Two late goals by Eric Uba lifted the Guelph Storm past the London Knights 3-1 at Budweiser Gardens on Tuesday night.
The loss ended a run of 10 consecutive victories by London going back to Jan. 11.
Uba broke a 1-1 tie with 1:05 remaining in regulation time as Cedric Ralph of the Storm settled a puck down in behind the London net and found Uba in front. The Kitchener native batted the puck behind Brett Brochu to give the Storm the lead and then iced the game as he stole a puck outside the blue line and shot it into the empty net with just over 12 seconds left.
London scored the first goal of the game just 56 seconds after the opening faceoff, when Ottawa Senators draft pick Jonathan Gruden banged in a Ryan Merkley rebound at the side of the Storm net on an early power play. The goal gave Merkley 11 assists over a six-game streak.
Storm goalie Nico Daws turned back every shot that came his way after that as he lived up to his number one spots atop the OHL’s goalie statistics. Daws ranks first in both goals against average and save percentage.
“We came out pretty strong and Daws stood in there,” said Knights assistant coach Dylan Hunter. “I think if we had been able to get a couple more by him we would have had a little breathing room. He did what he does best as a good goalie and kept them in the game and they fought their way back.”
Guelph did not record their first shot on goal until the 14:50 mark of the first period but they kept Brochu busy after that and he came up large for the Knights on some big rebound chances by the Storm. In all, Brochu made 34 saves and Daws made 37.
Hunter admitted when a goalie is making stop after stop it makes things tough as a game wears on.
“Naturally you try to stay loose, but you hold your stick a little more and you start looking for dime-sized holes around the goalie,” he said.
“You end up missing the net a lot.”
London went 1-for-3 on the power play but gave up a short-handed goal to Ben McFarlane that tied the game at 7:28 of the third period. The Knights killed off both Guelph opportunities on the man advantage.
It was London’s first loss on home ice in 2020.
“The guys are down a bit right now,” said Hunter. “They want to win every game they are in and they knew we had a chance tonight. Fortunately we have older guys who have been there before and I’m sure they will get the younger guys back ready to go again.”
Next up for London is three games in four days in three different cities beginning with a matchup against the Western Conference leading Kitchener Rangers on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.