Sting Enjoy Successful Season, But Not Successful Enough

By Brad Coccimiglio

The Sarnia Sting had modestly high hopes for the 1999-2000 OHL season. They had lost quite a bit after the 1998-99 season as they lost 2-time league scoring champion Peter Sarno as well as 40-goal scorer Ivan Novoseltsev.

Things were looking good for the Sting early in the year as they sat 3rd in the 5-team West Division behind the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds and the Windsor Spitfires. The Sting remained consistent throughout the season and finished the season 3rd in the West Division and 4th in the Western Conference.

Going into the playoffs the Sting felt that they had a shot at going a fairly long way in the playoffs. Sting overager Mike Van Ryn told me before the playoffs, “I think we have the makings of going a fairly long way in the playoffs.” With the team that they had I can’t say that I disagree with him considering what they had lost coming into the season.

In goal the Sting boasted two strong goaltenders in overager Greg Hewitt and rookie Andrew Sim. Both were consistently good throughout the season. Sim posted the best Goals against average of any rookie goaltender with a 2.93 GAA.

On defense the Sting boasted the likes of overagers Dan Watson, a former league All-Star, former Canadian World Junior Team captain Mike Van Ryn and veteran Ryan VanBuskirk. All three of them provided the Sting with veteran experience on a fairly young team.

Van Ryn came to the Sting after playing two seasons with the University of Michigan (CCHA). He was immediately named Team Captain. He was a great leader on a fairly young team.

Up front the Sting were fairly solid, although not as solid as year’s past, with the likes of Eric Himelfarb, Jeff Hereema and Maxim Rybin. There wasn’t a whole lot of goal-scoring talent on this team like other years. A lot of the Stings goals came through plain old hard work.

Speaking of scoring, here is a look at the Sting’s scoring stats for the 1999-2000 season:

No. Name GP G A PTS +/- PIM

26 Heerema, Jeff 67 36 41 77 11 62
39 Rybin, Maxim 66 29 27 56 6 47
45 Buturlin, Alexander 57 20 27 47 0 46
19 Himelfarb, Eric 62 14 33 47 3 26
4 Van Ryn, Mike 61 6 35 41 -2 34
17 Newbury, Kris 61 12 26 38 21 116
22 Palahnuk, Robb 55 16 16 32 5 65
44 Jamieson, Dusty 50 15 17 32 -2 15
7 Hare, Ryan 68 12 20 32 -1 28
2 VanBuskirk, Ryan 45 8 20 28 -2 62
24 Burnham, Andy 57 11 11 22 3 148
12 Johnson, Jamie 61 6 14 20 -1 24
11 Berti, Chris 62 8 11 19 4 131
6 Watson, Dan 68 1 15 16 19 40
5 Paddon, Kelly 59 6 9 15 21 52
3 Heffernan, Scott 55 5 10 15 8 24
27 Lettieri, Sal 52 2 10 12 -14 38
15 Coleman, Tyler 59 4 5 9 -7 24
23 Chaisson, Luc 36 3 6 9 -2 14
81 Brekelmans, Corey 65 3 4 7 -7 42
14 Penner, Jason 56 1 4 5 -5 33
34 Hewitt, Greg 52 0 4 4 0 2
17 Albers, Travis 11 1 2 3 0 18
25 Chapman, Ryan 7 1 0 1 0 2
17 Kennedy, Steve 5 0 0 0 0 0
27 Sinasac, Tim 5 0 0 0 0 20
41 Sim, Andrew 22 0 0 0 0 4

The Sting goaltending kept the team in a lot of games. Here is a look at the goaltending numbers:


Name GPI MINS GA EN SO Avg W L T SV%

Greg Hewitt 52 3062 129 4 3 2.53 24 20 7 .917
Andrew Sim 22 1064 52 4 0 2.93 9 7 1 .908

Overall the Sting season could be considered a success. After losing Peter Sarno and Ivan Novoseltsev, as well as Peter Cava and Matt Price, the team was expected to be in a rebuilding phase but they managed to remain competitive. This team should be competitive for the next season or two as they were a fairly young team this year. The Sting fans should be proud of the way that the team performed this year.