Sting down Rangers for seventh straight win

The Sarnia Sting hosting the Kitchener Rangers. 12 March 2023. (Metcalfe Photography)

The Sarnia Sting beat the visiting Kitchener Rangers 6-3 Sunday afternoon, the hockey club’s seventh straight victory.

Nolan Burke scored a hat-trick and added an assist, Ty Voit and Luca Del Bel Belluz each had a three-point game, and Ben Gaudreau made 27 saves for his 22nd win of the season.

Burke opened the scoring at 7:58 of the first period, the first of three power play goals for the Sting on the day. Kitchener’s Francesco Pinelli responded at 10:40 to tie things at one. Under two minutes later, Ethan Ritchie restored Sarnia’s one-goal lead, and at 16:49, Burke potted his second goal to make it 3-1.

Burke completed his hat-trick at 2:24 of the second period, another power play maker — the Peterborough native has 47 goals on the year, second in the OHL, and he leads the league in power play goals with 22.

At 9:21 of the middle frame, the Sting struck again with the man advantage when Ty Voit put home his 19th goal of the season — Sarnia finished a perfect 3 for 3 on the power play. Just over a minute later, Rangers defenceman Hunter Brzustewicz scored his sixth goal of the campaign to trim Sarnia’s lead to 5-2 after 40 minutes.

Kitchener got within two goals at 4:43 of the third period on a goal from Lleyton Moore, but that’s as close as they would get. Gaudreau turned away five more Ranger shots the rest of the way and Sandis Vilmanis scored an empty-netter at 17:27 to cap-off the 6-3 win.

During the postgame media conference, Voit said he thinks the team is on a great wave right now.

“I think we did everything we planned to come out and do [today]. It’s definitely great to see that outcome. We kept pucks behind them like we said we were going to do, kept it simple in the neutral zone, not too many risky plays, so I think that helped us pull it out today.”

Voit is second in league-scoring with 94 points on the season. He also recorded his 200th career OHL point in Sunday’s win.

Del Bel Belluz said the team is trying to keep things as simple as possible right now.

“We know we have a really good team and we’re rolling right now, so we don’t want to get away from what we’re doing,” said Del Bel Belluz. “Our goal here is to get a banner and we want to win every game coming out. Going on a roll before playoffs is huge and we want to be at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the day.”

The Sting have recorded at least a point in 11 straight games, going 9-0-1-1 during that stretch. With seven games remaining in the regular season, Sarnia six points back of both Windsor and London for top spot in the OHL’s Western Conference.