London Knights go perfect on the road in the pre-season with 6-5 win over Barrie Colts

Brody Crane’s shot trickled under Matteo Lalama of the Barrie Colts in the sixth round of the shootout to give the London Knights a 6-5 victory on Thursday night in Barrie, Ont.

London is a perfect 3-0 on the road in exhibition play and heads home to complete their six-game schedule against Hamilton on Friday night.

The scoring in the game started with a big save by Barrie goaltender Tanner Wickware as he stopped Knights forward Liam Gilmartin short-handed and in tight and that sent the rush the other way, where Jacob Frasca of the Colts skated into the Knights zone and snapped a puck past Matt Onuska to make it 1-0.

London tied the game less than five minutes later when Abakar Kazbekov deflected a puck into the Barrie end just as Max McCue was hitting full speed at the blue line. McCue got to the puck ahead of everyone else behind the Colts net and centred it to Nick Yearwood, who banged home his second goal of the pre-season to tie the game.

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Goals 16 seconds apart from Frasca and Ryan Del Monte sent Barrie in front 3-1, but Easton Cowan got behind the Barrie defence and cut the lead to 3-2 before the opening period had ended.

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All of the second period scoring belonged to the Knights as Stu Rolofs took a beautiful feed from Denver Barkey and scored his third pre-season goal to tie the game just 2:31 in.

Kazbekov sent Ty Anselmini in alone at the 8:52 mark to put London in front 4-3 and then right off a faceoff on a Knights power play Kazbekov snapped a puck high over the shoulder of Wickware to give the Knights a two-goal advantage heading into the third.

Like they did in the first period, Barrie struck twice in quick succession with goals that came 38 seconds apart from Frasca who completed a hat trick, and Oliver Smith who tied the game 5-5 with just over six and a half minutes remaining in regulation.

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The teams matched each other through the first five rounds of the shootout before Crane ended it.

Matt Onuska picked up the win in goal for London stopping 23 of 28 shots.

Early injuries

Ben Roger and Luke Evangelista were both hurt in training camp for the Knights this year. Roger healed in time to take part in his first NHL camp woth the Ottawa Senators. Evangelista is close to returning to game action.

Liam Gilmartin was hurt at San Jose Sharks camp but was back in the London lineup in Hamilton on Sept. 28. But now two new injuries have popped up. Knights 2020 first round pick Ben Bujold has a charley horse after being kneed by Londoner Liam Van Loon in the third period of the game against the Bulldogs. Goaltender Owen Flores was hurt playing for the London Nationals and will miss the end of the Knights pre-season schedule.

One away

Tonio Stranges is the final Knights player still away at an NHL Training camp.

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Stranges is a fourth round pick of the Dallas Stars dating back to the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He suffered what has been called a shoulder injury while playing for the Stars in the Traverse City Rookie Tournament. He returned to the ice in Dallas on Sept. 30. Stranges played nine games last year with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

Gerard Keane has been released from his try-out with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Keane was a free agent invite to the Columbus rookie camp and his play there earned him a spot in main camp. Keane is 19 years old and is one of the more experience players on the Knights roster having appeared in 84 games from 2018-2020.

Keane was a third round pick of the Knights in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.

Up next

The Knights will complete their pre-season schedule on Friday, Oct. 1 against the Hamilton Bulldogs. London defeated Hamilton 7-2 on Sept. 28 in a game that saw Easton Cowan score twice and Sean McGurn pick up a goal and two assists. 4500 fans will be permitted inside Budweiser Gardens for the game. Puck drop is just after 7:30. Coverage at will begin at 7 pm.

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The regular season kicks off a week later for the Knights as they host the Owen Sound Attack on Oct. 8.

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