The London Knights finished three games in less than 48 hours with a 6-3 loss to the Greyhounds on Sunday in Sault Ste. Marie.
It was the first time this season that the Knights had not come away with at least a point in back to back games. The 2005 Memorial Cup championship team also made it into the second half of the season without back-to-back regulation losses. They were beaten in consecutive games in January. This year’s Knights team made it to Feb. 10.
London was turned back again and again on Saturday in Saginaw as they put 58 pucks at the Spirit net only to have Ivan Prosvetov make 55 saves.
The Knights came out with a similar level of perseverance on Sunday, outshooting the Greyhounds in the game, but coming up short.
Still, London assistant coach Rick Steadman gave Sault Ste. Marie credit for the victory.
“They have a lot of skill,” said Steadman. “Their goalie stands really tall and really strong. When they get that chance, they make it count and they don’t need many to get goals. You really need to play a full 60 minutes to get them.”
London created all kinds of chances of their own, especially in the first period when they rang three pucks off the goal post. Steadman says a lack of early success may have played a role in the loss.
“We were getting lots of chances on net, but they got a couple of goals and that seemed to frustrate us and it took us away from our game plan a couple of times. By the time we got back, the game ran out on us.”
The Knights are three games into a span of nine games within just 15 days. They come home to play Guelph on Wednesday at Budweiser Gardens, where Steadman suggests this current pair of losses will take on a different meaning.
“As coaches you try to use it as a learning moment,” Steadman pointed out. “Every team goes through adversity and has uphill battles. This weekend was an uphill battle for is. It’s all about how you recover for the next game.”
All thee games that the Knights played on the weekend ended in 6-3 scores.
How the goals were scored
The scoring started 21 seconds into the game as Jaromir Pytlik deflected a Morgan Frost shot past former Greyhound Joseph Raaymakers and into the London net for a 1-0 Sault Ste. Marie lead.
Cole Mackay made it 2-0 at 4:14 of the second period with his 20th of the year and his first of three goals on the afternoon.
Adam Boqvist got London on the scoreboard just one minute and 12 seconds later with his 13th of the season.
Mackay answered back just over four minutes after that by banging a Barrett Hayton pass across the goal line ay 9:36 of period two.
Mackay completed his hat trick by firing a seeing-eye shot through the legs of a London defenceman to put Sault Ste, Marie ahead 4-1.
Before the second period had ended, Liam Foudy got the Knights back to a two-goal deficit with his 30th goal of the year as he tipped in an Evan Bouchard shot.
Morgan Frost converted on a breakaway just past the halfway mark of the third period to make it 5-2 for the Greyhounds.
The Knights converted on a power play with seven minutes to go with their net empty as Kevin Hancock netted his 41th of the season as he cut the gap back to two goals at 5-3.
Barrett Hayton finished the scoring on a Soo power play at 15:46 as he fired a shot in right off a face-off in the London zone.
Most shots in a period
The London Knights 32-shot output in the third period of their game against the Saginaw Spirit on Saturday put them right up there among teams with the most shots in any period ever. The National Hockey League record belongs to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a game that took place in Chicago in 2018. They fired 33 pucks at the Chicago net in the second period of that game and broke the previous record of 30 shots originally held by Dallas and Montreal. London had 58 shots overall against Saginaw.
Decisions on Tymkin and Lochead expected this week
London forward Cole Tymkin did not play this weekend after being assessed a Game Misconduct penalty for an incident that took place Feb. 2 against the Kitchener Rangers. The Ontario Hockey League will review the play this week to determine whether additional punishment is needed. On the play in question, Tymkin was knocked down in front of the net and was hurt. As he got up, he tossed his stick into the corner and it made contact with referee Ryan Hutchinson. It was ruled a Category III Abuse of Official (Category I being the most serious) and according to OHL rules, that comes with an automatic three-game suspension. Tymkin has now missed three games.
Will Lochead received an automatic suspension after he was assessed a game misconduct on February 9 in Saginaw because of an altercation with Spirit goaltender Ivan Prosvetov. The OHL will is expected to make a decision on any additional games for the Londoner this week as well.
The Knights return home for two games. They will take on the Guelph Storm in a massive matchup on Wednesday, February 13. The Storm loaded up at the trade deadline when they brought in Londoner Nick Suzuki and Sean Durzi and Markus Phillips and Fedor Gordeev and Mackenzie Entwistle. And that’s only naming five of their additions. The last time the Knights and Guelph met, some of those faces were not a part of the game. It was two days before the deadline and a wild third period led to a 7-5 Storm victory. The Knights and Guelph are the top two teams in the Midwest Division and two of the big-time contenders for an OHL championship.
The puck will drop at 7 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. Coverage on 980 CFPL begins at 6:30. You can also hear the game at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.