Sting Clinches Playoff Spot Despite Loss

Justin Fazio vs Saginaw Spirit Mar. 13, 2015 (Photo courtesy of Metcalfe Photography)

The Sarnia Sting is officially in the playoffs despite a 4-3 loss to the West Division rival Saginaw Spirit at the RBC Centre Friday night.

Former Sting Vladislav Kodola got the game winning goal midway through the third period when a Sarnia defender fell down giving him a clear lane to the net.

Sting head coach Trevor Letowski.

The Sting had battled back from a 3-0 first period deficit to tie the game at 3 after 40 minutes.

Justin Fazio, who took over in goal for Taylor Dupuis in the first, made a series of brilliant saves to allow his team to get back into the game.

Fazio stopped 23 of 24 shots and was named the first star. The Spirit outshot the Sting 36-32.

Noah Bushnell got the Sting on the board early in the second with his ninth of the year. Troy Lajeunesse beat Evan Cormier high over the shoulder on the short side for his 12th and Hayden Hodgson fired home his 20th of the year to round out the Sting scoring.

Wearing special green jerseys in advance of St. Patrick’s Day, the Sting had Friday the 13th bad luck in the dying seconds with the goalie pulled, missing several chances and hitting the crossbar.

Rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun did not dress for the game for precautionary reasons with the playoffs approaching. Also out of the lineup were Brandon Lindberg and Anthony Salinitri.

The Sting is assured a playoff spot after the Plymouth Whalers lost 5-1 at Sault Ste. Marie and will likely meet concensus number one NHL pick Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters in the first round.

The Spirit, mathematically, could still tie Sarnia for seventh place. Both teams have four games left with the Sting eight points ahead.

Saginaw is three points ahead of Windsor and four up on Plymouth in the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Sting (28-29-4-3) travels to Sault Ste. Marie Saturday night.

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