Attack defeat London on Valentine’s Day
There might not have been any love lost between the Owen Sound Attack and the London Knights this Valentine’s Day, but the Bayshore faithful sure loved what they saw on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
A two goal performance by Nick Suzuki, complimented by singles from Maksim Sushko and Ethan Szypula powered the Attack to a massive 4-2 win over the London Knights, tightening up the Western Conference’s playoff race.
The sides battled to a scoreless draw in the opening 20:00, but events from the first set up the game’s opening goal just 1:06 into the middle stanza.
After Trent Bourque and Alex Formenton took offsetting slashing minors late in the 1st that carried over into the 2nd, the Knights were able to strike with the teams playing four aside.
Alec Regula got the visitors on the board, cleaning up his own rebound at that 1:06 mark with assists going to his linemates Nathan Dunkley and Liam Foudy.
Owen Sound made sure to strike back though, with Nick Suzuki scoring against his hometown team just before six minutes were gone in the frame.
A sound faceoff win by Kevin Hancock shot the puck towards the slot where Suzuki jumped all over the biscuit, hammering home his 28th goal of the season for an unassisted tally.
Penalty trouble looked to derail any momentum that the Bayshore Boys may have gained from the goal, however, within moments of tying the game the Attack saw both Suzuki and Bourque head to the penalty box, putting Owen Sound on a two man McDougall Energy Penalty Kill.
Kevin Hancock took it upon himself to get his team out of that penalty trouble, though, and the 4th year forward singlehandedly killed the remaining time in Suzuki’s minor by fending off a quartet of Knights’ players below London’s goal line.
The visiting side would eventually clear the puck, but when they did, Suzuki went streaking back into the zone and promptly tucked his 2nd of the evening between Joseph Raaymakers’ pads for the shorthanded tally to make it a 2-1 Attack lead.
His 2nd unassisted marker of the game came at 9:11 of the frame, and was the difference through 40:00 as neither side was able to find the back of the net again the frame despite some furious pressure in both ends of the rink.
The 3rd period appeared to be headed in the same direction as the 1st, with neither side being able to break through for a goal.
That is, until the Attack found themselves with another shorthanded rush near the 8:00 mark.
With Ethan Szypula in the box for tripping, Brett McKenzie sprung Maksim Sushko on a break and the Belorussian made no mistake on his 26th of the year, ripping a snapshot high over Joseph Raaymakers blocker to make it 3-1.
Owen Sound wasn’t done there either.
With 11:42 gone in the 3rd, the Attack’s other London native got in on the scoring action.
Positioned in front of the Knights’ cage, Ethan Szypula got his stick on a Jacob Friend point blast and redirected it through the wickets of Raaymakers to give Owen Sound a 4-1 lead. Aidan Dudas drew the secondary assist on Szypula’s 13th of the year.
That was all the offence that Owen Sound needed on the night, because despite London’s Liam Foudy scoring with 12 seconds in regulation – it was too little too late for London.
The Attack would rebound from their disappointing loss at Ottawa on Sunday afternoon with a big 4-2 victory over the Knights.
Olivier Lafreniere turned aside 26 shots on the evening and was named the Hatten Home Building Centre’s Hardest Working Player of the Game for his efforts, while his teammates swept the Mac Taylor Corporation 3 Stars.
Nick Suzuki’s two goals earned him 1st star honours, while Kevin Hancock’s unbelievable effort that was on full display during the 2nd period penalty kill garnered him 2nd star honours. Jacob Friend rounded out the post game awards by picking up 3rd star of the game.
The Mark McDade Chestnut Park Shots on Goal finished at 41-28 in favour of the Attack on the night.
Owen Sound will now turn their attention to a visit to St. Catharines to take on the Niagara IceDogs at 7:30pm on Friday night before returning home to host the Ottawa 67’s on Saturday, Feb. 17.
Tickets for that game are limited, but can still be purchased at the MacVicar & McComb ReMax Attack Box Office.
This season of Attack Hockey is brought to you by Lerners Personal Injury Lawyers and Bertrand & Muzzell Paralegal Services.