Flint Firebirds get past London Knights 5-4 in overtime

Dmitry Kuzmin of the Flint Firebirds ended a chance-packed overtime to give the Flint Firebirds a 5-4 victory over the London Knights at the Dort Financial Centre on Wednesday night.

Kuzmin zoomed in on a rush from centre, cut in from the left side and scored his 16th of the season with just 39 seconds remaining in OT. Each team had five shots on goal in an overtime that raced back and forth, saw three breakaways and a hit post by London forward Camaryn Baber before Kuzmin put a stop to it all.

Baber had a dynamite night for London with a goal and an assist against a Flint team that he used to face at least eight times a season when Baber was a member of the Saginaw Spirit. Baber also won 62.5 percent of his faceoffs.

The Knights came into the third period trailing 4-2. Max McCue brought them to within a goal at the 4:00 mark and then Luke Evangelista tied the game with his OHL leading 51st goal of the season with one minute and 32 seconds remaining in regulation.

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Read more: Evangelista and Flores shine big in London Knights victory against the Storm

Tonio Stranges scored his 29th of the season just 45 seconds into the game. Coulson Pitre tied the game before the end of the opening 20 minutes.

The second period was highlighted by a 46-second span on a London power play that saw the Firebirds score two short-handed goals and Baber score on the power play for the Knights. Flint owns the league’s best penalty-killing unit.

Stranges also had a goal and an assist while Knights defenceman Kirill Steklov had two assists.

Former Knight Sahil Panwar scored twice and was named the game’s first star.

The teams combined for 87 shots as the Firebirds outshot London 47-40.

Owen Flores made 42 saves for the Knights. Luke Cavallin made 36 stops in net for Flint.

The Knights were missing Gerard Keane who was serving the first game of a three-game suspension for a cross-check on Cameron Allen of the Guelph Storm on March 27. Keane had not missed a game over the first 59 London had played this year. He will be eligible to return to the lineup on Apr. 6 in Saginaw, Mich.

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Century Club

Luke Evangelista is the 52nd Knights player to record at least 100 points in a season. The trio of Reg Thomas, Dennis Ververgaert and Randy Osburn were the first to do it in the 1971-72 season.

Chris Taylor and Dennis Maruk hit 100 points three times. Dave Simpson still holds the London record with 155 points in 1981-82. Simpson was named Canadian Hockey League player of the year that season.

Read more: London Knights: Back in time — May 11 (Part 1)

OHL Cup – Day 1

The London Jr. Knights and Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs got off to tough starts at the 2022 OHL Cup in Toronto, Ont. The Jr. Knights lost 4-2 to the Northern Ontario Hockey Association.

London will face the Vaughan Kings on Day 2. Elgin-Middlesex played twice on Day 1. They dropped a 5-2 decision to the U.S.-based TPH Thunder in the morning and then fell 6-0 to the Toronto Jr. Canadiens at night.

Read more: Tye McSorley’s hat trick leads London past Owen Sound to open three-game weekend

Up next

Another dose of Knights and Firebirds happens on Friday, Apr. 1. No fooling. The game will mark the final meeting between the two clubs in the regular season.

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The month of April will be slightly less hectic for London. They will play eight games in 17 days as opposed to the 15 in 30 that they dealt with in March.

Coverage of the Knights at Flint will begin at 7 pm on 980 CFPL at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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