‘We needed a better start for sure’: Sarnia Sting edge London Knights in overtime

Sean Josling wristed a puck into the London Knight net at 2:34 of overtime as the Sarnia Sting beat the Knights 5-4 in front of a sell-out crowd in Sarnia on Sunday.

The Knights had erased a 3-0 Sting lead by scoring four straight goals, but a quick response from the Sting after the fourth London goal and a goaltender interference call that negated a London goal with just over a minute left in regulation sent things to 3-on-3 OT, where Sarnia came out on top.

It was the third time in five games that the teams had needed more than 60 minutes to decide a winner. The Knights won in overtime on October 12 in London and the Sting won a shootout on December 12 in Sarnia.

“We needed a better start for sure,” said Knights forward Cole Tymkin, who scored the goal that was called back. “We just have to keep working hard when we meet them in London and hope everything goes well.”

Billy Moskal of the Knights was pleased with the way his team rebounded after Sarnia jumped ahead.

“We weren’t playing our best from the start but we started to do some things well and got some momentum and I thought we played much better as the game went along.”

Moskal scored two goals in less than five minutes in the third period to tie the game 3-3 before Joey Keane put London ahead with his first goal as a Knight on a power play.

That lead lasted just 12 seconds, as a centering pass hit Josling in the foot and went past Jordan Kooy and into the London net to make it 4-4.

Hugo Leufvenius of the Sting recorded an assist to stretch his league-leading point streak to 19 games.

London and Sarnia meet for the final time in the regular season on New Year’s Eve at 4:00.

The Knights have a 3-0-1-1 advantage through five games so far.

Dale Hunter at 750

When London defeated the Windsor Spitfires on Friday, Knights head coach Dale Hunter earned his 750th career victory.

He is the fastest OHL coach to hit that number, doing it in just over 1100 games behind the London bench. Only three coaches have ever recorded that many victories.

Brian Kilrea leads all Ontario Hockey League coaches with 1193 victories. The late Bert Templeton is second with 907 wins.

You might not see this again

On Friday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 in Columbus. The first goal of the game came with a whole lot of green and gold attention. John Tavares scored it on a power play. The assists went to Mitch Marner and Nazem Kadri. The power play happened because Josh Anderson was given a two-minute minor for tripping and the penalty was called by Cory Syvret. Every one of those names used to be on the back of a London Knight uniform. In all, the game featured five ex-Knights: Marner, Kadri and Tavares in blue and white and Anderson and former Knights captain Scott Harrington in the dark blue of the Blue Jackets.

Leafs add another ex-Knight

Toronto now has four former London Knights on their roster. On Saturday, the Maple Leafs acquired goaltender Michael Hutchinson from the Florida Panthers for a fifth-round draft pick. Hutchinson has been playing with the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League and will join Garret Sparks in the Toronto crease until Frederik Andersen is healthy again. Anderson missed Saturday’s loss to the New York Islanders with a sore groin.

Hutchinson spent the 2009-10 season with the Knights after coming over from the Barrie Colts. His NHL career has taken him to Boston, Winnipeg and Florida prior to joining the Maple Leafs.

Canada is 3-0 at World Juniors

Monday’s New Year’s Eve matchup between Canada and Russia at the World Junior Hockey Championship will give Canada a shot at a perfect round-robin record in Group A. Every line produced at least a point on Saturday in Canada’s 5-1 victory over the Czech Republic.

Londoner Nick Suzuki had another assist, giving him three in three games. Knights captain Evan Bouchard also has three assists in the tournament.

Boqvist the hero

Knights defenceman Adam Boqvist scored at 3:51 of overtime on Saturday to lift Sweden past Team USA at the World Juniors 5-4. The win gives Sweden a fantastic shot at finishing first in Group B. They have now beaten both Finland and the U.S. and have a Monday game against Kazakhstan left on their schedule.

Sweden has now won 47 consecutive group stage games, but their success hasn’t quite carried over to the medal round. Sweden has won gold just once in 12 years during their streak.

Up next

The Knights and the Sting will pull out their noisemakers for a Monday game at Budweiser Gardens to close out 2018, with the puck dropping at 4 p.m. London has a 3-0-1-1 record against Sarnia this season. Their only losses have come in a shootout and in overtime in Sarnia.

The first game of 2019 for the Knights will take place in St. Catharines against the Niagara Ice Dogs on January 3. London will be home to Sault Ste. Marie the next night.

All games can be heard on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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