Saturday Highlights: Sting punch playoff ticket on Sportsnet
SARNIA 5 – LONDON 1
The Sarnia Sting became the second Western Conference team to book a trip to the OHL Playoffs, choosing a great day to do so as they defeated the rival London Knights 5-1 on the Sportsnet CHL Saturday Showcase. Franco Sproviero collected three assists in the home ice win as the Sting scored five unanswered goals from the sticks of Drake Rymsha (24), Anthony Salinitri (22), Adam Ruzicka (31), Sean Josling (18) and Hugo Leufvenius (17). Sarnia outshot London 30-24 as Justin Fazio tied a franchise record with his 29th win of the season in a 23-save effort. Alex Formenton (17) scored London’s lone goal shorthanded 8:30 into the first period as the Knights dropped their third straight, falling to 26-20-2-2. The Sting have won 11 of their last 13 games and sit second in the West Division with a 36-12-4-0 record.
BARRIE 6 – WINDSOR 2
Top 2018 NHL Draft prospect Andrei Svechnikov (25, 26, 27) scored his third hat-trick of the season to propel the Barrie Colts back into the Central Division lead with a 6-2 win over visiting Windsor. Veteran centreman Aaron Luchuk (39) had a goal and three assists on the night while Dmitry Sokolov (30) and Jason Willms (22) added singles. Barrie outshot Windsor 39-27, going 2-for-5 on the power play to climb to 29-18-2-1, two points ahead of second place Niagara in the division. Windsor falls for a fifth straight game as Curtis Douglas (16) scored against his former club to extend his current point streak to nine games. Jake Smith (14) accounted for Windsor’s other goal as the Spits sit eighth in the conference with a 23-22-2-2 record.
OWEN SOUND 6 – KITCHENER 3
Philadelphia Flyers prospect Maksim Sushko (24, 25) had another strong outing, following up a three-point night on Friday with two goals in a 6-3 win over the visiting Kitchener Rangers. The Attack knot the season series between the two teams, wrapping it up at four wins apiece while snapping Kitchener’s seven-game winning streak with a fourth consecutive victory of their own. Kevin Hancock (16), Jonah Gadjovich (16), Brett McKenzie (14) and Cade Robinson (8) added Owen Sound markers while Markus Phillips chipped in with a pair of assists as the Bears outshot the Rangers 44-24. Kitchener goals came from Logan Brown (16), Givani Smith (14) and Adam Mascherin (34) while Luke Richardson took the loss, making 38 saves. Owen Sound rises to sixth in the Western Conference, one point back of Saginaw with a 23-19-2-5 record. The Rangers drop to 34-15-2-0 and hold down second in the conference.
KINGSTON 5 – NIAGARA 3
The Niagara IceDogs gave the Kingston Frontenacs a good fight, but strong goaltending from Carolina Hurricanes prospect Jeremy Helvig backstopped the Fronts to a 5-3 win on home ice. Helvig made 36 saves while Cliff Pu (22) scored the go ahead goal 7:47 into the third period. Pu finished the game with a goal and three assists while Linus Nyman (26, 27) scored a pair of goals and other Kingston markers came from Jason Robertson (33) as well as Ryan Cranford (13). Akil Thomas (15), Sam Miletic (26) and Danial Singer (22) all scored for Niagara as the IceDogs suffered their third straight loss, falling to 26-16-4-3. Kingston’s fifth straight win helps the Fronts improve to 27-16-4-3 on the season.
OSHAWA 8 – PETERBOROUGH 2
The Oshawa Generals put a damper on Pink in the Rink Night in Peterborough, climbing out to a 5-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes of action enroute to an eventual 8-2 victory. The Petes managed to raise over $83,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society, but the Generals would come away with the two points as eight different players had goals including Hayden McCool (10), Serron Noel (20), Domenico Commisso (14), Kenny Huether (22), Nick Wong (15), Jack Studnicka (14), Renars Krastenbergs (14) and Brendan Harrogate (5). Huether and Commisso both had three-point outings as the Generals buried eight goals on 40 shots, improving to 5-1 against the Petes this season. Peterborough’s eighth straight loss featured a pair of goals from rookie Nick Robertson (6, 7). Oshawa improves to 24-23-3-0 for sixth in the Eastern Conference while Peterborough falls to 18-26-3-3, five points back of eighth place Mississauga in the conference.
SAGINAW 3 – FLINT 2
The Saginaw Spirit scored a much-needed win before a sold out crowd, defeating the interstate rival Flint Firebirds 3-2 on home ice to pull into a fourth place tie in the Western Conference. Ryan Stepien (8), DJ Busdeker (7) and Mason Kohn (15) all scored for the Spirit while defenceman Marcus Crawford had a pair of assists as the Spirit took their fifth win in seven tries against the Firebirds this season. Evan Cormier turned aside 29 shots including a last second game-saver in the Saginaw crease while Flint counterpart Garrett Forrest made 30. Ty Dellandrea (22) scored in a fourth straight game for the Firebirds while Maurizio Colella (18) also lit the lamp. Flint sees a three-game winning streak snapped and falls to 16-30-3-1.
HAMILTON 2 – MISSISSAUGA 1
Draft eligible netminder Nick Donofrio stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced to backstop the Hamilton Bulldogs past visiting Mississauga 2-1. Matthew Strome (29) and Riley Stillman (3) provided goals as the Bulldogs won despite being outshot 31-25. Michael McLeod (13) provided Mississauga’s lone goal as the Steelheads fell to 23-26-0-1 for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Hamilton leads the East Division with a record of 33-12-3-3 and improves to 17-4-0-3 on home ice. Donofrio now holds a record of 8-1-0-1 on the season.