The London Knights came very close to a perfect pre-season.
After three consecutive wins, London fell 5-4 to the Erie Otters at the Komoka Wellness Centre on Saturday night.
As they have done all pre-season long, the Knights’ young players continued to show incredibly positive traits. Rookies Emmet Pierce and Antonio Stranges combined for three goals to erase a 3-0 deficit. Stranges ended exhibition play with four goals in three games. The Knights’ other second-round pick in 2018, Sahil Panwar, scored his second goal of the preseason and Dalton Duhart turned in another strong game.
This was the second year in a row that London and Erie played a game in Komoka and once again they played it in front of a sold-out crowd.
How the goals were scored
The Otters scored three goals in a span of 4:10 in the first period to jump ahead 3-0. Danial Singer, who Erie obtained in a trade with the Niagara IceDogs, opened the scoring on a backhand. Veteran and probable Otters captain Kyle Maksimovich and 2018 fourth overall pick Jamie Drysdale followed, putting the Knights in a bit of a hole.
They began to climb out at 15:58 when Emmet Pierce banged a puck out of the air and into the Erie net on a London power play.
Stranges followed that up with his third goal of the preseason on a hard wrist shot at 18:40, cutting the Otters’ lead to 3-2 at the end of the first period. Stranges tied the game just over two minutes into the second period as he spun and backhanded the puck past 18-year old rookie goaltender Noah Battaglia.
Things stayed that way until an Erie man advantage late in the second period. Emmett Sproule deflected a Jack Duff shot past Justin Richer in the London net to put Erie ahead by a goal heading into the third.
Joseph Mack scored the eventual game-winner at 10:25, but the Knights fought back one more time.
Matthew Timms blasted a puck that went wide of the Otters net, but London rookie Sahil Panwar controlled the ricochet and put it into the net to make it 5-4.
The Knights pulled goaltender Richer will just under two minutes to go, but could not manage to get the equalizer.
Season ticket holder appreciation
Knights season ticket holders are invited to Budweiser Gardens from 1-4 on Sunday, September 16 for an appreciation day which will feature a skate with the team and all kinds of other games and activities. Season ticket holders are asked to enter through Gate 1