Sting down Firebirds 4-3 in OT

Sarnia Sting forward Nolan Burke carries the puck during a game versus the Flint Firebirds. 6 November 2022. (Metcalfe Photography)

Sarnia Sting defenceman Ethan Ritchie scored midway into overtime to lift his club to a 4-3 win over the visiting Flint Firebirds Sunday afternoon.

Nolan Burke scored a pair to increase his league-lead in goals to 14 on the season, and Sarnia’s Ty Voit, who leads the OHL with 30 points, had an assist on the game-winning goal.

Sting forward Zach Filak opened the scoring at 9:50 of the first period, his second goal of the season. Sarnia led 1-0 after 20 minutes.

Burke scored his first of the game less than a minute into the second period to make it 2-0, and Flint’s Zacharie Giroux got his team on the board at 8:13 to make it 2-1.

Burke restored the Sting’s two-goal lead with a short-handed marker at 7:44 of the third period. The Firebirds came back with goals at 8:20 and 12:52 to send the game to overtime.

At around the two-minute mark, the Firebirds were caught with too many men on the ice. The Sting’s power play, which was 0 for 5 in regulation, finally converted when Ritchie blasted home a point shot at 2:51, his third goal of the season.

“I think this is a really positive win for us,” said Ritchie. “I think we just need to stay grounded, not get ahead of ourselves and just put the work in everyday and show up ready to play and I think we can beat anyone on any given night.”

Sting goaltender Ben Gaudreau made 33 saves and was named the game’s third star.

“We came together as a whole team and played really well defensively,” said Gaudreau. “That’s something that we’re definitely trying to do all year. It was pretty cool seeing that and seeing us step up when we don’t have too many of our defencemen in the lineup.”

The Sting had five defencemen available for Sunday’s game, prompting forward Marko Sikic to spend some time on the blueline.

“Siky [Sikic] was fantastic on defence,” said Ritchie. “He looked like a natural to me. In the summer, we skate together sometimes, and when there’s not enough ‘D’ at the scrimmage, he’ll come back there, so I’ve known he’s been able to play ‘D’ and I thought he did a great job.”

The Sting are back in action Wednesday night in Owen Sound. Coverage on CHOK (1070 A.M./103.9 F.M.) begins at 6:30 p.m.

-With files from Stephanie Chaves