The London Knights put forth a valiant effort, but fell short in their quest to start the season 2-and-0.
With the Kingston Frontenacs in town, London had a golden opportunity to start the year on a high note. Unfortunately, the Fronts’ spoiled the Knights party.
After one of the most bizarre overtime frames in recent memory, Kingston managed to take it in a shootout by a score of 6-to-5.
London had a pretty solid grip on a game they let slip away. The Knights built a three goal lead after a Matt Tkachuk wrist shot handcuffed Fronts’ netminder, Jeremy Helvig, but Kingston did not relent.
Tkachuk has been red hot to start his rookie campaign, with six points in two games – but overall he was displeased by the effort.
“You never want to end a weekend back-to-back with a loss,” a dejected Tkachuk stated. “I guess we’ll just try to come out next week and get the win.”
Not long after, momentum started to sway in Kingston’s favour as they notched another tally – courtesy of Jared Steege on another man advantage, cutting the lead to one.
It was a savage game, with 16 penalties total – ten of those being Knight penalties, both teams seemed fairly undisciplined.
“I felt like we kept the discipline more than them, but obviously they just capitalized on their chances,” Tkachuk said.
London managed to maintain the lead throughout the entirety of the game but with 21 seconds remaining in regulation, and the Kingston net empty – Jared Steege threw a dagger into the heart of Bud Gardens, tying the game at five apiece and forcing overtime.
That’s when it started to get really strange. It began with a two-on-one for the Knights. With the game on Aaron Berisha‘s stick, he fired a bullet off the top corner of the iron but appeared to have bounced out from inside the net.
As Berisha raised his arms in triumph, and the refs waved no goal – the puck took a wicked bounce that sprung Kingston winger Spencer Watson on a break, on which – he scored.
Knights players stood there in disbelief as the Frontenacs celebrated their win and made their way off the ice.
They wouldn’t be gone for long though, as the Berisha play went to video review – and for a brief moment, it almost appeared that it would in fact be the Knights who would prevail.
Then again, upon further review, officials realized that they had missed an offside call against London- thus nullifying both goals.
If that wasn’t enough – later on in the frame Kingston even had one disallowed on a high stick.
Berisha described it as one of the strangest sequences he has ever experienced.
“It was a different game, I mean we had like 3 no-goal calls there,” he said. “That high sticking one, the Watson one on the offside. It was definitely a different game. Never had one with that many disallowed goals or that many unsure calls.”
Three goals total, all disallowed and then came the shootout. That’s where the Knights really couldn’t catch a break and on Kingston’s third attempt – winger Juho Lamikko beat Tyler Parsons with a nifty deke move and buried the hatchet.
Owen McDonald, who scored his second goal in as many games tried to see the positives.
“I thought we played well,” McDonald said. “Obviously all the stuff at the end, it was unfortunate break for us that we couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities.
With so many key players up on NHL tryout, McDonald has a chance to be a real cog in terms of leadership, and it shows.
“You know if we bury that empty net, than things turn out a little different but we’ll learn from this and come back out better next game.”
Parsons got the start after sitting out Friday’s game with a minor injury, and although he looked impressive in the first period – he was noticeably shaky through the second and third frames.
The Knights will have a whole six days of rest to forget all about it, and they’ll be back at the Gardens on Friday night to play host to the Windsor Spitfires.