Call it retribution weekend for the London Knights.
Only Windsor and Flint had beaten London in regulation dating back to Oct. 18.
London beat the Spitfires on Friday, knocked off the Firebirds on Saturday and then dealt with something completely different as they edged the Soo Greyhounds 6-5 in overtime on Sunday afternoon in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
The win by the Knights was their first one over the Greyhounds since 2016.
“We haven’t beaten the Sault in 12 ,” said Knights co-captain Liam Foudy, who scored the game winner.
“We were just trying to rotate the three guys up top and I was acting more of a screen ,” added Foudy. “ Merkley shot it and it crept through. I don’t know whether it was going in or not but I was poking it in regardless and luckily enough it went .”
The last time London was able to celebrate a victory over the Greyhounds was March of 2016. Christian Dvorak scored the first goal of the game with assists from Matthew Tkachuk and Mitch Marner. Those three have now combined to play 715 games in the National Hockey League.
Max Jones had the winner that day. He’s also in the NHL now with the Anaheim Ducks.
Sunday’s game featured four lead changes and sat tied on five separate occasions.
“There were good times and bad times for both teams during the game,” said Knights assistant coach Rick Steadman. “There were ups and downs for sure. We just kept battling and we got scoring from all over out lineup today and any time you do that it helps out.”
London opened the scoring on a goal by Cole Tymkin early in the first period but the Greyhounds quickly tied it on a short-handed effort by Cole MacKay who went the length of the ice off a faceoff and managed to get a shot past Knights goalie Dylan Myskiw. That brought down a shower of Teddy Bears for the annual Teddy Bear Toss in Sault Ste. Marie. It also gave the Greyhounds a lift after an 8-3 loss to Sarnia the night before.
Zack Trott put the Sault ahead 2-1 with four minutes to go in the opening period and the Greyhounds took that lead into the second period.
After a first period in which the puck seemed to be bouncing in wrong directions for London, they settled things down and pushed hard offensively. The Knights outshot Sault Ste. Marie 25-5 in the middle period and got goals from Tonio Stranges, Luke Evangelista and Connor McMichael to lead 4-3 after 40 minutes.
Goals from Jaromir Pytlik and Jaden Peca within 58 seconds early in the third period put the Greyhounds back in front and prompted London head coach Dale Hunter to replace Myskiw with Brett Brochu in net.
Once again, the Knights tightened up and were rewarded as overage forward Josh Nelson snapped a shot between the legs of Bailey Brkin at 12:57 to tie the game again.
That set up overtime and a high-sticking penalty in the first minute gave London a power play chance and the number one unit in the OHL took advantage for the game winner.
Stranges had a goal and an assist for the Knights. London defencemen Gerard Keane and Hunter Skinner each had two assists.
The victory combined with a Guelph Storm loss to the Kitchener Rangers means the Knights are alone in first place in the Western Conference heading toward three games in four days beginning on Thursday in Peterborough.
Two streaks stay alive
Connor McMichael’s goal at 14:05 of the second period in Sault Ste. Marie gave him 25 on the year and extended his point streak to 17 games. The only player with a longer streak this season is Jan Jenik who plays for McMichael’s former team, the Hamilton Bulldogs. Jenik has recorded at least a point in 25 consecutive games.
Tonio Stranges of the Knights kept his goal scoring streak going by netting his fifth goal in four games. Stranges has scored against Erie, Windsor and the Greyhounds and had two on November 30 in Flint. Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67s has the longest current goal streak in the OHL. He sits at six games at the moment. Nick Robertson of the Peterborough Petes scored in eight straight games in late September and early October. Robertson is a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect.
Just like old times (in the WHL)
Dylan Myskiw of the London Knights and Bailey Brkin both began their major junior careers in the Western Hockey League. They are both overage players now and with a glut of goalies in the WHL this year both found spots in the Ontario Hockey League this season. They went head-to-head on Sunday in Sault Ste. Marie but it wasn’t the first time they had faced each other in a game. On Oct. 6, 2018, in Spokane, Wash., Myskiw and the Edmonton Oil Kings met Brkin and the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs edged Edmonton 3-2 that night. Myskiw and the Knights got that win back on Sunday.
The London Knights will go to Peterborough on December 5 to face the Petes for the second time this season. The two clubs met on opening night of 2019-20 at Budweiser Gardens and Peterborough won 6-4.
London will return home to meet the Owen Sound Attack as they hold their annual Teddy Bear Toss on Friday, Dec. 6.
The pre-game show will begin at 6:30 both nights on 980 CFPL at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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