The phrases pre-season and sudden death don’t often wind up in the same sentence.
On Friday night at Budweiser Gardens, they did as the London Knights and the Erie Otters went to sudden death in a shootout in the first of two pre-season games between the teams this weekend.
The Knights won 4-3.
Luke Evangelista and Max McCue scored shootout goals for London. McCue kept the Knights alive with a smart shot that beat Aidan Campbell of the Otters and then Evangelista deked to his backhand and roofed a puck over Campbell that would stand up as the winner, following one final stop from Knights’ rookie goalie Brett Brochu.
Brochu stopped four of five shots overall in the shootout and 28 of 31 shots he faced during regulation time.
The Otters jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the 1:32 mark of the second period on goals by Brendan Sellan and Brendan Hoffman, but the Knights fought back to tie the game before the end of the second period as Sahil Panwar and Max McCue scored their first goals of the pre-season.
Sellan put Erie ahead with just under eight minutes remaining, but Josh Nelson tied it again with a slippery wrist shot that he fired on goal as he skated across the Erie blue line.
The victory gave the Knights a 2-0 record in their two exhibition games at Budweiser Gardens.
Marner signs contract with Maple Leafs
As Toronto Maple Leafs training camp hit the ice in Newfoundland, Mitch Marner was hitting high notes as he initialed and signed on dotted lines on a brand new six-year contract with the team. The deal has an average annual value of $10.893 million. Marner is coming off a 94-point season that saw him finish with 68 assists, the fourth-highest total in the NHL last year.
Regula and Filppula
Growing up, Knights defenceman Alec Regula got an up-close look at what it was like to be a member of the Detroit Red Wings. Alec’s father, Chet, was the team dentist for the Wings. Alec used to be able to go into the dressing room that was home to the likes of Steve Yzerman, Nik Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk.
Regula wound up gravitating toward Valteri Fillppula. In a wild chain of events, Regula grew up to be drafted by Detroit and this past off-season, Yzerman, the new general manager in Detroit, brought back Fillpula as a free agent. The two of them are back in the Red Wings dressing room, only this time both of them are going on the ice.
Warren Rychel new head coach in Barrie
The Barrie Colts have hired former Windsor Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel to be their head coach in 2019-20. On September 4, the Barrie Colts announced that head coach Dale Hawerchuk would be taking a leave of absence from the team. Colts owner Howie Cambell stated, “Dale is facing some health issues and will be taking the time he needs to deal with that situation.”
Neutral site games
When the Ontario Hockey League exhibition schedule wraps up at the end of Sunday evening, there will have been 15 games played at 15 locations outside of the OHL’s usual 20 home rinks. From Cornwall and Rockland up to Timmins and west to Chatham, the league has been able to showcase its product and its players. The Knights head for Clinton on Saturday at 7:00 in what will be their second-ever visit to Horatio Hale, one of Canada’s foremost anthropologists and to the first Canadian-born commander of Canada’s Army, William Dillon Otter.
The game in Clinton between the Knights and the Otters will complete the annual back-to-back that the two teams play in the pre-season and it will also complete the pre-season schedules for both clubs. Proceeds from the game will benefit the Tanner Steffler Foundation. Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL and at 980cfpl.ca.
London will play their season opener at Budweiser Gardens on September 20 at 7:30 against the Peterborough Petes.
WATCH: (Aug. 28, 2019) Peterborough Petes’ 2019 first-round pick Mason McTavish aims to make jump to OHL