Jordan Sambrook scored the overtime winner as the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds edged the London Knights 5-4 on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.
The game had enough excitement to leave fans hoping that these two teams, who sit 1st-2nd in the Western Conference, might wind up in a best-of-seven series sometime in the spring.
London led early and the Greyhounds battled back. Then Sault Ste. Marie led late and the Knights battled back.
Kevin Hancock, who was acquired by London earlier in the day, had a goal and an assist in his debut and was a big part of London being able to earn a point as he scored to tie the game 3-3 in the third period and then set up Alec Regula to knot the game 4-4 and send it to OT.
The win by Sault Ste. Marie tightened the gap between the teams in the standings to four points, but London does have two games in hand.
Pushing the game to overtime meant that the Knights have just one regulation loss in their last 27 games, dating back to October 19.
London outshot the Greyhounds in the game 38-29.
London will be home to the Guelph Storm on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7:00 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. The Knights will induct Walt McKechnie, Dennis Maruk, Dave Lowry, Tim Taylor, Chris Taylor and Rob Schremp into the Don Brankley London Knights Hall of Fame that night. Fans are asked to be in their seats at little before 7 p.m. to see the ceremony.
How the goals were scored
Nathan Dunkley put the London Knights ahead 1-0 at 12:29 of the opening period as he scored his third consecutive goal for the Knights. Dunkley netted the game-tying goal and the overtime winner in Niagara on Thursday night.
Sault Ste. Marie got that back with 5.8 seconds left in the first period when Jacob LeGuerrier backhanded a rebound into the Knights net after the puck had gone off the mask of London goalie Jordan Kooy and the game sat tied 1-1 through 20 minutes.
Matvey Guskov scored his second goal in his second game since returning from injury just 2:01 into the second period to give London a 2-1 lead.
It lasted one second shy of ten minutes before Cole Mackay scored on a power play. The Knights had killed off a 5-on-3 advantage for Sault Ste. Marie, but Mackay managed to pop a puck into the London net before the second penalty had ended.
Tye Kartye came off the bench and ripped a shot past Kooy with 1:50 to go in the second period to lift the Greyhounds in front 3-2 headed into the third.
The Knights tied the game on Kevin Hancock’s first goal in a London uniform at 3:42 of period three.
Sault Ste. Marie jumped in front 4-3 courtesy of Ryan Roth at the midway mark of the period but the Knights came back again. Hancock set up Alec Regula and his shot squeezed through the pads of Matthew Vilalta to send the game to overtime.
Former Erie Otter Jordan Sambrook won it on a wrist shot with 2:35 remaining in OT.
Hall of Fame inductions
The Knights will induct six former players into the Don Brankley London Knights Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Jan. 8, and then face the Guelph Storm. Walt McKechnie, Dennis Maruk, Chris Taylor, Tim Taylor and Rob Schremp are all expected to be in attendance as there are honoured by the Knights. Dave Lowry will also be inducted, but he is an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings and will be unable to attend. The ceremony will begin just before 7:00 p.m. Fans are asked to be in their seats early that night.
Hancock a Knight
He made life tough on them in the post-season last March. Now the Knights have Kevin Hancock on their team. London acquired Hancock from the Owen Sound Attack on Friday morning in exchange for defenceman Andrew Perrott and a 3rd round pick in 2019. Hancock had six points in four playoff games against the Knights last year. He is having an incredible season to this point with 31 goals and 31 assists in 37 games. That had him ranked third in league scoring coming into London.
Timms traded to Barrie
When the Knights acquired Hancock, they found themselves with four overage players including goalie Joseph Raaymakers and defencemen Will Lochead and Matthew Timms. London remedied that by sending Timms to the Barrie Colts for a conditional 15th round pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. The Knights acquired Timms from the Peterborough Petes earlier in the year. Timms had one goal and 24 points in 35 games in London.
The Knights meet up with the Guelph Storm on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. Guelph had been hot following the trade of Ryan Merkley to Peterborough and the acquisition of Pavel Gogolev from the Petes. The Storm had reeled off five straight wins, but they have run into injury issues. Gogolev has a fractured ankle and forward Cam Hillis and defenceman Jack Hanley are both out for extended periods of time.