Sting clinch playoff spot with shootout win in the Soo

Sarnia's Luca Del Bel Belluz celebrates a goal versus the Guelph Storm. 15 February 2023. (Metcalfe Photography)

The Sarnia Sting erased a two-goal third-period deficit in a 4-3 shootout win in Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday night.

Sarnia’s Marcus Limpar-Lantz, Nolan Dillingham and Sandis Vilmanis scored in the win, Christian Kyrou put home the shootout winner, and goaltender Nicholas Surzycia made 17 saves for his 12th win of the season.

Limpar-Lantz opened the scoring at 7:59 of the first period, his 13th goal of the year. The Greyhound’s Kalvyn Watson responded about 40 seconds later and the two teams were tied at one after 20 minutes of play.

The Soo went up 2-1 at 1:52 of the second period on a goal from Jordan D’Intino. Mark Duarte gave the home-side a two-goal lead with a short handed marker at 8:23 and the Soo led 3-1 heading into the third period.

Dillingham, the Sting’s captain, scored his fourth goal of the season at 3:25 of the final frame to bring his team within one. At 10:51, Vilmanis scored his 15th goal of the campaign to make it 3-3. Sarnia outshot the Soo 11-6 in the third period, 3-0 in overtime and 31-20 overall.

The Greyhound’s Bryce McConnell-Barker opened the shootout with a misfire. Luca Del Bel Belluz countered with a goal for Sarnia, giving his team a 1-0 advantage. After the Soo’s Jordan D’Intino also missed the net, Christian Kyrou backhanded a puck into the Greyhound’s net to give Sarnia the win.

With the victory, the Sting clinched a playoff spot in the OHL’s Western Conference — they’re currently third in the standings, nine points back of Windsor for second and nine points ahead of Saginaw in fourth.

Despite the victory, the Sting’s red-hot power play was held in check, going 0 for 6 with the man advantage. Over their previous seven games, Sarnia went 13 for 31 on the PP.

Sarnia has recorded at least a point in eight straight games, going 6-0-1-1 during that stretch. The hockey club will look to keep on rolling when London visits the Hive Friday night — coverage on CHOK (103.9 FM/1070 AM) begins at 6:30 p.m.