Avery Hayes and Tucker Robertson each scored twice and Londoner Michael Simpson made 51 saves as the Peterborough Petes evened the OHL Championship series at a game apiece with a 5-3 victory at Budweiser Gardens on Saturday night.
The Petes handed the Knights their first loss on home ice in the 2023 playoffs.
London carried a 3-2 lead into the third period, but three goals by Peterborough put the Petes back in front for the third time in the game and they held on from there as the Knights pulled goaltender Zach Bowen with over four minutes remaining in the game.
Peterborough scored the first first-period goal in the series when Robertson was able to take advantage of a miscue in centre ice, when two London players bumped into each other just outside the Knights’ blue line and the puck popped right to Brennan Othmann of the Petes. He crossed into the London zone and fed Robertson, who wristed in his sixth goal of the post-season.
That goal ended a shutout streak by Bowen at 120 minutes and three seconds.
The second period was wild. All-caps WILD.
It had everything from the usual hits and blocks, a string of penalties and even a goal scored from centre ice.
The Knights tied the game on a one-timer from rookie defenceman Sam Dickinson at the 6:38 mark and then the run of penalty calls began.
Easton Cowan was given a roughing penalty after a whistle.
On the ensuing penalty kill, Sean McGurn skated toward the Peterborough net and was knocked to his knees. No penalty was called on the play, but McGurn was signalled for an unsportsmanlike conduct call as he skated back toward the play and the Petes cashed in on the 5-on-3 man advantage on a goal from the left side of the London zone by Avery Hayes. That made it 2-1 for the Petes at 10:46 of the second period.
McGurn served his penalty, came out of the box, broke up a play at the Knights’ blue line and turned up ice. The London co-captain crossed the red line and could have dumped the puck, but instead shot it on goal and it went in to tie the game 2-2 at the 12:38 mark.
The penalties were not finished there as Owen Beck caught London forward Denver Barkey with a high hit that was ruled a check to the head. Beck was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Logan Mailloux scored his seventh goal of the playoffs to put the Knights in front with just over five minutes remaining in the period on a hard shot that went over the glove of Simpson on the man advantage.
Peterborough defenceman Donovan McCoy knotted the game 3-3 at 8:14 of the final 20 minutes as he kept a puck in at the blue line that Bowen had wristed around the boards and shot it at the London net before Bowen could get completely set.
Less than two minutes after that Hayes lifted a pass ahead to a breaking Robertson. He deked to his backhand and put the puck across the goal line for a 4-3 Peterborough lead.
Hayes closed out the scoring with his third point on the night as he swooped around the Knight goal, past two defenders who had fallen, and beat Bowen with a high shot.
Hayes was named the game’s second star.
Robertson had two goals and two assists to lead all scorers.
London outshot the Petes 54-27.
Peterborough was 1-for-3 on the power play. The Knights were 1-for 6.
Jacob Julien missed the game with a non-COVID related illness.
Brett Brochu remained out of the London lineup with a lower-body injury.
Petes captain Shawn Spearing was listed on the lineup and took warm-up, but did not play in the game. Spearing suffered a broken jaw in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. Petes forward Jonathan Melee also missed the game with a foot injury.
Surge of Winter-ton
The OHL season extends through all four seasons of the year. It begins with training camps in the late stages of summer and wraps up right before summer starts again.
Ryan Winterton’s year has felt like three very distinct seasons. Winterton missed training camp and all of fall recovering from shoulder surgery. He was traded to the Knights by the Hamilton Bulldogs on Jan. 2 with Ryan Humphrey and made his London debut four nights later. By late January his timing was beginning to return and his offence picked up.
The Whitby, Ont., native ended the regular season with eight points in his last four games. Winterton has stepped those stats up even more in the playoffs. He recorded a seven-game point streak from the start of the Western Conference final through to Game 2 of the OHL Championship and has put up points in ten straight games overall.
Winterton has also acted as the ultimate closer for the Knights. He scored an empty-net goal in all four London victories in the Western Conference final (three of those from his own end) and then began the OHL Championship series with a Game 1 empty-netter against Peterborough.
Petes defenceman Gauvreau set to return
Peterborough will get a major boost on defence back for Game 3 of the OHL Championship Series.
Defenceman Cam Gauvreau was suspended four games after being assed a major penalty and a game misconduct for a hit on North Bay Battalion forward in Game 5 of the OHL’s Eastern Conference final. Gauvreau turned 20-years old in March and has also played for North Bay and the Saginaw Spirit during his Ontario Hockey League career.
Petes captain Shawn Spearing suffered a broken jaw blocking a shot in Peterborough’s clinching Game 7 victory over the Battalion and although he was listed on the Petes lineup for Game 2 he did not play.
The OHL Championship Series shifts to Peterborough, Ont., for games three and four. Game 3 will take place on Monday, May 14 at 7 p.m., and Game 4 will be Wednesday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m.
The Petes are 7-1 on home ice in the 2023 post-season. London is 4-3.
The Knights led the Ontario Hockey League in road wins in the regular season with 23 in 34 games.
Coverage of Game 3 will begin at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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