London Knights win first leg of ‘Official Battle of 402’ – London

Denver Barkey and Logan Mailloux each had a goal and an assist as the London Knights defeated the Sarnia Sting 7-5 in Sarnia, Ont., on Friday night.

Before the game, the rivalry between the Knights and the Sting received an additional injection with the unveiling of the Battle of the 402, sponsored by Finch Auto Group in London, Ontario, and by Finch Ford-Lincoln (operated by the former Knight Mark Guy) in Sarnia, Ontario.

Regular season games between the teams will be counted and a trophy will have the name of the regular season series winner engraved year after year.

Both teams came out hungry and nailed the opening faceoff, but London quickly took control with three first-period goals.

Mathieu Paris scored his first in the OHL at 3:45 as Jacob Julien found him with an assist and Paris fired a shot past Nicholas Surzycia for a 1-0 Knights lead.

The story continues under the ad

Barkey worked a puck in the Sting slot less than three minutes later and set up Sam Dickinson for his fourth goal of the season.

Just over four minutes later, Brody Crane stole the puck for the Sarnia side and slipped a pass to Easton Cowan for his ninth and a 3-0 lead in 20 minutes.

Isaiah George and Logan Mailloux scored just 20 seconds apart on two rocket shots in a 4-on-4 second-half situation to extend London’s lead to 5-0, before the Sting took advantage of a few power play opportunities to tighten things up at 5-2.

Those goals rocked the sold-out crowd at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena, but Knights veterans George Diaco and Sean McGurn got to work calming things down. McGurn saved a puck on the blue line and slipped a pass to Diaco on the left side of the Sarnia zone and snuck into the crease. Diaco fed McGurn and he scored his 14th goal of the year and it was 6-2 for the Knights heading into the third period.

In a game with a four-goal lead, the third period can be a bit sleepy at times. London and the Sting kept everyone awake as they combined for four more goals. Nolan Burke completed the hat trick by scoring around Barkey’s eighth of the year.

The story continues under the ad

Later in the period, Porter Martone of Sarnia tackled Knights goaltender Zach Bowen, a skirmish broke out and Mailloux of London was assessed a match penalty.

Martone received a two-minute minor on the play and Sarnia’s Nolan Dillingham cashed in the ensuing 4-for-4 to bring the Sting down to under a pair and that’s where the score finally ended.

Bowen made 22 saves for London as Sarnia outshot the Knights 27-26.

London have now won 17 of their last 19 games.

Read more:

Hockey fans celebrate the return of the world junior championships to Halifax

The Battle of the 402

The Knights and the Sting have played a home and away streak to end a calendar year and often start another dating back to the 2002-03 season. London have a decisive advantage with a record of 29-6-4.

The Knights have swept the duel 11 times. Sarnia is still looking for its first serial sweep. London’s last regulation loss in the two-game series was on New Year’s Eve 2009 when Sting goaltender Shayne Campbell made 40 saves in a 4-3 win at Sarnia.

Read more:

Emotional win propels London Knights to top spot in Western Conference

The story continues under the ad

Bowen grows

Zach Bowen ran his personal winning streak to six games as he held off the Sting for his sixth overall victory in his rookie season in the OHL. Bowen has made 104 saves in his last three wins. The Kanata, Ont., native was London’s fourth-round pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Draft.

Bowen posted save percentages of .930 with the Embrun Panthers and .933 with the Ottawa Junior Senators in 2021-22.

Read more:

Big Brett Brochu night leads London to conquer Owen Sound


London and Sarnia will close 2022 with a second meeting in less than 24 hours.

The teams will face off at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve at Budweiser Gardens.

Coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. at 980 CFPL, and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Back to top button