Ryan Winterton’s goal at 2:43 of overtime completed a three-goal third period comeback by the London Knights as they edged the Sarnia Sting 4-3.
The Knights had to be thinking that it just wasn’t their night.
They entered the final 20 minutes trailing the Sting 3-0 in Sarnia, Ont., on Saturday night and scored 41 seconds into the period.
The goal was reviewed and waved off as an offside.
Not their night, right?
London’s Max McCue pounced on a loose puck deep in Sting territory on a penalty kill and snapped it by a diving Ben Gaudreau and into the Sarnia net to make it 3-1.
That happened with 11:31 remaining in regulation time.
And it got the Knights buzzing in what Sting fans call “The Hive.”
Londoner George Diaco forced a shot past Gaudreau with 5:05 left in the third to get London within one and, 59 seconds later, Ethan MacKinnon took a slick feed from Easton Cowan and scored to tie the game.
It was Cowan who set up Winterton in overtime as well on a two-on-one and Winterton finished the play beautifully as he lifted the puck past Gaudreau.
The Sting racked up their three goals in the opening 20 minutes.
Christian Kyrou of Komoka, Ont., took a pass from Nolan Burke and beat Zach Bowen at the 5:34 mark of the first period.
That was followed by an individual effort from Sandis Vilmanis of the Sting where he just willed himself to the net and scored on a backhand.
Then Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Mast skated deep into the London end and swept a pass in front to Zach Filak and he scored on his namesake to make it 3-0 for Sarnia.
Bowen and Sting goaltender Ben Gaudreau held things scoreless in the second period.
Bowen stopped Anaheim Ducks draft pick Sasha Pastujov on a breakaway and Blue Jackets prospect Luca Del Bel Belluz in tight.
Bowen made 30 saves for his 15th consecutive victory.
The Knights are now 20-4 on the road.
They also have a six points to three advantage in the first annual Battle of the 402 series with two games remaining.
London and the Sting will meet at Budweiser Gardens on Feb. 24.
O’Reilly on fire again
Sam O’Reilly is having himself a year with the London Nationals. The Knights’ second round pick in 2022 has come up large in the Nats’ push for first place in the GOJHL’s Western Conference. O’Reilly has 19 points in his past six games and has moved into the team lead in scoring at just 16 years old. The Nationals are one point back of the Leamington Flyers for first place. London is in Chatham, Ont., tomorrow to face the Maroons with one week to go in the regular season.
Franco Sproviero off to Kalamazoo of the ECHL
Western Mustang forward and former Sarnia Sting defenceman Franco Sproviero is kicking off his pro career in Kalamazoo, Mich. Sproviero spent four years and three hockey seasons at Western and scored 30 goals and recorded 78 points in 64 games. Sproviero played his entire OHL career in his hometown of Sarnia, Ont., on defence before switching to forward in university. Sproviero joins former Knight Justin Taylor who is the captain of the K-Wings and is the franchise’s all-time games-played leader. Londoner Justin Murray also plays for Kalamazoo. Murray spent his OHL career with the Barrie Colts. The K-Wings are battling to get themselves into a playoff spot in the ECHL’s Western Conference.
The Knights are going to spend Family Day with another close rival in the Windsor Spitfires.
The clubs will play their third game of the season against one another at 2 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens.
London won the first game 6-1 in Windsor, Ont., and then the Spitfires posted a 4-1 victory over the Knights in London, Ont., on Jan. 15.
Coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.