The Guelph Storm became the first team to pull off a third-period comeback against the London Knights as they won 7-5 at Budweiser Gardens on Tuesday night.
Guelph also became just the second team to beat London in regulation time since October 19.
With the Knights ahead 3-2 through 40 minutes and the Storm playing with only 16 skaters, they managed to put five pucks into the London net to win their second game against the Knights this season.
The other two both went beyond regulation as the Storm won in overtime in October and London won in a shootout in November.
The teams will meet three more times this season.
“We had chances, they had chances,” said Knights forward Paul Cotter. “They were a little hungrier. The rest of the weekend is going to be tough and we have to realize how important these games are and bear down a bit more.”
Cotter had two assists for London in the game.
“I think we have a bit of a target on our back with the number of games we have won and the organization as a whole. We have to live up to those expectations.” continued Cotter.
London will play three games in less than 48 hours this weekend, seeing the likes of the Saginaw Spirit, the OHL’s hottest team, and the Ottawa 67s, the league’s top team. The Knights will finish with an afternoon trip to Kitchener on Sunday.
How the goals were scored
Domenic Commisso started the scoring on a first period power play as he converted on a 2-on-1 feed from Cedric Ralph. That gave Guelph a 1-0 lead.
The Knights tied the game on a power play goal of their own as Will Lochead put a shot past Anthony Popovich for his fifth goal of the season on a nice set-up by Kevin Hancock.
Guelph jumped ahead 2-1 early in the second period as Cedric Ralph grabbed a loose puck in the London end and snapped it past Joseph Raaymakers.
Again the Knights tied the game as Jacob Golden found Cole Tymkin in front with a nifty backhand feed and things sat 2-2.
Adam Boqvist gave London their first lead with 1:04 remaining in the second period as his pass in front hit a skate and deflected into the Guelph net.
London had a perfect 18-0-0-0 record when leading after two periods, but two goals by Isaac Ratcliffe and Ty Collins of Guelph in a 46-second span inside the first two minutes sent that mark teetering.
Guelph made it 5-3 and then 6-3 as Ratcliffe recorded his 25th goal of the year and Nate Schnarr got his first of two on the night.
Paul Cotter’s second assist of the game came on Nathan Dunkley’s 18th goal of the season to get London to within two, but an empty-netter by Schnarr sealed it.
Sahil Panwar added a short-handed goal for the Knights in the final minute to close out the scoring.
The inaugural members of the Don Brankley London Knights Hall of Fame were enshrined on Tuesday at Budweiser Gardens. Plaques honouring Walt McKechnie, Dennis Maruk, Dave Lowry, Tim Taylor, Chris Taylor and Rob Schremp were unveiled. The London Knights Alumni Foundation will join with a committee to select a player for each year representing the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, who will be elected to the Hall bearing the name of Don Brankley. Brankley served as the London Knights trainer from 1970 until he retired in 2008.
The Knights schedule only seems to get tougher. They will host the Saginaw Spirit on Friday night at 7:30pm at Budweiser Gardens. Saginaw is 10-0-1 in the past 11 games and coming off a shutout of Sudbury that saw Spirit goalie Ivan Prosvetov make 54 saves. Saginaw has added Londoner Justin Murray and Mississauga forwards Owen Tippett and Ryan McLeod in trades and also boasts OHL rookies Bode Wilde and Cole Perfetti, who have had excellent seasons so far.
After that, London welcomes the top team in the Ontario Hockey League standings, the Ottawa 67’s. The Knights made it to within 0.3 seconds of a shootout in Ottawa in October, before 67s forward Austen Keating scored to win the game in overtime. Ottawa will reunite London with Michael DiPietro, who is now a member of the 67’s.