Denver Barkey stayed red hot for the London Knights but even his three goals were not enough to pick up a third victory in three nights as London fell 5-3 to the Sting in Sarnia on Oct. 14.
Twice the Knights were able to cut the Sarnia lead to a goal but both times the Sting came right back to push ahead by a pair. They held on through a 6-on-4 man advantage late to take the first leg of the Battle of the 402 between the two clubs. It will culminate in the awarding of the Finch Cup to the winner of the regular season series between the teams.
Barkey completed his hat trick in the third period and now has seven goals and the Flyers prospect now has ten points in his past four games.
Sarnia struck first by getting a goal from Roman Kukumberg at 4:53 of the first period.
Lukas Fischer set up Sandis Vilmanis on the right side of the Knights zone on a 5-on-3 Sting man advantage to increase the Sarnia lead to 2-0 at 14:18 of the second period.
That ended London’s run of 25 consecutive penalty kills. The goal was just the second power play goal that the Knights have surrendered in eight games this season.
Barkey’s first goal with 1:37 remaining in the second period was set up by Easton Cowan found his linemate sneaking into the slot and Barkey fired a shot off the post an in past Nick Surzycia.
That had the Knights within one but for only 23 seconds.
Sarnia came racing down the ice and a Vilmanis shot pinballed off a leg right to Mitch Young. The defenceman from Elmira ripped in his third goal of the year to give the Sting a 3-1 advantage going into the third period.
A power play goal by Tyson Doucette made it 4-1 at the 6:13 mark of the third period but Barkey cut the lead to two goals just before the midway mark of the period as he converted a pass from Brody Crane.
Barkey then waited outside a scrum in front of the Sarnia net and the puck came to him. He slid home his third of the game unassisted with 5:11 to go in regulation time.
It took just 27 seconds for the Sting to restore their two-goal lead as Cooper Way headed into the London zone on a 2-on-1 with Kukumberg. Way used Kukumberg as a decoy and snapped a shot past Michael Simpson of the Knights to complete the scoring.
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Sarnia outshot London 33-32 in the game.
A shorty party
London’s three short-handed goals against the Kingston Frontenacs on Oct. 13 were the most they have scored in a single game since the 2012-13 season. (Geoffrey Brandow) On Jan. 24, 2013 the Knights scored four short-handed goals in an 11-1 win over the 67’s in Ottawa. Tyler Ferry, Seth Griffith, Josh Anderson and Max Domi all cashed in while London was down a man. Domi and Chris Tierney each recorded a hat trick in that game. The Knights power play unit also went 4-for-7 meaning special teams accounted for eight of the 11 goals that night.
The Knights will make their first trip to the city of Brantford since the 1983-84 season.
The Bulldogs relocated from Hamilton to Brantford in time for the 2023-24 season and the plan is currently for them to spend three seasons in Brantford before returning to Hamilton. The city of Brantford has already expressed that they would like to have the Bulldogs stay longer.
Londoner Noah Nelson plays for Brantford as does Delhi’s Marek Vanacker and former Knights Ben Bujold and Luca Testa.
Coverage will begin at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, atand on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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