Rangers 14-5 in the third period. They finished with 23 shots at Luke Richardson, who posted his third shutout of the season.

Langevin is still looking for his first shutout in his rookie season, but he’s had three one-goal starts.

“I definitely felt good today,” he said.

Langevin is 1-5-2-0 in his last eight decisions despite allowing three or fewer goals in three of those losses.

He has a friendly rivalry with fellow netminder Cameron Lamour, who was acquired in December from the Saginaw Spirit.

“Ever since he’s came over, he’s put up his A game, especially as of late,” Langevin said. “It’s really motivated me to put up my A game as well.”

Langevin said he gets along well with Lamour, 18.

“Cameron’s a really good guy,” said Langevin, 17. “Ever since he came here, we’ve jelled. We don’t really care who plays next. We just support each other. It’s good to have someone around your age to push you back and make sure that you’re going. It’s a good relationship.”

The Sting will play a home-and-home series with the Spitfires on Thursday in Windsor and at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Progressive Auto Sales Arena. The Spitfires are in eighth place, five points behind the Sting and Rangers.

“We’ve just got to come out strong for our next couple practices,” Langevin said. “We’ve got a good doubleheader Thursday-Friday against Windsor, a team that we can beat, so we’ve just got to prepare for that.”

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