Struggling Sting lack desperation in fourth straight loss

The Sarnia Sting again didn’t have enough scoring Friday, but they didn’t have enough urgency, either.

Sarnia Sting's Ben Lalkin, left, battles Guelph Storm's Michael Buchinger in front of the Storm's net in the first period at Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia, Ont., on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network

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The Sarnia Sting again didn’t have enough scoring, but they didn’t have enough urgency, either.

Head coach Alan Letang lamented their lack of compete Friday after a 2-1 loss to the Guelph Storm extended the Sting’s skid to four games.

“We have a push in the third (period) like we pretty much do every game because we get a little bit desperate,” Letang said. “When you don’t get desperate from the start, these are the results. You don’t deserve to win because you’re not desperate enough from the start of the game.”

The Sting (1-2-2-0) remain winless on home ice after the loss in front of 2,255 fans at Progressive Auto Sales Arena.

They were outshot 16-8 in a scoreless first period and haven’t led at all in the past three games.

“Disappointing that we started a little bit late,” Letang said. “We didn’t raise our game or our compete until probably after the first period and then it hurts when you’re kind of clawing from behind all the time.”

After scoring six goals in a season-opening win, the Sting have a total of eight goals during their losing streak.

Nolan Burke scored his team-leading sixth goal for a 1-1 tie in the second period.

Goalie Anson Thornton was a standout with 39 saves in his second career start.

“There were some guys that laid everything on the line tonight,” Letang said. “Our D corps were good tonight. They blocked a ton of shots. … We had some forwards that sacrificed and played hard. We just didn’t have enough of them out there tonight for long enough.”

He added: “We had a game plan that we executed for maybe 35 minutes of the game. We had some good pressure and some good results. We drew some power plays.”

The Sting went 0-for-4 on the power play. They’re 0-for-14 this season and are the only team in the Ontario Hockey League without a man-advantage goal.

“It was terrible, to be honest with you,” Letang said about Friday’s power play.

The Storm’s lone power-play goal in five chances proved to be the winner. Braeden Bowman broke the 1-1 tie 59 seconds into the third period with a shot from the right circle.

Sasha Pastujov and Burke traded goals in the second period. Pastujov opened the scoring at 8:34 after a turnover in the Sting’s end, but Burke answered at 15:24 on a two-on-one with Ty Voit.

After taking 19 shots in the first two periods, the Sting fired 17 in the third but couldn’t get one past Storm goalie Jacob Oster.

“Give Guelph credit. They know who they are as a team, and they came in and played that way,” Letang said. “I watched some of their video from other teams. They play that way every night.

“We knew Wednesday when I told them. I said, ‘They’re going to come in, they’re going to compete every shift for 60 minutes and if we’re willing to compete for 60 minutes also, … the team that gets the break, the team that executes the power play, maybe crashes the net and stuffs that goal in, is the team that’s going to walk away with the two points.’”

The Sting will visit London on Friday, Oct. 29, and Owen Sound on Saturday, Oct. 30. Their next home game is Friday, Nov. 5, against Saginaw.

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