The Knights dropped a 2-1 shootout loss to the Owen Sound Attack, and for the first time in six games they come out on the losing side of a match up.
The loss makes the Knights record this season stand at 16-3-2-2, still good enough for first place in the Ontario Hockey League. The Oshawa Generals aren’t far behind in second place trailing by four points, and the Windsor Spitfires in third are behind by five.
If you looked at one statistic prior to this game the Knights losing would appear to be a big surprise. London had a 19-3-2 record going into Wednesday’s action, but thanks to last night they have an extra “1” at the tail end of that line.
However the high flying offence the team has in spades was shut down and denied repeatedly by Attack goaltender Michael McNiven.
McNiven leads the OHL in Goals Against Average (GAA) coming in before the game at 2.36, and kept the Knights at bay stopping 40 of 41 shots.
Although McNiven stood on his head, the guy at the other end of the ice fared just as well. Tyler Parsons put out another strong effort making 34 saves to make the night an all out war on defence and a frustrating night on offence.
In the first five minutes of the opening frame the Knights were trying to kill off a 5 on 3, after Max Jones sat for hooking followed for roughing in quick succession.
However before Pu could even take a drink the Attack notched a power play tally courtesy of London native Nick Suzuki. That was the center’s 13th goal on the year and 30th point. Suzuki was Owen Sounds first round pick and 14th overall pick in last year’s OHL draft.
The lead held for about eight minutes with both teams trading chances. The Knights tied the game at one when Robert Thomas found the back of the net. Thomas potted his eighth of his season from Sam Militec and Olli Juolevi.
That was the end of the scoring all the way through overtime. Both teams had plenty of chances including on the powerplay, but the defence and goalie stood strong throughout. London failed to convert on all six of their extra man chances while Owen Sound got their lone regulation goal of the five.
Owen Sound took the win after winning 2-1 in the shootout, thanks to converts from Kevin Hancock and Ethan Szypula. Janne Kukkonen scored for London to extend the shootout into the extra rounds, but captain JJ Piccinich couldn’t beat McNiven to put the pressure on the Attack.
When the final horn sound at the end of three on three overtime, so did Cliff Pu’s 18 game point streak. You have to go all the way back to October 1st against the Barrie Colts to see goose eggs next to Pu’s name.
It seems full circle that Pu looks to start another point streak on Friday against the same Colts after being left of the scoresheet.
With the win Owen Sound moves to 13-11-1 on the year and head to Kitchener on Friday to face the Rangers.