If the London Knights claim a consecutive Ontario Hockey League title come springtime, there’s no doubt they’ll look back on Nov. 15 with wide-mouthed grins.
The 14-5-0-2 squad battled back from a 3-0 deficit on Thursday to capture a 4-3 overtime victory over the Oshawa Generals.
London’s leading scorer, Seth Griffith, sniped on the power play with about two minutes left in extra time.
The best player on the ice all night — and the main reason the Knights were able to mount a full comeback — was 17-year-old super star Max Domi.
“You’re down like that, that’s not where you want to be,” said a still breathless Domi, in a post-game interview. “We told ourselves we would come out on top at the end of the game.”
At the 13-minute mark of the third, Domi’s craftiness around the net eventually broke Oshawa goaltender Daniel Altshuller’s shutout. Then, minutes later, scored again, bringing the Knights to within arm’s reach of the Generals seemingly insurmountable lead.
We didn't give up. We worked hard for those bounces — Seth Griffith
With 22 seconds left in regulation, Domi’s good friend and teammate Bo Horvat sent 8,725 at Budweiser Gardens into hysterics, as the Rodney native tied the game up at three a side in thrilling fashion.
“That’s a huge win for us,” Griffith said. “It was pretty quiet (in the dressing room) going into the third.”
In the second, Horvat had a glorious chance to bury one at the hash marks on the penalty kill. He fanned, and the opportunity went to waste. Defenceman Olli Maatta had not one, but two, pucks ricochet off his equipment before passing his own goal line. He also missed a cross-crease pass with an open net staring back his way.
For the first 40 minutes, the bounces didn’t go in the Knights favour. They were outworked by a determined Oshawa club, too.
“At that point, you just have to get one goal at a time. One then two then three,” Domi added. “And that’s what we did. We didn’t get too antsy and make mistakes.”
Starting goaltender Kevin Bailie, playing against his former club, was yanked by Knights head coach Dale Hunter after allowing two goals on 13 shots. In relief, Jake Patterson was solid, stopping 23 of 24.
London scored all of its goals with the man-advantage. Horvat’s came on a too-many-men penalty to the Generals.
Griffith, who ended up with a goal and three assists, coincidentally leapfrogged Oshawa’s Boone Jenner in league scoring. He now has 35 points to Jenner’s 34.
Matt Petgrave, an overage Generals defenceman, left the game with what looked like an arm or hand injury.
The Knights now ride a season-high six-game win streak into a two-game weekend, as they entertain the Owen Sound Attack at home on Friday before traveling to Kitchener to face the Rangers on Sunday.