November 3, 2017 9:52 pm

Spirit outlast Knights at Budweiser Gardens

Mike Stubbs/980 CFPL

Cliff Pu tied the game with just over two minutes remaining in the third period, but the Saginaw Spirit managed to beat the Knights 6-5 in overtime on Friday at Budweiser Gardens.

Detroit Red Wings’ draft pick, Brady Gilmour scored 17 seconds into OT to give Saginaw their second consecutive victory and move them even with the Knights in the Western Conference standings.

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The Spirit built a 2-0 lead in the first period and forced the Knights to chase them on the scoreboard for the rest of the game. London caught Saginaw twice, tying the game 4-4 and 5-5 in the third period, but could not find a way to get the go-ahead goal and were forced to walk away with a single point.

How the goals were scored

Cole Coskey of Saginaw found a loose puck in the London zone and snapped a shot high over the shoulder of Joseph Raaymakers in the London net.

A hit by Mason Kohn late in the period knocked a puck loose again and it was sent back to the blue line where Hayden Davis blasted a shot at the London net that Mason Kohn tipped past Raaymakers to put the Spirit ahead 2-0. It was Kohn’s first goal as a member of Saginaw after being acquired from the Oshawa Generals earlier in the week.

Brand new Knights’ captain, Robert Thomas got London’s first goal on a power play at 7:40 of the second period to cut the Spirit lead in half.

Just 3:55 later, Saginaw went up by two goals again as South Porcupine’s Danny Katic’s shot was deflected and found its way through Raaymakers and just got across the goal line to make it 3-1.

Evan Bouchard cut the lead to 3-2 with a big blast from the blue line for his fourth goal of the year.

Before the second period ended, the Spirit pushed their lead back to a pair. The Knights killed off a 2-man advantage that lasted just over one minute only to have Marcus Crawford score on a shot before Carbonara could leave the penalty box and rejoin the play.

READ MORE: London Knights name their captain, 4 alternates

The Spirit brought their 4-2 into the third period and it lasted less than five minutes. Thomas scored his second goal of the game as he rifled a shot from the left side of the Spirit zone off the post and in on a London power play to bring the Knights to within a goal for a third time in the game at 4-3.

Alec Regula’s first Ontario Hockey League goal tied the game 4-4 just two minutes and 41 seconds later. Bouchard sent a pass to Regula at the left point and he wired a one-timer into the Spirit net.

Blade Jenkins put Saginaw ahead again as he skated behind the Knight net, wheeled out front and found an opening for his fourth goal of the year and a 5-4 Spirit lead with 8:55 to go.

Cliff Pu drew a penalty with just over three minutes remaining and then Pu tipped home a Sam Miletic shot on the power play at 17:45 to tie the game 5-5 and send it to overtime.

The fourth period lasts just 17 seconds as Saginaw got control of the puck at their blue line and Gilmour pushed the puck ahead and into the London zone. Gilmour tried a pass that was blocked, but the puck bounced right back to him and he fired the game-winner into the Knight net.

READ MORE: Retired NHL referee Kerry Fraser, 65, reveals incurable cancer diagnosis

Thomas named captain

From Andy Spruce to Dave Lowry to Chris Kelly, Mitch Marner and Christian Dvorak and many others, the London Knights have a star-studded list of team captains. The “C” will be worn by Aurora’s Robert Thomas, who came through the York-Simcoe Express system. Cliff Pu, Max Jones, Sam Miletic and Evan Bouchard were named alternate captains.

Sting streak stopped

The Sarnia Sting saw their 14-game winning streak come to an end in Kingston on Friday night as the Frontenacs beat Sarnia 7-1. The Knights and the Sting will play their first game of the season against each other on Nov. 22 in Sarnia. They will meet at Budweiser Gardens on Dec. 15 and then play their annual New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day home-and-home to close out 2017 and begin 2018.

READ MORE: London Sports Hall of Fame gives warm welcome to new class of inductees

Next up

The Knights travel north to the Harry Lumley Bayshore Arena in Owen Sound for a game against the Attack on Saturday night. Hear the pre-game show at 7:00 on Global News Radio 980 CFPL and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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