Londoner Ethan Szypula scored the shootout winner for the Owen Sound Attack as they ended the London Knights’ winning streak at six games.
Szypula’s goal came seconds after Janne Kuokkanen of the Knights had beaten Owen Sound goalie, Michael McNiven over the blocker to send the shootout to a sudden death fourth round.
McNiven and London goalie, Tyler Parsons combined for 76 saves. More than a half-dozen were groin-stretchingly huge and gave notice to anyone charged with assembling the World Junior camp rosters for Team Canada or Team USA that these two are in the conversation for their respective countries. Parsons is from Chesterfield, Michigan. McNiven hails from Georgetown, Ontario. The Attack are carrying a third goalie, seemingly in anticipation of something like that happening when camps open in early-to-mid December.
McNiven had to be especially huge in overtime as Max Jones drew a penalty in the first minute on a speedy rush with regular linemate, Cliff Pu. London outshot the Attack 5-0 in OT and Alex Formenton rang two shots of the post.
Pu, Jones and Janne Kuokkanen saw their point streaks stopped. Pu was at a league second-best 17 games. Jones and Kuokkanen had at least a point in 12 consecutive games. It was the first time this season that Jones had been held completely off the scoresheet.
London assistant coach, Dylan Hunter looked at the fact that Knights created good chances in their 41 shots, but only came away with one goal.
“We have a pretty good rivalry going with Owen Sound. It was just one of those games that got into some back and forth, run and gun hockey and left us with some things that we have to clean up.”
Hunter said that the team knows this style of game can be dangerous when playoffs roll around.
“We got a little loose, with guys jumping up on odd man rushes. That can lead to odd man rushes the other way and puts a lot of pressure on (Tyler) Parsons.”
The shots in the first period were a deceptive 17-14 for the Attack. Deceptive because the actual number of scoring chances fell way short of those numbers. From there, the good chances grew.
Owen Sound scored first, cashing in on a 2-man advantage as former London Jr. Knight, Nick Suzuki wristed home a rebound from the left side of the London net just under five minutes into the game.
Robby Thomas got that back at the 11:20 mark of the first. Olli Juolevi and Evan Bouchard combined to break up an Attack rush just inside the blue line and Juolevi quickly got the puck into centre ice where it was tipped ahead to Thomas by Sam Miletic and Thomas did the rest, cutting to the Owen Sound net and beating McNiven to the glove side.
The goalies took over the game from there. Parsons went into the splits to stop a Szypula-led rush in the third period for one of his biggest saves of the game.
McNiven made his best saves late as well, both with his glove, robbing J.J. Piccinich on a shot from the top of the left circle and Thomas in tight.
The Knights will be home to the Barrie Colts on Friday at 7:30. Cole Tymkin will be eligible to return to the London lineup. For tickets, call 519-681-0800 x 1, visit the Knights’ Armouries or go on-line to www.londonknights.com
Photo Credit (Claus Anderson/Getty Images)