London Knights Edged out Sarnia Sting
By DAVE BORODY
The London Knights built up a 5-1 second period lead and then hung on to edge the Sarnia Sting 5-3, Thursday night in front of 3,792 fans at the RBC Centre.
The loss was Sarnia’s fourth in a row dropping their overall record to 12-10-0-2 in the Ontario Hockey League. London meanwhile won their ninth game in a row.
The Knights jumped out to a 3-1 advantage after 20 minutes before taking a four-goal bulge with a pair of goals early in period two, one coming shorthanded. To their credit, Sarnia kept battling. They cut the lead to 5-2 after 40 minutes and scored early in third period to pull to within two goals. But the Sting could not get any closer, thanks mostly due to four key saves by Knights goalie Jake Patterson late in the game.
“The first period I thought the teams were feeling each other out,” said Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu. “They got a couple of breaks before the period ended and that hurt us. We dominated the third period and that’s the way we have to play for 60 minutes to win games.”
What didn’t the coach like in the first and second periods?
“We weren’t pressuring the puck. That’s our game. We didn’t do that in Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday night. It’s something we need to do to be successful.”
Beaulieu says London is a good team.
“The have four lines with a good defence and the kid played well in goal for them tonight. They know how to win. It’s an easy transition for them from last year to this year.”
After Alex Broadhurst opened the scoring for London on a power play at 2:41, Sarnia tied the game two minutes later when Reid Boucher one-timed a cross-ice pass from Alex Galchenyuk. Jack Kuzmyk also assisted on Boucher’s 14th goal of the year.
Josh Anderson of the Knights took over after that. He knocked in a goalmouth pass at 15:15 and then he split the Sting defence and lifted a backhand past J.P. Anderson at 19:02.
London kept coming early in the second frame with a pair of goals. Brett Welychka scored at 1:31 from close range while Seth Griffith finished off a two-on-one break at 5:34 with the Knights shorthanded.
Galchenyuk scored Sarnia’s second goal at 19:59 of period two when he snapped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Patterson for his 14th of the season. Alex Basso and Charlie Sarault drew assists.
Nikolay Goldobin of the Sting trimmed the lead to 5-3 at 1:40 of period three with his 10th of the year. He wristed a shot into the top corner from point blank range. Basso notched his second assist of the game.
Despite getting just four shots on goal in the third period, London held on for the victory.
“London came in and played hard,” said Galchenyuk, who was back in the Sting lineup after missing Sunday’s game with the flu. “We have to start better next time. Why we didn’t play better early in the game, I can’t answer."
He added, “We played unbelievable in the third period. We just have to keep working, play shift to shift and make good, simple plays.”
J. P. Anderson started in goal for Sarnia and was lifted after London’s fifth goal. He allowed five goals on 17 shots. Brodie Barrick finished and stopped all eight shots he faced. Patterson made 20 saves for the Knights.
Each team was one-for-four in the power play.
Sarnia resumes action Friday night when they travel to Kitchener to battle the Rangers.
“They are a pressure team. They play like us. It should be an exciting game,” said Beaulieu.
The Sting return home Saturday night to face the Peterborough Petes at 7:05 p.m. Tickets for that game are on sale daily at the RBC Box Office, by calling 519-541-1717 or going online at www.sarniasting.com.
- London’s Chris Tierney had three assists and was the game’s first star. Galchenyuk had a goal and an assist and was second star and Anderson of the Knights, with two goals, third star. Galchenyuk has now scored in seven straight games with six goals and 10 assists over that stretch.
- Goldobin was the Dickie’s hardest working player of the game. Goldobin’s father is here from Russia and will watch his son play over the next two weeks.
- Beaulieu was behind the bench for his 300th game as a head coach in the Canadian Hockey League.
- The Sting will be without the services of gritty winger Justice Dundas for at least month after injuring his shoulder in Sault Ste. Marie. Also not playing were Davis Brown (injury) while Mike DiPaolo and David Nemecek were numbers.
- Last night’s game was the first of six meetings between Sarnia and London. They don’t play again until the traditional New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day games. The New Year’s Eve game will be at the RBC Centre.