Anthony Stolarz is enjoying an excellent start to his Ontario Hockey League career. But, it’s clear he’d like Thursday night’s performance back.
The netminder allowed a pair of third period goals, and another 33 seconds into extra time, as the London Knights were defeated by the Sarnia Sting, 4-3, before 8,924 at Budweiser Gardens.
It was Stolarz’s first loss in five starts since signing an OHL contract in early January. He came into the game with a .937 save percentage, but left with a reading of .922.
“As a goalie, you want to stay mentally focused,” said Stolarz, who faced just 13 shots in the first 40 minutes, and 21 overall. “And tonight, I wasn’t all there.”
Sarnia handed London an overtime loss for the second time this season. On both occasions, the Sting were trailing to start the final frame.
The Knights are now 26-0-2-0 when leading after 40 minutes; Sarnia is the only team to beat them. “It’s going to definitely sting a little bit, not getting two points,” Stolarz added.
The Sting have managed to pull these comebacks off in large part due to the incredible play of rookie forward Nikolay Goldobin. The 2013 NHL draft eligible prospect has recorded a combined five goals and two assists in the outings.
Goldobin’s behind-the-back helper on Charles Sarault’s goal, Sarnia’s second of the night, was highlight reel material.
“I don’t know what (Russian import Goldobin) is used to playing in front of at home, but London’s the big-time,” said Sting defenceman Anthony DeAngelo. “It’s awesome for him to step up here.”
DeAngelo, a smooth-skating puck-mover from New Jersey, sniped the winner. It snapped the home team’s three-game victory streak.
“(DeAngelo) went out — I think it was a drop pass — and I just tried to challenge as best I could. Then, he made a nice shot over my blocker,” said Stolarz, recalling the clincher.
London’s top line of Alex Broadhurst, Seth Griffith, and Max Domi, produced two of the squad’s goals. Together, they have amassed 78 markers, which amounts to 36 per cent of the Knights total goals this year.
The Knights play at the Gardens again on Friday, welcoming the Owen Sound Attack for the middle contest of a three-game weekend. On Sunday, they will travel to Kitchener to battle the Rangers.
At: Budweiser Gardens, 7:30 p.m.
Versus: Owen Sound Attack
The hot hand: Daniel Catenacci (28 goals, 34 assists)
At: Memorial Auditorium Complex, 2 p.m.
Versus: Kitchener Rangers
The hot hand: Josh Leivo (23 goals, 36 assists)