October 12, 2018 11:01 pm

Liam Foudy lifts the London Knights past Sarnia

Connor McMichael of the London Knights puts the the puck past Aidan Hughes of the Sarnia Sting in a game played on Oct. 12, 2018, at Budweiser Gardens.

Jim Van Horne/980 CFPL

Liam Foudy’s goal at the three-minute mark of overtime ended a wild slugfest and gave the London Knights a 7-6 victory over the Sarnia Sting on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.

Like a sleek new car kicking into overdrive, Foudy brought the puck across the Sting blue line, slowed as if someone was pressing his clutch and then ignited as he roared around a defender and outwaited Sarnia goaltender Aidan Hughes before wristing the puck over the six-foot-four-inch goaltender for the game-winner.

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It was a night that saw both teams fight back in the game and also saw about as much in the way of hard hits and scrappy play as you are going to find in an October game in 2018.

The game saw a few firsts as Knights goalie Joseph Raaymakers picked up his first victory, Josh Nelson got his first goal of the season, Will Lochead scored his first in a London uniform and the Knights picked up their first power-play goal.

Connor McMichael had two goals and an assist for the Knights. London’s Alec Regula had two assists, but is expected to miss time this weekend after being assessed an instigator penalty inside the final five minutes.

London came into the night as the owners of the fewest games played so far this year, but they will change that as they head on the road for two more games this weekend.

The Knights wore blue jerseys helping to promote the Dream Lottery and the Children’s Health Foundation.

READ MORE: Around The OHL Recap: Liam Kirk, High Fives and Barrett Hayton

How the goals were scored

Sarnia struck twice to open the game. Former Soo Greyhound Calvin Martin tipped in a Nick Grima shot just two minutes and 51 seconds into the game and then Sarnia rookie Jacob Perrault got his stick on a bouncing puck at the side of the London net to score his fifth goal in seven games and put the Sting up 2-0.

London responded with five unanswered goals sparked by Londoner Will Lochead’s first as a Knight. Lochead stripped a puck free just inside the Sarnia blue line, went around a defender and slipped the puck through the legs of Aidan Hughes to cut the Sting lead in half and sparked his team.

Tonio Stranges scored his second career OHL goal just over a minute later to tie the game 2-2 and the teams skated to their dressing rooms deadlocked.

London continued to roll as the second period began. Cole Tymkin’s fourth goal of the season gave the Knights the lead just 1:07 in and two goals from Connor McMichael stretched London’s lead to 5-2. The first of McMichael’s pair came on the power play and gave London their first goal on the man advantage this season.

Sarnia used special teams to battle their way back into the game as they scored twice short-handed before the middle period came to an end. Franco Sproviero and Flyers’ draft pick Anthony Salinitri scored less than two minutes apart and the Knights held a 5-4 advantage going into the third.

Two minutes and nine seconds into the third period, Billy Moskal and Josh Nelson of London broke in on a two-on-oh and Moskal fed Nelson for his first goal of the year and a 6-4 Knights lead.

Sarnia chipped away with a power-play goal by Mitch Eliot to make it 6-5 and then tied the game on a wrist shot from Hugo Leufvenius with 2:58 remaining.

That took the teams to overtime where Liam Foudy ended it with his fourth goal in five games since returning from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

READ MORE: 2018-19 Ontario Hockey League Preview

Oulahen steps down in Flint

Ryan Oulahen has decided to leave his position as the head coach of the Flint Firebirds. The team announced that the former OHLer had stepped down just before the start of their home game against the North Bay Battalion on Friday night. Flint was off to a 0-7 start to the year, which turned to 0-8 after a 5-3 North Bay win with Greg Stefan behind the bench. Oulahen cited personal and family reasons for the move. The Firebirds have not announced any long-term plans saying only that Stefan would be in the head coaching role for Flint’s games this weekend.

Formenton on injured reserve

Alex Formenton has been placed on injured reserve by the Ottawa Senators after sustaining a concussion. He played just over eight minutes for Ottawa on Wednesday in their 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers and could miss the next two Senators games at least. Formenton started the year in Ottawa in 2017-18, but was returned to the Knights after appearing in one NHL game. He has played four games for the Senators this year, but Ottawa still has the option of sending him to London. He cannot be assigned to the American Hockey League.

Will this be the year?

March 30, 1999. That was the date of the last playoff meeting between the London Knights and the Sarnia Sting. London won it 4-1 and wrapped up the first and only post-season meeting with Sarnia in six games. How long ago was that? Well, Tom Kostpoulos scored a goal in the game for the Knights. He went on to play 19 seasons of professional hockey and has since retired. Chris Kelly, Krys Barch and Alex Henry also figured into the scoring. Each one of those players is also retired from the game. Since then, London has played Erie and Windsor seven times in the playoffs. They have played Guelph and Kitchener six times and Owen Sound in five separate series. There has still only ever been one meeting between the teams at either end of the 402.

READ MORE: Jordan Kooy and a big third period lead London Knights past Owen Sound

Next up

Three games in 46 hours continue for the Knights with a game on Saturday night in Owen Sound. The teams met on Oct. 5 and London scored four times in the third period to come back and beat the Attack 4-1. The Knights will be in Guelph on Sunday afternoon. You can hear coverage of both games on 980 CFPL, at 980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app. The pre-game show will start at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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