Victor Mete scored with 39.4 seconds to go to give the London Knights a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Kitchener Rangers at Budweiser Gardens on Thursday night.
The goal marked the first time that the Knights led in the game as they had to battle back from a 3-0 deficit and find ways to tie things twice in order to win.
Jeremy Bracco got Kitchener on the board in the first period as the Maple Leafs’ prospect slapped a puck past Tyler Johnson for his seventh goal of the year.
Johnson started in place of Tyler Parsons, who did not dress for the Knights and is listed as being out day-to-day with a lower body injury.
The Rangers got the bounce of the game in the second period to increase their lead as Joseph Garreffa’s backhand centering pass hit a stick and crept across the goal line.
Exactly one minute later, Kitchener rookie Dylan Seitz snapped home his third goal of the season to make it 3-0 for the Rangers.
The Knights turned the momentum meter back in their direction before the end of the second period, scoring twice in a span of 1:09. London moved the puck around the Kitchener zone and had the Rangers’ defenders moving, which opened up a seam for Max Jones. He found Cliff Pu at the side of the net and Pu knocked in his fifth goal of the year to make it 3-1.
On the very next shift, more puck movement opened some room on the left side of the Rangers’ end and J.J. Piccinich took it. The Paramus, New Jersey native carried the puck back toward the blue line, turned and wristed it through a crowd to make it 3-2 through 40 minutes.
London killed a Kitchener power play to start the third and then went to their first man advantage of the game, which became a 5-on-3 and the Knights used that to tie things up. Max Jones took a shot from the right point that went off Piccinich and it was 3-3.
Doug Blaisdell blasted Kitchener back in front at 9:44 on a shot that zoomed through a crowd in front of the Knight net and it was 4-3 for the Rangers.
Robby Thomas made use of some extra ice in a 4 on 4 situation just over three minutes later as he skated into the Kitchener end along the right side, fought through a check in front and just when it seemed like he had gone too far to get a shot off, he fired one through Dawson Carty and in to tie the game a second time.
Time began to tick down and the teams seemed to be headed to overtime, when the Knights got the puck deep into Ranger territory. Thomas reeled it in behind the goal line and centred a pass into the slot that went past its intended receiver and back to Victor Mete. The Canadiens draft pick moved to his left and lasered a shot into the top right corner of the Kitchener net to put London ahead for the first time in the game.
The Knights held on front there and earned their fifth victory of the season.
Mete and Thomas each had a goal and two assists. Jones ended the game with three assists and is still averaging better than a point per game. Brandon Crawley chipped in two assists as well.
Alex Turko made his OHL debut for the Knights after signing with the team earlier in the week. Turko was an eighth round pick London’s in 2015.
The Knights are right back at it on Friday night at home to the Saginaw Spirit. Game time is 7:30. Broadcast time on AM 980 and at player.am980.ca