The London Knights returned from their holiday break and picked up right where they left off with a 5-3 victory over the Oshawa Generals on Wednesday at Budweiser Gardens.
The Generals didn’t make it easy on London, jumping out to a 2-0 lead and getting momentum going in their direction after a second goal. They put heat on London goalie, Tyler Johnson, looking for a third, but he made two big saves and opened the door to the unexpected.
Knights’ defenceman, Nic Mattinen, who doesn’t find himself involved in the offense very often, chased down a loose puck in centre and got behind the Oshawa defense. He went strong to the net and although his shot was stopped by Generals’ goalie, Jeremy Brodeur, Alex Formenton came crashing in after the rebound and banged home his 9th of the season to get the Knights on the scoreboard and cut Oshawa’s lead in half.
Cliff Pu hit 50 points on the year as he unleashed his rarely used slap shot and beat Brodeur from the right side to tie the game at 15:07 of the second period and then just under three minutes later, Sam Miletic crashed the net and knocked in a Victor Mete rebound to put London ahead.
Oshawa had built their two-goal lead and pushed momentum their way on goals by Londoner Mitch Vande Sompel and leading scorer, Domenic Commisso. Seconds after the Generals had killed off a London power play in the first period, Vande Sompel batted a puck out of the air inside the blue line and in one motion, fired it at the Knight net and in. The goal was Vande Sompel’s team leading 15th for Oshawa.
That goal stood until the 7:30 mark of the second when Commisso took a feed from Kenny Huether and scored his 10th of the year.
In the third period, Oshawa tied the game on a power play on a booming shot by Medric Mercier.
London went to the man advantage after that and got what would be the game winner from Evan Bouchard whose one-timer was set up by Cliff Pu and found its way through a screen and past Brodeur at 11:32.
With the Generals’ net empty and time ticking away in the final minute, the Knights won a faceoff in their own end and Brandon Crawley hit the goal post from about 195-feet. Cliff Pu skated up ice past everyone and put the puck in to seal London’s fourth win in their past five games.
The victory allowed London to catch and pass the Erie Otters who lost 5-3 in Hamilton. The Soo Greyhounds remain one point up on the Knights for first overall. They blanked the Firebirds 5-0 in Flint.
The Knights will play their annual home and home with the Sarnia Sting beginning on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens. Both teams will be off on New Year’s Eve and will then meet in Sarnia on New Year’s Day at 2 PM.