In a show of “what you can do, I can do too,” the Barrie Colts defeated the London Knights 5-3 on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.
After London scored three consecutive second period goals to take a 3-1 lead, Barrie bounced back with four goals of their own in the third to win in a game that took just two hours and two minutes to play.
The Knights played games Sept. 3 and 4 and then had three weeks off before getting back on the ice in London.
After a miscommunication created an own goal by the Knights in the first period, London found their rhythm in the middle frame on goals by 19-year old Sean McGurn, 16-year old Mike Levin and 16-year old Denver Barkey.
McGurn got two cracks at a puck and popped a shot past Matteo Lalama in the Colts to get the Knights on the board just 1:17 into the period.
Levin gave London their first lead with a picture-perfect shot that beat Lalama up high at 10:02 as Levin came in off the left wing.
Then Brody Crane found Barkey with a slick pass on a 2-on-1 and he slid the puck in to make it 3-1 for the Knights heading into the third.
Just as London had come out quickly in the second period, Barrie did the same in the third. Chris Grisolia’s second of the game at the 1:27 mark got the Colts to within a goal and then veteran Anthony Tabak tied the game under two minutes later as he used his reach to sweep home a rebound in front.
Power play goals by Beau Jelsma and Jacob Frasca put Barrie ahead to stay and they held on from there.
Brett Brochu made 23 saves in net following his return from Pittsburgh Penguins rookie camp. Lalama stopped 22 for the Colts.
The game was played in front of 1000 fans. Capacity will increase to about 4500 fans for London’s final home pre-aeason game against Hamilton on October 1.
Win number one for Martin and the Nationals
Colin Martin grew up in London, won an OHL championship with the Knights in 2012 and now holds the reins of the London Nationals as their head coach. He earned his first victory behind their bench on Friday night as London knocked off St. Thomas 4-2 to open the GOJHL regular season.
The Nationals erased an early 2-0 Stars lead in the game.
Making it Raine
Former London defenceman Kevin Raine is heading into his fourth year with the Belfast Giants and is part of raising money for mental health.
Raine has always had one of the greatest examples of hockey hair and has decided to shave the mane that is currently on the top of his head in support of Action Mental Health.
Every donation of 10 pounds or more automatically allows entry into a draw for one of limited edition two jerseys. For more details, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/returntoplay
Off to camp
The London Knights and Windsor Spitfires lead the way in the OHL with eight players each at National Hockey League training camps. Tonio Stranges is in Dallas, Ben Roger is with the Ottawa Senators and Bryce Montgomery is in Carolina. Gerard Keane received a free agent invite to Columbus Blue Jackets rookie camp and then earned a spot in main camp.
Sharks prospects Max McCue and Liam Gilmartin showed their stuff for San Jose and both received main camp invites. Gilmartin has since returned to London after suffering an injury. An upper-body injury kept Luke Evangelista from heading to Nashville.
Two Knights at camp are not expected to make an appearance in London at all this year, although they still technically have junior eligibility left. After a strong year in the American Hockey League, Connor McMichael could crack the Capitals in 2021-22 and Hunter Skinner has signed an entry-level deal with the New York Rangers and is expected to take the step from the ECHL where was last season to the AHL this year.
From Russia with love?
The Knights are waiting to find out whether defenceman Kirill Steklov will make his way back to North America. He has been playing in the Kontinental Hockey League with Vityaz Podolsk to begin the year. London is also hoping to hear that forward Ruslan Gazizov is on his way to Canada. He is fully vaccinated but is waiting for a visa.
Gazizov was chosen by the Knights in the 2021 CHL Import draft. He’s a dynamic, 17-year old forward who has had excellent success internationally.
The London Knights will be in Hamilton on Sept. 28 to play a game that was originally scheduled for Sept. 17. The Bulldogs have one of the more experienced OHL rosters going into 2021-22.
Coverage will begin at 6:30 at 980cfpl.ca