London Knights beat Sting in pre-season shootout – London

London Knights beat Sting in pre-season shootout - London

With a very young lineup on the ice in Sarnia, Ontario, the chances of taking a second straight pre-season win over the Sting against the London Knights on Saturday night were high.

But the youngsters got through.

London led a veteran-laden lineup of Sarnia 4-3 in a shootout, as rookie goalkeeper Zach Bowen stopped all three shooters he encountered and Ruslan Gazizov scored the only goal.

The teams exchanged goals to start the first period when Florida Panthers prospect Sandis Vilmanis took a pass into the slot and ripped a shot past Owen Willmore into the London net.

The Knights tied the game on a power play when Denver Barkey found Abakar Kazbekov on the right side of the Sarnia net. Kazbekov put a puck on the right stick of Ruslan Gazizov who came in on the left backboards, then Gazizov scored.

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A stranger brought the Sting back to the forefront in the closing minute of the 20-minute opening, when Tyson Doucette threw the puck into the London end from outside the blue line. The puck bounced once and Willmore put on his glove to catch it, but the puck bounced a second time right in front of Willmore, leaping over his glove into the net for a 2-1 Sting advantage.

Kaeden Johnston scored the only goal of the second period when he went one-on-one with Gaudreau on the edge of the crease. A steal in the center saw Kazbekov feed Ben Bujold, who found Johnston alone up front. Johnston waited, pretended and defeated Gaudreau with a high shot and the score remained 2-2 over two periods of play.

The Knights and Sting won’t see each other again until December 30. They play six regular season games against each other.

Michael Levin gave London a 3-2 lead in the third period thanks to a long feed from Carsen Lloyd and a shot into the top corner at Gaudreau, but Sarnia tied the game at 3:30 when Angus MacDonell scored on a power play.

That ended the scoring in the regulations and led the way to the shootout. Overtime is avoided in the preseason.

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The Sting defeated London 28-24 in the match.

Evangelista ready for Nashville

Luke Evangelista is the captain of the London Knights, scoring 55 goals a year ago into his first season as a professional hockey player. The Oakville, Ontario native has one goal for this season.

“I want to play one game in the NHL,” Evangelista says.

The Nashville Predators selected Evangelista in the 2nd round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Owen Sound for opening night

The Knights will play pre-season games against the Erie Otters on September 23 at Budweiser Gardens and September 24 in Clinton, Ontario, then will be ready for the start of their regular season on October 7.

London will host Owen Sound for the second year running. Sean McGurn scored the match winner when the Knights won 3-2 in a shootout in 2021. In the Hunter era last year and this year, the only times London and the Attack have met are in the Knights’ first match.

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London played Windsor and Peterborough three times each on opening night dating back to 2000.

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