In their first game of the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament, the London Knights (with Boston Bruins prospect Jared Knight) defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 5-3.
The Sea Dogs struck first, very early in the first period, while shorthanded due to an elbowing penalty and they held that lead for most of the first period until Max Domi scored for the Knights. Knight provided the secondary assist. Not content to take a one-goal tie into the intermission, though, the Knights struck again, Vladislav Namestnikov scoring his first of the night. (That guy is going to do well for the Tampa Bay Lightning someday.)
London kept a hold on that 2-1 lead in the second period and much of the middle act was notable for its penalties. Knight himself was seen getting a little heated at points, but not enough to merit a trip to the penalty box. But Seth Griffith made it a two-goal lead for London that returned to being just a one-goal lead five minutes later.
That wouldn’t be the last time London pulled ahead by two, though: in the third period, Austin Watson pulled the Knights ahead to 4-2. Once again, Saint John found an answer and thinned the lead to one again. Then Namestnikov took advantage of the man advantage and scored with about a minute left to play. The Sea Dogs had erupted in late-game frustration, including their coach incurring a bench minor, and that left the Knights with a two-man advantage.
This game was overall heavy on the penalties. Saint John took 12 penalties total and London had eight. Both teams used these to their advantage, but in different ways–the Sea Dogs scored two of their goals while shorthanded and one on the power play; the Knights had a power play goal. Saint John: they can score if they’re up a man or down a man.
The Sea Dogs came into this tournament as the defending champions and hadn’t lost a game since the middle of March. The Knights handed them their first defeat in quite a while and will face host team Shawinigan Cataractes on May 20. The Cataractes just lost 4-3 to the Edmonton Oil Kings, although unlike the other teams in the tournament, Shawinigan didn’t have a very deep playoff run, so they could be rusty.
Read more articles from Emma Harger here.