Evan Bouchard broke a 2-2 tie with less than five minutes to go in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and lift the London Knights to a 4-2 victory on Saturday night.
Bouchard’s wrist shot from the right point found its way into the Sting net for his first of the season at 15:53 of the third. The play was reviewed for several minutes, but the goal counted and the Knights held on the rest of the way to pick up at least a point for the twelfth time in their last thirteen games. Ten of those have been wins.
While Bouchard was chalking up goal number one, Cliff Pu was scoring his 20th and 21st of the year in his 17th multi-point game for London.
The teams set a physical tone in a scoreless first period that saw Knights’ goalie, Tyler Parsons and Sarnia’s Justin Fazio make some excellent saves. Parsons’ biggest game against Jaden Lindo, who was just returning to the Sting lineup after missing time with a shoulder injury.
Owen MacDonald opened the scoring early in the second period. For all of the excellent offensive chances the Knights created in the first period, MacDonald’s goal came because he simply went to the net, looking for a rebound and found it, getting enough of the puck with a backhand swipe to put it in for a 1-0 London lead.
Sarnia tied the game less than four and half minutes later as Jordan Kyrou poke-checked a puck away in centre ice and flipped a pass ahead to Anthony Salinitri, who snapped a shot past Parsons to make it 1-1.
For the second night in a row, a London Knight hit the 20-goal mark. Pu glided into the slot as Janne Kuokkanen swung a pass to him and he wristed a high shot over Fazio to put the Knights ahead for the second time in the game.
London’s penalty killers were tested late in the second and on into period three as Knights’ forward Adrian Carbonara was given a match penalty for slew-footing.
The Knights were seconds away from killing off the major penalty, but a clearing attempt by Parsons took a weird hop off the boards and bounced right to Troy Lajeunesse and he got a shot away as Parsons did his best to square himself in the London net. Parsons got a piece of the puck, but it fluttered in to tie the game 2-2 at the 2:56 mark of the third period. It was the lone power play goal of the night. Each team had four chances with the man advantage.
Bouchard made great use of his shot all game in the absence of Victor Mete, who is off to Team Canada’s World Junior selection camp. Bouchard rung a slap shot off the crossbar in the first period on a Knights’ power play, but it was the wrist shot that went in for the game winner.
Pu added his second of the night into an empty netter as the buzzer sounded.
London was without Max Jones, who has been out since November 25th with an arm injury that he suffered after blocking a Mete shot from the blue line.
The Knights‘ weekend isn’t over. They return home to play the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday at 6 o’clock. Don’t forget to be a fan and bring a can for the London Business Cares Food Drive. AM’s 980’s coverage begins at 5:30.