A big third period from the Saginaw Spirit shot them past the London Knights 6-3 at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw on Saturday.
Knights co-captain Alec Regula scored two of the London goals and assisted on the other.
After going 3-for-3 on the power play against Owen Sound on Friday, Regula clicked on the Knights’ first opportunity on the man advantage a night later. Regula took a pass in the slot, pivoted and wristed a puck high into the Spirit net.
A Regula rebound was lifted over Saginaw’s Tristan Lennox in the second period by Cole Tymkin and had London sitting in a good spot, leading 2-0.
Back-to-back Spirit power plays began to grow some momentum for Saginaw late in the second period and they finally broke through courtesy of Cole Perfetti who netted his second goal of the season and second the game to the third period with London ahead 2-1.
A hard forecheck from the Spirit kept that momentum building in period three and they tied the game on a tip-in from Damien Giroux. Blade Jenkins gave Saginaw the lead and then a goal-line plunge made it 4-2 for Saginaw. Those three goals came less than 10 minutes apart.
Regula got the Knights back to within one goal with just over three minutes remaining in regulation as he scored seconds after the Knights had pulled the goalie. Jonathan Gruden jumped onto the ice as the extra attacker, scooped up the puck and fed Regula in the slot.
The empty-net magic didn’t work a second time as Cole Coskey scored with Brochu back on the London bench.
Giroux ended the scoring with just 2.3 seconds remaining.
The loss ends a 3-0-1 run by the Knights and sends them home for games against Windsor and Kingston on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19.
London outshot the Spirit 41-34 in the game.
READ MORE: London Knights name captains for 2019-20
Knights in the OUA
A total of 191 former OHLers are on rosters of OUA teams.
Alex Turko played 132 games for the Knights and now joins Londoner Matt Watson and Komoka’s Kyle Pettit with the Western Mustangs.
Defenceman Matthew Timms joined the Guelph Gryphons part-way through 2018-19. He returns for his second season and will join former Knights forward Ryan Valentini.
Goaltender Michael Giugovaz who played 47 games in London in 2014-15 is with the Laurentian Voyageurs. Giugovaz played at UPEI before transferring to Laurentian.
Another goalie and former third-round pick of the Knights Emmanuel Vella will begin his OUA career at McGill.
The Brock Badgers are considered one of the powers in the OUA West and will have Tyler Rollo back for his second year. The Badgers nearly had 100-point man Kevin Hancock. He was set to play for the Badgers until signing with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners in September.
Defenceman Nic Mattinen who won a Memorial Cup with the Knights in 2016 and an OHL Championship with Hamilton in 2018 has taken his resume home to Ottawa and is playing for the Ottawa Gee Gees.
Brady Pataki played 26 games for the Knights in 2016-17 and is playing in Windsor after spending two seasons with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL.
Owen Lalonde traded
The first few weeks of the OHL season have now seen the number one and number two picks in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection traded to new teams. The Knights acquired Ryan Merkley from the Peterborough Petes on September 27. The Flint Firebirds have now made a deal with the defending OHL champion Guelph Storm for 19-year old Owen Lalonde. In return, the Storm receive two 2nd round picks, a conditional 2nd rounder and a conditional 5th rounder along with 17-year old defenceman Michael Bianconi.
London will face the Windsor Spitfires for the first time this season on Oct. 18 at 7:30 at Budweiser Gardens. Windsor shot out of the gate with three consecutive wins and sit at 4-3-1 on the year. They are led offensively by Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Tyler Angle and Finnish import pick Ruben Rafkin.
On Oct. 19 Knights fans will get their first look at 15-year old Shane Wright as the Kingston Frontenacs come to London. Wright was granted exceptional status to play in the Ontario Hockey League in 2019-20. Wright has three goals and two assists in his first five games in the OHL. He scored the overtime winner in the Frontenacs’ first victory of the year on October 11 against the Niagara Ice Dogs.
The pre-game show will begin at 6:30 both nights on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.