Sarnia Sting defeat London Knights in final game of Battle of the 402

Luca Del Bel Belluz and Sasha Pastujov each scored twice as the Sarnia Sting knocked off the London Knights 6-1 at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia, Ont., on Friday night.

The Sarnia Sting led the Knights 1-0 after the first period. Del Bel Belluz actually scored twice in the opening 20 minutes. Both times on the power play.

The first goal was disallowed because of a goaltender interference penalty handed to Nolan Burke of Sarnia, but the second one gave Del Bel Belluz his 35th goal on the season.

Del Bel Belluz banged in his 36th goal at 2:21 of the second period on another Sting man advantage to make it 2-0 and then Anaheim Ducks prospect Sasha Pastujov deked a puck past Zach Bowen in the London net less than three minutes later and Sarnia led by three.

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Ryan Winterton of the Knights got one of those goals back on a Knights power play at the 12:48 mark of the second as he grabbed a puck in behind the Sting net, got in front and lifted a shot over the shoulder of Sarnia netminder Ben Gaudreau.

Sarnia scored two early goals in the final period as Pastujov got his second on his own rebound and Sandis Vilmanis cut across the slot to the net and scored to made it 5-1 Sting.

Nolan Burke scored on a 5-on-3 power play with 7:33 remaining in the final period to finish the scoring.

Bowen made 35 stops in the game. His biggest of the night was a bit of a toss-up between one of his first as he stretched to his right to rob Marcus Limpar-Lantz on a rebound to the left of the London net or a stop Bowen made in the second period when he lunged to his left to snag a Ty Voit shot out of the air with his glove.

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Gaudreau made 23 saves in goal for the Sting.

The Windsor Spitfires were beaten 4-1 in Flint, Mich., so the Knights remain two points ahead of Windsor in first place in the OHL’s Western Conference. Both teams have nine games remaining.

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Brett Bro-Shootout

On March 2 in Windsor, Brett Brochu won the eighth shootout of his career.

Eight shootout victories sounds impressive over the course of an OHL career, but the stat jumps off the screen when you add the number of shootout losses the Belle River, Ont., native has: Zero.

In three seasons Brochu has been perfect. And he hasn’t just been helping the Knights win shootouts. Brochu has been keeping shooters off the scoreboard. In those eight shootouts the 2021-22 OHL Goaltender of the Year has allowed a total of 7 goals. He has made 30 saves.

In a stretch this season, Brochu stopped 11 consecutive shooters in four separate games. London is 7-0 in shootouts in 2022-23. Zach Bowen is following in Brochu’s footsteps. Bowen is perfect as well at 2-0 in his rookie season.

Max Domi to Dallas

NHL trade deadline day was not the most eventual day in hockey history but hours before it kicked off one more former London Knights was given a new address.

Max Domi went from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Dallas Stars with former Peterborough Petes goalie Dylan Wells for goaltender Anton Khudobin and a 2nd round pick. Domi is set to make his third trip to the NHL playoffs. The Stars currently sit atop the Western Conference standings.

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Up next

The Knights head north beginning on March 9 for three games in four days against Central Division teams.

London’s trip will begin in Barrie, Ont., against the Colts. The Knights last played Barrie on Nov.11, 2022 and the game went to overtime where Landon Sim won it when he buried a Sean McGurn rebound for London’s second consecutive overtime victory. They went on to win four more in a row after that.

Following the game in Barrie, Ont., the Knights will head to Sudbury, Ont., on March 10 and then North Bay, Ont., on March 12 before completing eight games in a row on the road against the Guelph Storm three days later.

Coverage of all games can be heard on 980 CFPL, at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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