The Niagara IceDogs were edged 7-6 in a shootout by the London Knights after a thrilling, fast-paced game at the Gatorade Garden City Complex Thursday night.
London opened the scoring just over seven minutes into the first as Stephen Sanza beat Mark Visentin for his 15th of the season from Jarred Tinordi.
The IceDogs answered right back at the 7:59 mark as Ryan Strome let a wicked wrist-shot go from just inside the circle after accepting a perfect pass from Jason Wilson, while Shayne Rover also picked up an assist on the play.
The score would remain at a 1-1 tie going into the first intermission.
Niagara thought they got things going early in the second as Jason Wilson blasted a shot past Knights’ goalie Michael Houser, but the goal was called off as Ryan Strome made incidental contact with the goaltender preventing him from being able to make the stop, and the game remained tied at one.
Returning in his first game back from a four game suspension, Johnson Andrews gave the ‘Dogs their first lead of the night with a huge goal that came by tipping in a Mike Schwindt point shot. IceDogs rookie Billy Jenkins would also record his first career OHL point with an assist on the goal.
The Knights kept the scoring rally alive by answering Andrews’ goal with two more of their own both coming on the power play from Stephen Sanza, who notched his second of the game, while Jared Knight also scored to give the game a 3-2 score in London’s favour.
When Andrew Agozzino is sent on a breakaway, he means business. The IceDogs captain made no mistake in beating Houser with a beautiful wrist shot to notch his 30th tally of the season and tie the game 3-3.
Jared Knight answered Agozzino’s goal while London was on a five-on-three power play to pick up his second of the game and put his team ahead once again.
The fast-paced trend of the game would only continue in the dying seconds of the period as Dougie Hamilton recorded his 9th goal of the season on the power play by walking in from the point and making a nifty move to beat Houser after accepting an impressive cross-crease pass from his brother Freddie.
The two teams would head into their respective dressing rooms with an even score of 4-4 after 40 minutes of play.
Andrew Agozzino continued to work hard in the third as he muscled his way into the slot allowing him to tap in an Alex Friesen rebound to pick up his second goal of the game five minutes into the period.
With Ryan Strome going off for cross-checking at the 14:05 mark of the third, the Knights red-hot power play would go to work once again, and they tied the game 5-5 with the goal coming from rookie Ryan Rupert.
Shortly after the London goal, Freddie Hamilton continued to showcase his elite passing skill as he sent the puck right onto the stick of Jason Wilson, who hammered it home for his second point of the night, giving the ‘Dogs a 6-5 lead late in the third.
London was not ready to give up yet as they pulled their goaltender and Ryan Rupert sniped a shot over the shoulder of Visentin to make it a 6-6 game, sending it into overtime.
After both Jared Knight and Darren Archibald scored in the first round of the shootout, the next four shooters missed, and Vladislav Namestnikov would score the shootout winner to give the Knights a 7-5 victory in Niagara.
The IceDogs will finish their weekend on a two-game U.S. road trip as they face the Plymouth Whalers on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7:05 p.m., before visiting the Saginaw Spirit on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 7:11 p.m.
– Jeff Blay, Media Relations
1. LND Sanza (15) Tinordi) 7:28
1. NIAG Strome (25) (Wilson, Rover) 7:59
2. NIAG Andrews (4) (Schwindt, Jenkins) 6:19
2. LDN Sanza (16) (Knight, Martin) 10:56 (PP)
2. LDN Knight (20) (Griffith) 12:07 (PP)
2. NIAG Agozzino (30) (Pacan, Gronvaldt) 14:56
2. LDN Knight (21) (Griffith) 18:18 (PP)
2. NIAG D. Hamilton (9) (F. Hamilton, Strome) 18:46 (PP)
3. NIAG Agozzino (31) (Friesen, D. Hamilton) 5:00
3. LDN R. Rupert (3) (Guimond, Griffith) 15:37 (PP)
3. NIAG Wilson (11) (F. Hamilton, Strome) 18: 21
3. LDN R. Rupert (4) (Martin) 19:49
Sidenote: Attendance: 2,885, Tim Billingsley made his long-awaited return.