The Peterborough Examiner
Petes take their first lead in series
Tucker Robertson scores overtime goal before the largest PMC crowd in Petes history
Tucker Robertson came through again.
Robertson’s goal at 2:32 into overtime lifted the Petes past the London Knights, 6-5, for his second game-winning-goal in as many games before a record crowd of 4,000 at the Memorial Centre on Monday night.
Avery Hayes powered past a check along the wall to get the puck out of his end and cut to the middle on the rush to fire a shot Zach Bowen saved, but Robertson, named OHL player of the week earlier in the day, followed up on the rebound.
The crowd exploded and gave the Petes a lengthy standing ovation after they rallied from a couple of deficits, including 2-0 in the first six minutes, to grab a 2-1 lead in the OHL Championship Series. Game 4 is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the PMC with Game 5 in London on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“The crowds at every game are just so electric and so fun to play in front of,” Robertson said. “We’re feeding off it.”
He credited Hayes for making the goal happen.
“You don’t score many nice goals in overtime, you just want to get to the net and try to bang one in. Hayes made a great play cutting to the middle and I got a lucky bounce with the puck right in front of me and I hit the open cage.”
The game featured a wild second period of six goals and multiple lead changes. After the goalies were stars of the first two games — Bowen a shutout for London in Game 1 and Michael Simpson 51 saves in Game 2 — they were fighting the puck.
Petes head coach Rob Wilson said he didn’t like a lot of his team’s game but he did like their resilience.
“I let them know when I’m not pleased with their game and the way they respond to that is very impressive,” Wilson said. “It’s easy to put your head down and these guys don’t do that. They actually pick their heads up and get going.”
Petes captain Shawn Spearing got
a thunderous ovation when he was announced as a surprise starter before Game 3, four days after he had surgery to repair a broken jaw. Spearing dressed, but he did not see action.
“He’s pretty close to going here and he wanted to be on the bench, so we were like, ‘OK, let’s get you on the bench.’ He’s the guy these guys follow,” Wilson said.
The Knights have also shown resilience and were playing without two first-line forwards — Denver Barkey and Easton Cowan with strep throat.
“It’s playoff hockey and everybody wants to play, it’s the moment,” said Knights head coach Dale Hunter.
“This is the best part of the season, playing in the playoffs. It’s do or die every game. The kids want to play, but some are injured and some are sick and that’s what hockey is all about.”
The Knights grabbed an early 2-0 lead starting when Sean McGurn tipped Isaiah George’s point shot past Simpson 31 seconds into the game, quietening the crowd.
Playoff scoring leader Ryan Winterton made it 2-0 on a power play at 5:12. Winterton came out of the corner and got off a shot and then followed up on his own rebound.
Ryan Humphrey redirected a rising George shot into the net, but it was immediately waved off as a high stick with 2:33 left in the first. Video review confirmed the referee’s on-ice call.
The Petes cut the lead to one with 1:14 left in the first, as Owen Beck banked the puck in off the back of Bowen’s leg from behind the net.
The Petes killed a penalty that spanned the first and second periods and then tied it when Beck threaded a pass through two Knights to spring J.R. Avon on a
breakaway where he beat Bowen to the backhand at 1:42.
Beck avoided suspension after a checking to the head major penalty in Game 2 which the OHL deemed didn’t require further discipline.
“That’s the league. That hasn’t nothing to do with me,” said Hunter, when asked his reaction.
The Petes handed the lead back to London, literally, 1:44 later. Gavin White’s pass up the middle was intercepted by McGurn who moved in and roofed a shot. Chase Stillman, who led all players with two goals and an assist, tied it with a snap shot over Bowen’s glove from just inside the blue line at 8:25.
The lead then changed hands twice with a flurry of three goals in 2:59.
Brennan Othmann took down Winterton in the neutral zone and with the Knight sprawled on the ice
Othmann joined an odd-man rush to bury Hayes’ pass for the Petes’ first lead at 4-3 with 8:38 left in the second. The Knights were up in arms protesting after the goal.
“It was a slash, but that’s part of hockey. You have to move on,” Hunter said.
London tied it again 97 seconds later when Simpson stopped a de- flected shot, but Brody Crane bur- ied the rebound.
London regained the lead with 5:39 left in the period, as Jackson Edward put a long shot through Simpson’s legs.
The Petes tied it again at 1:13 into the third as rookie Chase Lefebvre fed Stillman on an odd-man rush and he wired a shot past Bowen. The crowd began a steady chant of “Bowen, Bowen” in the third.
“We could have done a better job of helping Bowen out,” said McGurn. “We gave them too many opportunities and they pounced on them.”
Notes The 4,000 fans was a record for a Petes game since the 2003 Memorial Centre renovations reduced seating capacity. It’s the second largest crowd for a sports event just eight shy of the 4,008 who attend Game 6 of the 2022 Mann Cup between the Peterborough Century 21Lakers and Langley Thunder ... Cam Gauvreau returned for Game
3 after serving a four-game checking from behind suspension. It gave the Petes 18 skaters for the first time in the series, although captain Shawn Spearing was on the bench mostly for inspirational leadership. Rookie forward Sam McCue was scratched ... A record 50/50 jackpot of $16,140 was handed out.