The London Knights made a 547-day wait worthwhile as they sent their fans home happy with a 3-2 shooting win in the season opener over the Owen Sound Attack on Friday night in Budweiser. Gardens.

Sean McGurn scored the only goal of the penalty shoot-out and Brett Brochu saved all four Attack shots he faced as London played the first half home and home with Attack to start the 2021-22 season.

The Knights trailed 2-1 in the third period and pressed to tie the game. That pressure lasted 15 minutes and 17 seconds until Colton Smith was able to maneuver a puck along the left side boards past a pair of Owen Sound defenders to keep a play alive on a power play.

That puck went to Luke Evangelista and he set up Gerard Keane, who hit a shot from the middle of the blue line through the legs of Attack goalie Mack Guzda, who was being blocked by Smith.

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That set up a few exciting final minutes that featured an unexpected appearance by rookie Corbin Votary on the Owen Sound network.

The Attack called for a time-out to rest the players after an ice call and Guzda tried to buy more time from his teammates by taking off the equipment.

When Guzda was told to get back on his line, he was not ready, so referee Alex Ross told Guzda that he had to go to the bench and that Votary had to take over at 3:07. Thanks to three shots blocked by St. Thomas, Ont. A native of Mark Woolley, he did not have to make a save.

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Owen Sound opened the scoring in the first period with a goal from Ingersoll, Ontario, native Gavin Bryant.

Jim Van Horne, 980 CFPL.

Jim Van Horne, 980 CFPL

Landon Sim scored the Knights’ first goal of the season to tie the game in the second period when he received a pass from Ben Bujold just as a penalty to Isaiah George had expired. George also received an assist on the play. He was Sim’s first in the Ontario Hockey League.

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Colby Barlow gave Attack their second lead with his first OHL goal on a power play just under four minutes later to make it 2-1.

Brett Brochu stopped 28 shots and was named the first star of the game.

Guzda made 22 saves at the net for Owen Sound.

Leaders for a new generation

Shortly after the puck fell against the Attack, the Knights made their leadership group official for 2021-22.

Luke Evangelista will use the “C” for Captain of the Knights and Ben Roger and Sean McGurn will act as alternates. Evangelista is a second-round pick for the Nashville Predators. He made his season debut on opening night after missing the exhibition schedule with injury.

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McGurn had an impressive preseason for London with six points from four games. Roger was selected in the second round of the 2021 NHL entry draft by the Ottawa Senators.

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Opening night and division rivals

Since moving downtown, the London Knights have compiled a 13-5 record on opening night. Friday marked the first time London and Owen Sound had met in a Knights opening game at Budweiser Gardens. London enters the 2021-22 season with the best record in the OHL against its own division in the past five seasons at 79-29-5-4 for a .714 winning percentage.

The Ottawa 67 have the next best record at .661. Mississauga is third at .616. (Statistics courtesy of Rob Matic and Geoffrey Brandow)

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Until next time

The Knights and Attack will meet for the second time in 24 hours on Saturday on the shores of Georgian Bay while visiting Owen Sound. Teams will meet a total of 10 times during the 2021-22 regular season.

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The JD MacArthur Arena can have a capacity of 4,300 seats. The pre-game show will begin at 7:00 pm on 980 CFPL, at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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