Story by: David Foot – AOHL Contributor
The old barn in Kitchener could have burned to the ground Tuesday night, after one of hockey’s best rivalries led to a firestorm of goals and the London Knights edging the host Rangers 5-4.
It was a milestone evening for a few of the Knights, who opened the scoring just 16 seconds in, when JJ Pinnich beat Luke Opilka. Maple Leafs hopeful Mitch Marner assisted on the play, for his 250th career point.
London would throw ten more first period shots on net by the end of the first period, but with no success.
The second period opened with quick goals from Kitchener to take a brief 2-1 lead and get some life back into “The Aud”. One 33 seconds after the puck drop, Gustaf Franzen’s 10th, on the power play. Franzen would assist on Connor Bunnaman’s 12th about a minute and a half later.
By the end of the second period, London was back in front 3-2, after veteran forward Aaron Berisha netted his 26th midway through and Victor Mete followed up with his sixth (in his 100th career game) a few minutes later.
The trend of quick goals continued into the third, as London pulled away with Berisha’s second of the game at 1:23, followed by the first career OHL marker for Swedish national Daniel Bernhardt at 2:45, which made it 5-2.
The blue shirts battled to tie the game in the mid-third. Dylan DiPerna scored his third and Ryan MacInnis made it a one-goal-game with his 23rd, leading to a London timeout.
The Knights would hang on for the victory in the end and pick up their 67th point, giving them a three point lead over the Rangers in the standings.
London has another tough test ahead this Thursday, with a visit to Sarnia.
Kitchener are home to Erie on Friday.