The Owen Sound Attack opened their 2021-22 season in London Friday night, with a 3-2 shoot-out loss against the Knights at Budweiser Gardens Friday night.
You could tell that the players were a bit rusty as the game began with some tentative play and no real flow. London’s experienced forward group was quick to press the issue though, as they had early chances, but between the Attack’s stellar back-end and veteran goalie Mack Guzda, the Bears were able to survive the opening onslaught.
It’s a season for the rookies, as two draft classes make their debut in the league, and it was the Attack’s second round pick from 2020 Gavin Bryant who opened the scoring. Bryant found himself alone in front of the Knights’ net, when a loose puck squeezed through traffic. The young Bear’s forward made no mistake with the chance, chipping the puck past Knight’s goalie Brett Brochu, giving the Attack an early lead just over half-way through the opening frame.
The Attack would hold that one-goal lead well into the middle frame, where they had a chance to extend the lead with the games first power play. Although getting some good looks, the Bears came up empty with the extra man, and it was shortly after numbers returned to 5-on-5 that the Knights found themselves with a 2-on-0, and evened the score. London would control play for much ion the next five minutes of play, before running into more penalty trouble. During a rare 6-on-3 the Attack were patient and controlled the puck, waiting for their opportunity. It came when 2021 first round pick Colby Barlow found silently coasted into the slot area and wasted no time in firing short side on Brochu. The middle framed finished similar to the first with the Attack leading by a goal.
The Knights came out hungry in the final frame, as they controlled the play. As the Attack were on their heals, the Knights found themselves with their first power play opportunity. Though Owen Sound fought, the man-disadvantage ended up too much for them, as the Knights evened the game for the second time in the game. The Attack would remain on their heels for the rest of the period, but survived the Knights pressure, forcing the game to overtime.
The extra five minutes of 3-on-3 ended with the same score as it started, as the season opener headed to a shoot-out. It was the Knights Sean McGurn who netted the lone shoot-out goal giving London the season opening win.
Guzda made 23 saves in the effort, including stopping 3 of 4 in the shoot-out.
The Attack and Knights return to action tomorrow night in the second half of their home-and-home opening series, with game two set at the Bayshore. Tickets for the game can be purchased online or tomorrow at the McVicar and McComb Sutton Reality Box Office, as updated capacity limits have allowed for full capacity for the Attack’s home opener.