Highly touted Voit can't wait to get started with Sting

Ty Voit knows how badly some fans wanted to see him in a Sarnia Sting uniform.

Sarnia Sting's Ty Voit (48) plays against the Soo Greyhounds in the third period of an OHL pre-season game at Chatham Memorial Arena in Chatham, Ont., on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. Mark Malone/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network

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CHATHAM – Ty Voit knows how badly some fans wanted to see him in a Sarnia Sting uniform.

The rookie forward has read the comments on message boards and social media raving about his offensive skills.

He appreciates the enthusiasm.

“I’ve had a couple of teammates show me all that stuff,” he said with a laugh. “It’s just a great atmosphere to be in. That’s great to be around all that and I can’t wait to get started here.”

Voit, 16, made his pre-season debut Thursday in a 5-2 loss before 1,710 fans at Chatham Memorial Arena.

“It was definitely a great experience,” he said. “The boys came out strong at the start, but we just couldn’t come out victorious today. We’ll have a game tomorrow and we’ll try to bring all the energy back.”

The Sting (1-2-0-0) will end the pre-season with a home-and-home series against the Spitfires. They’ll face off at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Progressive Auto Sales Arena and Sunday at Windsor’s WFCU Centre.

The five-foot-eight, 140-pound Voit was a fifth-round pick in the Ontario Hockey League draft in April. He signed last week after attending the Sting’s training camp but sitting out their first two pre-season games.

“I went home to talk to my family (after camp), then came back up to make the final decision,” said the Pittsburgh-area native.

Voit was a first-round pick in the United States Hockey League draft by the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. He would have kept his NCAA eligibility by playing in the USHL, but he opted for the OHL.

“I just thought this was the best route for me,” he said. “It’s a great group of guys here. It’s really a great organization to be at.”

Voit was held off the scoresheet in Thursday’s loss.

“I thought at times he looked good,” Sting head coach Derian Hatcher said. “I thought at times the game looked fast for him. There was some good and there was definitely some things we’ll be working on.”

Voit agreed the game’s pace was new for him.

“It’s definitely a big adjustment coming in my first game,” he said. “I’m just here to help any way I can. We’ll see how the season goes.”

Voit had 32 goals and 32 assists in 62 games last season for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 15U team.

Sting general manager Nick Sinclair has praised his elite offensive skills.

“I see myself definitely bringing a big offensive core,” Voit said. “I think that’s how I can help the team, putting pucks in the net and making plays. That’s what I hope to bring here.”

Asked to describe his game, he said, “(I’m) more of a playmaker, I’d say. Scoring is just a little bonus with it.”

Sting score on penalty shots

Marek Berka and Jacob Perreault scored the Sting’s goals on penalty shots in the second and third period, respectively.

Cameron Lamour made 21 saves.

“We came out with energy right away,” Hatcher said. “I think we took three penalties in a row and it pretty much killed anything we could get going.

“I thought that was the case throughout the game. Every time we kind of got going, we took a few penalties to take us out of the rhythm.”

Jaden Peca scored twice for the Greyhounds, who led 2-0 after one period and 3-1 after two. Marc Boudreau, Jaromir Pytlik and Tye Kartye also tallied.

Playing the game in Chatham was the Sting front office’s idea.

“We were looking to play (at) a neutral site, and this came up,” Hatcher said. “It was our peoples’ idea. Dave (Legwand, the Sting’s co-owner and associate coach) and I were, ‘Yeah, that sounds great.’

“To be honest, it’s a lot of fun. I like playing in these smaller rinks.”

Forward Jamieson Rees (Carolina) and defenceman Eric Hjorth (Columbus) remain at NHL camps.

Forward Brayden Guy played Thursday after attending Columbus’s rookie camp, while forwards Ryan McGregor (Columbus), Sean Josling (Chicago) and Sam Bitten (Minnesota) sat out after returning from camps.

“You won’t see Ryan (in Friday’s game),” Hatcher said. “He’s a little bit banged up, so he’s out right now, but you’ll see Sean (and) Bitten will be back in the lineup.”