Luukko­nen bril­liant

But Wolves lose shootout in Lon­don

The Sudbury Star - - SPORTS - BEN LEE­SON

The Sud­bury Wolves left Lon­don with one point in­stead of two Fri­day night, but it wasn’t for lack of ef­fort, nor a lack of stel­lar goal­tend­ing by Ukko-Pekka Luukko­nen.

Though they spot­ted the Knights a lead in the first pe­riod and were out­shot 40-26 over­all, the Wolves pulled even in the third on a goal by Blake Mur­ray, then re­lied on Luukko­nen to stop 15 shots in the fi­nal frame and a penalty shot in over­time, be­fore fi­nally fall­ing 2-1 in a shootout.

Owen Robin­son and Kir­ill Nizh­nikov recorded as­sists for Sud­bury, which slipped to 10-6-1-1, but col­lected a point for the fourth straight game.

They’ll look to re­turn to the win col­umn in a visit to the Sar­nia Sting, Sat­ur­day night at 7 p.m.

Sud­bury had a se­ries of good scor­ing chances early Fri­day night, in­clud­ing a tipped point shot by Cole Can­della and back-to-back op­por­tu­ni­ties for David Levin, but could get noth­ing past Knights net­min­der Joseph Raay­mak­ers.

Lon­don an­swered with a flurry of their own chances, then opened the scor­ing at 17:48 of the first on a shot by Con­nor McMichael, with only two sec­onds left in what had been a fairly lack­lus­tre power play.

Raay­mak­ers did well to keep the home side ahead, deny­ing Sud­bury’s Dar­ian Pilon on a short­handed break­away.

Lon­don out­shot Sud­bury 11-6 in the frame.

The Knights thought they had gone up 2-0 on an­other power-play goal, this time on a wicked-look­ing shot by Alex For­men­ton in the sec­ond pe­riod, but af­ter a lengthy re­view, the goal was called off on an off­side.

Sud­bury pressed for an equal­izer in the min­utes that fol­lowed, forc­ing Raay­mak­ers to make a few more good saves, in­clud­ing one on a sec­ond break­away by Pilon.

Sud­bury hit a post late in the frame and Levin was stopped again af­ter mak­ing a nice move into the slot.

Luukko­nen did his part at the other end, track­ing pucks well and killing plays when the Knights earned chances off a se­ries of clean en­tries in the frame.

Shots were an even 11-11 in the sec­ond stanza, giv­ing the hosts a 22-17 edge af­ter 40 min­utes.

Af­ter more fine work by both goalkeepers, Mur­ray fi­nally cracked Raay­mak­ers’ goose egg with his fifth of the sea­son, and first in six games, as he got his stick on a nifty feed by Robin­son at 11:26 of the third.

The play started with a good cross-ice pass by Nizh­nikov, who ex­tended his point streak to four games.

Lon­don out­shot Sud­bury 15-7 in the third.

An event­ful over­time was high­lighted by Luukko­nen’s save on a Liam Foudy penalty shot, then an­other save on Foudy in the dy­ing sec­onds of three-on-three play.

Lon­don rookie An­to­nio Stranges had the only shootout marker, beat­ing Luukko­nen on a wellplaced back­hand.

Sud­bury’s Levin, Nizh­nikov and Shane Bulitka were all turned aside by Raay­mak­ers, while For­men­ton and Evan Bouchard were stopped by Luukko­nen.

DEREK RUTTAN/THE LON­DON FREE PRESS

Lon­don Knight Liam Foudy and Sud­bury Wolves twins Drake Pilon (28) and Dar­ian Pilon try to get at the loose puck dur­ing their game in Lon­don, Ont. on Fri­day No­vem­ber 9, 2018.

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