A pair of one-timers snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as the London Knights edged the Peterborough Petes 3-2 at the Peterborough Memorial Centre on Oct. 12.
London found themselves trailing 2-1 with less than 20 seconds remaining and had their net empty.
They had been zipping the puck around the Peterborough zone trying to find open looks.
Denver Barkey got the puck at the middle of the blue line and slid it to Sam Dickinson and he pounded a shot past Liam Sztuska and into the Peterborough net with 16.4 seconds left on the clock.
“I actually fanned on the pass,” smiled Barkey.
Dickinson figures that may have actually helped him.
“It allowed me to get into position to shoot,” he said.
That sent the game to three-on-three overtime where a penalty to Jonathan Melee gave the Knights a power play and Oliver Bonk got Sam O’Reilly the puck deep in the Peterborough end.
“I came around the net,” described O’Reilly, “and thought about passing to (Jacob) Julien but didn’t want to jam him up. Then I saw (Isaiah) George coming down the wall and he called game from there.”
Londoner Michael Simpson was outstanding in goal in his return to Peterborough. He was honoured before the game and then stopped 40 of the 42 shots he faced.
The first period went through 20 scoreless minutes but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
The clubs combined for six minor penalties that resulted in six separate power plays and put two of the top four power plays on the ice for some extended minutes, but the penalty killers stepped in lanes, blocked shots and did the general hard labour that it takes to keep the other side from finding the back of the net.
London killed off four more minors to begin the second period that included 1:59 worth of a Peterborough two-man advantage and then got a chance to turn their attention toward the other end of the ice.
Cowan and Jacob Julien raced into the Petes zone on a two-on-one just past the midway mark of the period and Cowan snapped a shot past Peterborough goalie Liam Sztuska for his first goal in his first game since returning from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Cowan got another opportunity to score when he was hauled down and drew a penalty shot, but this time Stzuska stopped him and kept the game 1-0.
The score stayed that way until the 18:38 mark of the second when a scramble around the Knight net saw Michael Simpson make at least two stops before Sam Mayer of the Petes lifted the puck over his former teammate and sent the game into the final 20 minutes tied 1-1.
With London on a power play in the first minute of the third period, Peterborough’s Jax Dubois stole a puck inside the Knights blue line, cut to the net and scored to give the Petes a 2-1 lead.
Peterborough still led into the final minute and London was short-handed following a major penalty to Max McCue for a check from behind. The Knights had been playing with the net empty for more than two minutes but neither team could find a way to score. The Petes were tying to put the game away and London was trying to tie.
With 57 seconds left, Connor Lockhart was penalized for tripping and that gave London a 5-on-4 man advantage with Simpson still on the bench.
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With 16.4 seconds to go, Barkey slid a pass to Sam Dickinson and he blasted a one-timer into the Petes net to send the game to overtime and George ended the game with his blast from Sam O’Reilly at 3:35.
Barkey had two assists in the game and now has five points in his past two games.
The Knights were a perfect 9-for-9 on the penalty kill.
The Petes outshot London 42-37.
Knights add another Boulton
Ryder Boulton is already well on his way to being a fan favourite in London and now the Knights have added his brother Sawyer, who signed as a free agent on Oct. 12. Sawyer Boulton has been playing for the Rochester Jr. Americans of the North American Hockey League where he had three goals and two assists in 10 games to go along with 49 penalty minutes.
In 2022-23, Sawyer played for the El Paso Rhinos of the NAHL where he had 110 minutes in penalties in 30 games. Both Boultons are the sons of former NHLer Eric Boulton who was coached by London general manager Mark Hunter in the mid-1990s and then went on to play 654 games in the National Hockey League.
Former Knights in stripes
The NHL season began with 26 former London Knights on National Hockey League rosters but the Knights connections do not end there.
On Oct. 12 in Dallas, the Stars played host to former London forward Robert Thomas and the St. Louis Blues and former Knights defencemen Kyle Flemington and Tommy Hughes were working the lines as two of the four officials on the ice. Corey Syvret who played in the OHL in London and in Guelph is an NHL referee as is Londoner Carter
London will continue three games in three nights by returning home to host the Kingston Frontenacs on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
Kingston is led by former Windsor Spitfires forward Ethan Miedema who began the year with eight points in five games.
The Knights will head for Sarnia on Saturday for a rematch of the OHL Western Conference Championship against the Sting.
Despite all kinds of last year’s club moving on, Sarnia has started the year 3-2 and sits second overall in the OHL in goals scored.
Coverage for both games will begin at 6:30 p.m., on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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