Sixteen-year-old rookie Tye Austin kicked aside 34 London Knights shots to lift the Peterborough Petes to a 3-1 win on Thursday night at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.
Austin played a complete game for the eighth time in his young Ontario Hockey League career and managed to hold an opponent under two goals against for the first time.
“He did a great job tonight,” said London assistant coach Rick Steadman. “He caught a lot of pucks, made a couple of saves through a lot of traffic and got a big win in a really tight game.”
The Petes seemed content to collapse around their net and force a Knights team that was playing for the eighth time in 14 days to try to push their way through.
Steadman said Peterborough also did a very good job taking advantage of the square confines of their home rink and the odd bounces it can create.
“When you try to get guys to the net, they know the board bounces here, and they were picking pucks up clean and then come at us with speed. We gave them too many chances and they capitalized,” he added.
It was just the second time this year that the Knights have lost back-to-back games. Both sets of losses have come on the road.
London’s schedule does not slow down as they head back home to take on the Hamilton Bulldogs at Budweiser Gardens on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
With 11 games to go in the regular season, the Knights find themselves two points in front of the Soo Greyhounds for first place in the Western Conference after Sault Ste. Marie got two goals from Morgan Frost and doubled up the Spitfires 4-2 in Windsor on Thursday.
The London Knights got off to a good start thanks to Kevin Hancock’s fifth goal in three games. It came on a power play under three minutes in as Hancock lifted the puck into the Petes net.
Peterborough rebounded with a power-play goal of their own and then the eventual game-winning goal, which came at 12:42 of the opening period when Adam Timleck pounced on a rebound in front and popped it by Joseph Raaymakers.
The biggest moment may very well have come with just over three minutes remaining in the third period when Alex Formenton sent a pass across the Petes zone to Alec Regula and he one-timed a shot at the net, only to have the big right pad of Austin come rocketing across to knock it away.
READ MORE: Around The OHL: Scouting the top prospects
Knights pick Sean McGurn gets both in big win for Stars
The London Knights selected Sean McGurn in the third round of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. As a 16-year-old playing with the St. Thomas Stars, the Ottawa native has 13 goals and 37 points in 39 games this year. McGurn is on a path very similar to one taken by Seth Griffith and Billy Moskal, who spent a season in the GOJHL after being drafted by London and then became regulars on the Knights the next year.
WATCH: An up-close look on what makes it tough on visiting teams in Peterborough
Londoner Nick Suzuki hits 300 career points
Nick Suzuki became the first London-born player to record 300 points in the Ontario Hockey League since Spencer Watson did it in 2017 as a player for the Mississauga Steelheads. Watson ended his career with 301 points through four seasons with Kingston and the Steelheads. Suzuki hit 300 on Family Day when he set up Dmitri Samorukov for an overtime winner in his 239th OHL game. The former Jr. Knight is playing out his final months in the Ontario Hockey League. Suzuki is property of the Montreal Canadiens after being selected in the first-round pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Knights will finally face the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday, Feb. 22. The defending Ontario Hockey League champions are the only team in the OHL that London has not played in 2018-19. After loading up for a title run and a trip to the Memorial Cup last year, Hamilton has added some younger players this year, but they still have all kinds of players who know how to win and sit a game above .500 in the Eastern Conference.
Coverage will start at 6:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.