SARNIA, Ont. -- Three goals in the third period by the Sarnia Sting were the difference as the Erie Otters lost their season opener at RBC Centre Friday night, 5-2.
Nail Yakupov, Craig Hottot and Charlie Sarault all scored in the third for the Sting as they handed the Otters a season-opening loss Friday evening.
Alex Basso scored first for the Sting while on the power play, but his goal was quickly neutralized by Sondre Olden’s first OHL goal. The Norwegian took a feed from Connor Brown down the left wing of the Sarnia zone and fired a wrist shot from the circle through the glove of Brandon Maxwell to tie the game nine minutes, five seconds into the game.
Brett Ritchie scored on a two-on-one just over a minute later to put the Sting back in front. However, a hard check by Chris Marchese during an Otters penalty kill led to their first shorthanded goal of the season. Brown picked up the loose puck and started a two-on-none, waiting until the last moment to find Marchese, as he rang the puck just under the crossbar to make it two-all with four minutes, 19 seconds left in the first.
The second period was more defensive than the first, but neither team was short on chances. Chris Festarini stopped Ritchie with a terrific right arm save on a breakaway and Brett Thompson was denied by the outstretched right pad of Maxwell. The goalies kept the scoreline at two apiece going into the third.
The third was where the Sting were able to pull away, and despite Festarini’s best efforts with 35 saves, the Otters could not find the offense to take at least a point on the road.
Brown led the way for the Otters with two assists, while Nathan Glass, Stephen Harper and Jake Evans had solid debuts despite not appearing on the scoresheet.
The Otters continue on the road to Plymouth to take on the Whalers Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. Fans can listen to the broadcast on Fox Sports Radio AM 1330 The Fan or online at OttersHockey.com (courtesy of the James H. Cross Company)
Game summary courtesy of the Erie Otters.
Matt Wilson may be contacted on Twitter @Mattjw24 or by email at email@example.com.