Zach Springer stopped every shot he faced in the London Knight net as London blanked the Erie Otters 5-0 at Budweiser Gardens on Friday night.

With Joseph Raaymakers away at training camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Jordan Kooy receiving treatment for an injury that he suffered while at rookie camp with the Vegas Golden Knights, Springer was next man up for London and did everything he was asked to do.

 “Playing at Budweiser Gardens, there is such a storied history here with this organization, it was really great to be able to have this opportunity,” Springer explained after the game.

The Kingston native spent last season with the London Nationals, backing up with the Knights on a couple of occasions, but against the Otters he had centre stage.

Springer faced 16 shots in total and will have one of them etched in his memory for a long time. With London up by five goals late in the third period, Erie went to the power play and worked the puck around well. With less than 10 seconds left on the clock, Springer was forced to make a reflex save on a shot from the slot.

“It was a broken play so it was a bit awkward. The puck came to one of their sticks in the slot and I went down into the butterfly and luckily it stayed out.”

The 20-year old plans to play this season with the Nationals and is hoping to extend his stay in the city of London after that.

“I’m a full-time student at Western right now, so we’ll see if I could potentially join [the Mustangs] next year.”

How the goals were scored

The Erie Otters came very close to opening the scoring early in the first when a steal at the side of the net resulted in the ringing of a crossbar and a goal post within a three-second span, but the puck stayed out of the London goal and the game sat scoreless at the end of the opening 20 minutes.

Like they did in their second pre-season game, the Knights used the second period to rev up their offense. Cole Tymkin dumped a puck into Erie territory and then raced through two defenders to puck up a ricochet off the end boards. The Rainy River native swooped in front, deked and scored to make it 1-0 Knights at the 3:28 mark.

Later in the period, Matvey Guskov and Dalton Duhart combined to set up Liam Whittaker who walked in from the left point and snapped a shot past Daniel Murphy in the Erie net and the Knights led by two.

Exactly one minute later, Josh Nelson put the Knights ahead by three as he found a puck in a scrum and banged it into the Otters’ net.

In the third period, Tonio Stranges intercepted a pass inside the Erie blue line, raced in and scored his second goal of the pre-season to put London up 4-0.

Nelson finished the scoring with his second goal of the night at 10:08 from Tymkin and Sahil Panwar.

Dalton Duhart had two assists for the Knights, giving him three points in three pre-season games.

New 50/50

The 50/50 draw at London Knights games will look a little different beginning with the final pre-season game against Erie. Fans can look for sellers in yellow on the concourse and purchase their tickets from them. An electronic tally will be displayed throughout the game and the hope is that the money raised for organizations and charities running the 50/50 will grow. The electronic system has been in use for several years at other venues and events and has proven to be very successful.

The return of Moskal and Kooy

Ten members of the Knights attended NHL training camps this year. Eight of them are still with those NHL teams and two have returned. Billy Moskal is back from Columbus and Jorday Kooy suffered a minor injury while at Rookie camp with the Vegas Golden Knights and he is being treated in London.

The players still away with NHL clubs are: Evan Bouchard (Edmonton), Liam Foudy (Columbus), Joseph Raaymakers (Columbus), Adam Boqvist (Chicago), Jacob Golden (Minnesota), Alec Regula (Detroit), Nathan Dunkley (L.A. Kings), Alex Formenton (Ottawa).

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