Sarnia Sting use trio of goaltenders to beat London Knights 3-2

A player who entered the game partway through the second period ended up being one of the biggest differences in a 3-2 Sarnia Sting victory over the London Knights on Saturday afternoon at Budweiser Gardens.

Sarnia goaltender Anson Thornton became the third Sting goaltender to stand in the Sarnia crease but he turned aside every shot he faced to help the Sting hang on.

Ben Gaudreau began the game in net for Sarnia but was shaken up after a collision in the first period after a save on Jackson Edward of the Knights in tight. Gaudreau was examined after the whistle and stayed in the goal for the remainder of the first 20 minutes but it was determined during the first intermission that he would not return to the net.

Thornton was apparently not feeling 100 per cent heading into the game but was OK in a backup role. Since the Sting had a third goalie in attendance in Dylan Grover, he was called in to take over. Grover actually wore Gaudreau’s equipment and jersey, which created a delay to start the second period while he got dressed.

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Midway through the middle period, Thornton felt OK enough to enter the net as the score sat 2-2 and made save after save from there until the final buzzer sounded.

All of that took place on a day that is normally highlighted by the tossing of thousands of teddy bears. The Knights held their 20th annual Teddy Bear Toss, which brought down a total of 6,300 bears for the Salvation Army.

The goal that brought down the bears came at 7:59 of the opening period as London forward Landon Sim flew down the left-wing side of the ice all by himself and snapped a puck low to the ice and past Gaudreau to tie the game 1-1. Sarnia had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal that came on an early 5-on-3 man advantage.

Read more: Brett Brochu and Luke Evangelista named to Team Canada world junior selection camp

In the second period, the Sting struck again on the power play as Nolan DeGurse buried a one-timer from the right side of the London end seconds after a 5-on-3 man advantage had ended. A double-minor for high-sticking left two minutes on the penalty clock and the Knights still killing a penalty.

Luke Evangelista brought the puck up the ice short-handed and set up Isaiah George for George’s first Ontario Hockey League goal to tie the game 2-2.

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On that same penalty kill, Evangelista took a drop pass from Max McCue and appeared to score a second short-handed goal and give London its first lead, however, the play was quickly reviewed and ruled offside and the goal was disallowed.

It was at that point that Thornton entered the game and worked his magic through the rest of the contest.

The eventual winning goal came minutes later and fit the events of the day perfectly. Brett Brochu raced out of his net and won a race to a puck with a big poke check to deny a Sarnia scoring chance and as he got back into his crease, a shot by Nolan DeGurse deflected off a body and popped over the head of Brochu and into the Knights net.

London outshot the Sting 38-22 and will now head for Kitchener and a game against the Rangers on Dec. 7.

Read more: Knights goaltender Brett Brochu back in the net intent on being even better

Two golds and a silver

A whole lot of hardware came back to London, Ont., from the Capital City Challenge in Ottawa. The nearly week-long tournament wrapped up on Dec. 1 as Denver Barkey and Oliver Bonk of the Knights were part of a 5-4 overtime victory over London teammate Easton Cowan.

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The event featured three Under-17 teams made up of players from the OHL, QMJHL and WHL and also Canada’s national women’s team, who used the tournament format as a tune-up for the Beijing Olympics.

Bonk had a goal and four assists in five games. Barkey had five assists in five games. Both played for gold medal-winning Team Black. Cowan was a member of Team Red and scored twice and added two assists.

Read more: London Knights knock off Erie Otters in return home after four-game road trip

Up next

London heads for Kitchener on Dec. 7 for its third meeting of the season with the Rangers. The Knights swept a home-and-home series on Nov. 20 and 21, outscoring Kitchener 10-3. Evangelista had eight points in those two games.

Evangelista and Brochu are getting set to head to Calgary to take part in Team Canada’s final selection camp for the world junior hockey championship.

The Rangers came through a miserable November that saw them post a .300 winning percentage. That ranked second-worst in the OHL behind Niagara’s .150.

Kitchener started its December schedule with a 4-3 victory over Owen Sound in a nasty, penalty-filled game featuring two ejections.

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Coverage of the Knights and Rangers will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 on 980 CFPL, at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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