The Ontario Hockey League doesn’t post pre-season boxscores online. It’s safe to say the Sarnia Sting are thankful for that reality, for the time being at least, after enduring a 8-2 beatdown on Friday night.
With star forward Alex Galchenyuk and veteran netminder J.P. Anderson scratched, Sarnia faltered hard versus the London Knights on opening night of the 2012-13 exhibition schedule.
Chicago Blackhawks draft pick Alex Broadhurst — a shifty 19-year-old centre brought in by Knights general manager Mark Hunter via the 2012 OHL draft — sniped a hat-trick and added two assists in his first appearance in front of the John Labatt Centre faithful.
Broadhurst refuses to take all of the credit, however.
“I couldn’t tell ‘ya,” he said, when asked what went his way in the ultra impressive debut, “I guess I had a horseshoe up my butt tonight.”
While the Knights juggled their lines a fair bit in the victory, including putting Broadhurst in between a few different pairs of wingers, him and Brett Welychka seemed to click.
On the former United States Hockey Leaguer’s second goal, Welychka fed him a nice tape-to-tape pass on a 2-on-1. Like all three of his markers, all Broadhurst had to do was slide it in.
“I had two goals at one point, then had a semi-breakaway and missed,” he explained. “I can’t score goals, but I can score the easy tap-ins.”
Another one of London’s newcomers, overage goaltender Kevin Bailie, was solid in the crease by night’s end. After allowing two goals in the first five minutes of play, he settled into a groove and never looked back.
They're crazy about the Knights up here. It's like being a celebrity. When I played in the USHL it was somewhat like that — the fans know you — but here you're very well recognized. — Broadhurst
The game’s ‘pre-season’ tag didn’t phase the OHL West Division squads, with Knights twin Ryan Rupert fighting Sarnia’s Craig Hottot in the third period. As well, one of Rupert’s teammates, Jack Nevins — also sliding on a London jersey for the first time on Friday — was assessed a game misconduct in the dying minutes.
Even the finesse players got in on the rough-it-up fun, as Max Domi found himself tangled up in a battle behind the net in the middle of the final frame. Unfortunately for the 17-year-old, he was forced to leave the game shortly after in order to tend to a minor injury.
“He twisted his ankle a bit, and we’ll see how he is in the morning,” Knights assistant coach Jeff Paul said. “He’s all right.”