Brett Brochu and Luke Evangelista helped the London Knights head into a Happy New Year with a 4-2 victory over the Sarnia Sting on Tuesday afternoon at Budweiser Gardens.
Evangelista scored two goals, including the game-winner, and Brochu made 29 saves for his 12th victory of the season as London swept the annual New Year’s home-and-home matchup between the teams for the tenth time in 18 tries.
The Knights hold an all-time record of 26-6-3-1 in the two-game series that often ends one calendar year and begins the next.
The two teams went scoreless through 20 minutes on Tuesday thanks to some acrobatic work from Brochu and his goaltending partner, Ethan Langevin of Sarnia, at the other end of the ice. The two combined to make 31 first-period saves.
Sean McGurn broke the 0-0 tie just over four minutes into the second period with his first-ever OHL goal as he fired it past Langevin from the right of the Sting net.
Billy Moskal’s third goal in three games made it 2-0 London with 49.5 seconds remaining in the middle period as he banged in a rebound in front.
Sarnia closed the gap to a goal when Sean Josling scored at 5:05 of the third period and then pressed for an equalizer.
That’s when Evangelista stepped up and patiently corralled a Nathan Dunkley rebound off Langevin’s pad, sliding it by him to give the Knights a 3-1 advantage with just under five minutes remaining in regulation time.
Justin Nolet cut the lead to 3-2 with one minute and two seconds to go, but Evangelista took a pass from Alec Regula and from the left corner of his own zone, he sent a shot the length of the ice and into the Sarnia net to ice the win at 19:15.
London outshot the Sting 43-31 and neither team connected on the man advantage. The Knights were 0-for-6. Sarnia was 0-for 2.
London played the game without defenceman Kirill Steklov, who was injured on Sunday in Sarnia. He is listed as out week-to-week with a lower body injury.