For the Journal
The Sarnia Sting would go the distance Sunday afternoon, needing a shootout to dispatch the Niagara Ice Dogs 4-3 at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.
Andrew LeBlanc scored the shootout winner after Karsen Chartier stopped all three shooters he faced to seal the deal with a 4-3 win, sweeping the season series with the Ice Dogs. Chartier finished the game with 29 saves for his second straight win in as many starts, and was named the game’s first star.
Sean Doherty scored the lone goal of the first — his first career OHL goal with just 38 seconds left in the period. Owen MacDonald and Roman Kukumberg picked up the assists. Despite dominating the shot clock 17-7 in that first period, the Sting would take a slim 1-0 lead to the second period.
Neither goalie would give an inch in the second period, and fans wouldn’t see another goal until the 6:27 mark of the third period when Sandis Vilmanis scored his third of the season to give the Sting a 2-0 lead. The LeBlanc twins each picked up an assist.
The teams would then trade quick goals, as just under two minutes later the Ice Dogs would finally solve Chartier; Mathieu Paris scored his fourth of the season and cut the Sting lead to 2-1. The shorthanded goal came at the 8:12 mark.
Zach Filak would regain the two-goal lead for the Sting just 24 seconds later. His seventh — from Jacob LeBlanc and Vilmanis — put Sarnia in front 3-1.
Michael Podoliioukh would score his third goal of the year to bring the Ice Dogs within a goal with just under seven minutes left, cutting the Sting lead to 3-2. The Ice Dogs would add another, four minutes later, when Andrew Vermeulen found the back of the net to tie the game 3-3. His third of the season would secure a point for Niagara as the game would go to overtime.
Overtime would solve nothing, and the teams would need a shootout to find a winner. After Chartier stopped all three shooters he faced, it came down to Andrew LeBlanc, who would make no mistake and beat Ice Dogs goalie Owen Flores to give Sarnia the win and the extra point.
Chartier — who along with teammates Lukas Fischer and Mitch Young were named to the NHL Central Scouting’s list of players to watch — made 29 saves in the win and was named the game’s first star. Ice dogs goalie Owen Flores was named the second star with 40 saves, while Vilmanis rounded out the three stars with a goal and an assist.
Sarnia looks ahead to Friday November 3 when they host the Owen Sound Attack at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena, tickets are available at the box office and online at sarniasting.com.
Puck drops at 7:05.