Erie Otters veteran Jake Marchant could only smile in disbelief when his shot from a near impossible angle eluded Sting goaltender Justin Fazio for what proved to be the game winner in the Otters 5-4 win over Sarnia before 2,914 fans on Friday night at the recently renamed Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Centre.
The league and home opener for the Sting was a rematch of a hotly contested first round playoff series last season, won by Erie in five games.
Marchant threw the puck toward the Sarnia goal for deep on the left wing almost parellel to the icing line on the powerplay at 6:06 of the third period to give the visitors a 5-2 lead at the time.
The Sting battled back with goals from Hayden Hodgson and Alex Renaud, but that's as close as they would come.
Hodgson, who also had an assist, led Sarnia with eight shots on goal, followed by Jakob Chyrchun with seven.
Newly named captain Daniel Nikandrov and Chychrun also scored for Derian Hatcher's crew.
Devin Williams made 35 saves as Sarnia ousthot the Otters, 39-27 on the night, including a 19-9 advantage in the third period. He was named first star of the game for his solid performance.
Sarnia is back in action on Sunday afternoon when the Kingston Frontenacs provide the opposition at 2:05 pm.
It is the first of four straight games against Eastern Conference opponents as the Sting go on the road to Barrie, North Bay and Sudbury next Thursday, Friday and Sunday respectively.