Five third period goals by the London Knights made the difference in a 7-5 win over the Frontenacs in Kingston on Saturday night.
Add that to an 8-2 loss by the Kitchener Rangers against the Saginaw Spirit at the same time and London is back on top in the Western Conference. They lead the Rangers by one point and the Spirit by two points with two games in hand on each of them heading into the rest of the Family Day long weekend.
With the Knights down 3-2 entering the final period, London got goals from Tonio Stranges and Matvey Guskov that came 16 seconds apart to give London the first lead of the game. Kingston tied the game again on a goal by Francesco Arcuri but then two goals by Luke Evangelista and an empty-netter from Liam Foudy put the game away. A goal in the final minute by Frontenacs forward Vitali Pinchuk put a finishing touch on eight goals over the final 20 minutes.
Evangelista ended the game with two goals and an assist and a first-star selection. Stranges and Markus Phillips each had a goal and an assist and Campbellford, Ont., native and former Frontenac Nathan Dunkley had two assists and was named the game’s second star.
After pouring in four power-play goals against Kitchener on Friday night, Kingston held London quiet on the man advantage on four chances. The Frontenacs went 0-for-2 on the power play.
The Knights outshot Kingston 46-28. Dylan Myskiw earned his first victory since Jan. 11.
The Frontenacs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game on goals by Zayde Wisdom and Dustin Hutton.
Before the end of the first period, the Knights got a goal back. Markus Phillips corralled a puck at the left point and snapped a long shot off the post and in behind Frontenacs goalie Christian Propp to send London to the dressing room down by one.
Knights veteran defenceman Billy Moskal knotted the game 2-2 with a short-handed goal just 18 seconds into the second period. Moskal chased down a loose puck in the Kingston end, cut to the net and scored his 11th goal of the season.
The Frontenacs fought back and jumped in front again as Wisdom kept a puck in at the London blue line and then found Martin Chromiak who fired a puck into the Knight net on a one-timer to make it 3-2 Kingston at the end of 40 minutes.
That set the stage for the wild third period.
London now heads to Ottawa for a Family Day afternoon game against the 67s.
Regula at 20
Knights defenceman Alec Regula picked up his 20th goal of the season as part of a two-goal game against the Kitchener Rangers on Feb. 14. Regula became the 12th D-man in history to reach 20 goals in a London uniform. Nick Stajduhar set the all-time record for goals by a Knights defenceman in 1993-94 with 34. Dennis Wideman holds the record for most 20-goal seasons for London. He had three from 2001-2004. Rick Corriveau did it twice. Scott Campbell, Don Martin, Chris McCauley, Danny Syvret, Bryan Rodney, Evan Bouchard and Adam Boqvist also had 20-goal seasons in London. Londoner Mitch Vande Sompel his 20th goal of the year as a Knight in 2016-17. He scored 17 of those 20 while playing for Oshawa.
Shane Wright stacking up
Talk to anyone who watches rookie Shane Wright on a regular basis and they rave. He entered the OHL this year as a 15-year-old after being granted exceptional status by the league. Not only is he living up to the billing that comes with a player who is allowed to play a year early, Wright is exceeding expectations. If you compare him to the other two forwards who played in the OHL at 16 in John Tavares and Connor McDavid, Wright is actually averaging more points per game. He is already a leader in the room, he leads all OHL rookies in scoring and he also leads the Kingston Frontenacs in goals and points. Wright is also a plus-5 on a team that has given up 62 more goals than they have scored.
The London Knights and the Ottawa 67s used to be the closest thing two Ontario Hockey League teams can get to being family members. They were both owned by Howard Darwin between 1968 and 1986. When the clubs met during the regular season the games were affectionately known as the Darwin Cup.
Their meeting on Family Day afternoon at 2 p.m. will be a matchup of two of the top teams in the OHL standings. Ottawa has been sitting high atop the charts for just about every day of 2019-20. They were the first to 40 wins and the first team to lock up a playoff spot and they seem determined to return to the spot they got to last year when they made it to the OHL championship series only to lose to Guelph in six games.
London blanked the 67s at Budweiser Gardens in October and has a chance to sweep the season series and resurrect ownership of the old Darwin Cup.
Coverage will start at 1:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.