The Sting get stung by Attack
The Owen Sound Attack showed off their offensive prowess for the 3rd consecutive game on Saturday, Mar. 17, closing out the regular season by drubbing the visiting Sarnia Sting 9-4 to enter the Playoffs on a six game winning streak.
Ten players recorded multipoint evenings in the blowout, led by Nick Suzuki’s two goal, one assist effort to hit the 100 point mark on the season and set a new career high for points in a year.
The Attack struck early, taking advantage of a Baywest Nissan Powerplay a mere 56 seconds into the game.
After Theo Calvas got caught cross checking Jonah Gadjovich behind the Sting net just 49 seconds after the puck had dropped, Owen Sound needed just seven seconds to score off of the ensuing faceoff.
Ethan Szypula won the puck back to Brady Lyle at the point, who played catch with Alan Lyszczarczyk before the defenceman one-timed his 11th of the year past Aidan Hughes for a 1-0 Attack lead.
A relentless Owen Sound offence continued to push the pace, eventually jumping out to a 13-3 lead on the Mark McDade Chestnut Park Shot Clock before the 1st period TV timeout.
And one of those shots would make it 2-0 for the home team.
With 7:59 gone in the 1st and parked on the halfwall to the right of Sarnia’s goaltender, Brett McKenzie took a pass from Markus Phillips before leaning into a slapshot that found its way into the back of the net.
The goal, McKenzie’s 21st of the season, also marked the 100th goal of his 328 game Ontario Hockey League career and saw Ethan Szypula register an assist as well.
Owen Sound was obviosuly still feeling the offensive juices from their goal scoring barrages in Flint and Windsor earlier in the week too, and a tripping minor to Jonah Gadjovich couldn’t even stop that.
After forcing a turnover on a Sarnia rush, Nick Suzuki turned the puck up ice with Jacob Friend and broke in on a short handed two-on-one rush.
Friend put a perfect saucer pass through the crease and onto Suzuki’s stick for the Vegas Golden Knights’ draft pick’s 41st goal of the year and 3-0 lead. Kevin Hancock also assisted on the play, which took the Attack to the first intermission holding a 3-0 advantage.
That lasted just 2:30 into the 2nd, though, with Sarnia’s Michael Pezzetta wristing his 23rd of the year past a screened Olivier Lafreniere from a weird angle to get the visitors on the board.
However, Owen Sound was quick to respond.
Only 28 seconds after the Sting cut into the Attack lead, Daylon Groulx was able to increase it.
When Maksim Sushko and Aidan Dudas trapped Sarnia behind their own goal, Groulx found himself free in the slot and made no mistake when Dudas centred the puck right onto his stick, giving the Fort Erie native 13 goals on the year and Owen Sound a 4-1 lead.
And the relentless pressure only continued from there.
Just before the midway mark of the 2nd and with Sarnia trapped in their own end, Jackson Doherty was able to get his stick on a Brady Lyle point shot, tipping it into the back of the net for his 6th goal of the year and Owen Sound’s 5th of the evening. Trent Bourque also assisted on the play, which made it a four goal advantage for the home side with 9:29 gone in the middle stanza.
The Attack weren’t done there either.
With less than 3:00 to play in the 2nd, Jacob Friend picked up his 2nd assist of the night by hitting Chase Campbell with a perfect outlet pass that found the former Sarnia Sting draft pick in full stride. Campbell then relayed the puck across the ice to Jackson Doherty, who tipped the puck in on the back door of the Sting goal to make it 6-1 on his 2nd of the night.
The game’s next oal didn’t come until the 2:47 mark of the 3rd when Brayden Guy swatted a bouncing puck past Olivier Lafreniere to make it a 6-2 Attack lead.
And then, less than 2:00 later, Ryan McGregor scored another for Sarnia after a point shot ricocheted off of his shin pads and out into the neutral zone, allowing him to go in on a breakaway and make it a 6-3 game.
That’s when things started to get silly.
After nearly eight minutes of scoreless hockey, Brett McKenzie picked up his 2nd of the night to make it 7-3 at the 12:04 mark on assists by Jonah Gadjovich and Nick Suzuki.
Sarnia came right back though, with Brayden Guy also scoring his 2nd of the game 40 some odd seconds later to bring Sarnia within three once again and make it a 7-4 contest.
But that’s all the scoring the Sting would do on the night, and a pair of Attack goals would bring it to a 9-4 score, closing out the contest.
First, it was Nick Suzuki one-timing home his 2nd of the game and 42nd of the year on a pass from Jonah Gadjovich to eclipse the 100 point plateau, becoming just the 5th player in Attack/Platers’ Franchise history to do so.
Then, with 3:00 left in the contest, Aidan Dudas showed off his slick hands by picking up his 31st of the campaign and closing things out at that 9-4 score.
Nick Suzuki was named the Hatten Home Building Centre Hardest Working Player of the Game while the Jacob Friend, Ethan Szypula, and Brett McKenzie were named the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Stars of the Game in honour of their final regular season Ontario Hockey League games.
The Mark McDade Chestnut Park Shots on Goal finished at 56-24 on the evening for Owen Sound, with Olivier Lafreniere making 20 saves in the win.
The Attack will now prepare for their 2018 Ontario Hockey League Playoffs First Round Matchup against the London Knights, which can begin as early as Thursday, Mar. 22. Currently the Attack sit at 84 points on the season, with London sitting at 82 after their win on Saturday evening.
Because the Knights were victorious on Saturday in Saginaw, a London win on Sunday in Sault Ste. Marie would see the Attack start the post season on the road as London holds the tiebreaker.
A full schedule will be released once it is finalized by the OHL, however fans can still purchase tickets for Home Games 1 and 2 of the 1st round by visiting the Attack Box Office, going to www.attackhockey.com, or by calling 519-371-7452.
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