OHL’s Top Two Teams Face Off Friday Night

The Sarnia Sting celebrate a goal against the visiting Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (Metcalfe Photography)

The two top teams in the Ontario Hockey League meet Friday night at Progressive Auto Sales Arena as the Sarnia Sting host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

They were the only two OHL teams listed in the latest Canadian Hockey League rankings, with the Sting topping the list, and the Greyhounds coming in sixth.

The first place Sting are winners of 11 straight and have scored a league high 71 goals, 15 more than the next highest team. Reigning OHL Player of the Week is second in the OHL with 22 points, one behind Owen Sound’s Nick Suzuki. Adam Ruzika is third in league scoring with 20 points.

Head Coach Derian Hatcher says although they knew they had a talented forward group coming into the season, they didn’t expect them to score like they have been. He says it’s important the team doesn’t get too caught up in their strong start to the season.

“That’s the big thing, making sure we stay focused night in and night out, and we continually tell the players that,” says Hatcher. “We got off to a good start, that’s all that is, we still need to keep working hard and get better.”

That scoring with strong goaltending has been Sarnia’s recipe for success, as they’ve also allowed a league low 31 goals. Justin Fazio leads the OHL in wins, is second in save percentage and third in goals against average.

Hatcher says Fazio’s play doesn’t come as a surprise.

“We knew going into the season we could have one of the best goalies in the league, we new Justin had it in him and he’s been fantastic for us so far,” says Hatcher.

He also credits a young defence who have gotten up to speed in a hurry.

At 90.4%, Sarnia boasts the best penalty killing record in the league. Good news for a team that’s been shorthanded 73 times, second most in the OHL. Their five short handed goals is also second in the OHL.

The Sting are home again on Sunday afternoon when they host the Flint Firebirds.