Whalers Battle Back, Lose to London, 6-4
LONDON - Bo Horvat's goal at 16:56 of the third period snapped a 4-4 tie and the London Knights defeated the Plymouth Whalers, 6-4, in an Ontario Hockey League preseason game played Friday night at the John Labatt Centre in London.
Plymouth is now 2-1 in preseason play.
Plymouth fought back from a 3-0 deficit in the second period to tie the game at 4-4 in the third period.
Seth Griffith and Ryan Rupert led the London attack with a pair of goals. Horvat and Olli Matta scored the other London goals. The Knights scored two shorthanded goals, three power plays goals and an empty netter. Kevin Bailie stopped 28-of-32 Plymouth shots in goal for London.
Gianluca Curcuruto scored twice for the Whalers, while Rickard Rakell and Garrett Meurs scored the other Plymouth goals. Connor Carrick added two assists for Plymouth. Matt Mahalak played in goal for the Whalers and stopped 37-of-42 London shots, including a penalty shot by Griffith with 1:40 remaining in the game.
After London built a 3-0 lead into the second period on first period short handed goals by Griffith (6:20) and Rupert (9:58) and a second period power play goal by Matta (3:52), the Whalers started their comeback on Curcuruto's point shot at 9:28 and a beautiful give-and-go play started by Meurs, who passed to Rakell and took a return feed to bury the puck past Bailie. Meurs leads the Whalers with three goals during the preseason.
Plymouth kept coming in the third period. Curcuruto scored again on a shot from the point at 2:04 and Rakell buried a shot through traffic from the right circle at 13:03 to tie the game at 4-4.
Horvat's game-winner came when he was set up by Griffith in front of Mahalak, who got a piece of the shot with his right pad, but the puck trickled over the goal line. Rupert added an empty net marker with seven seconds remaining to ice the game for London.
The Whalers iced a full lineup for the game, but became shorthanded when defenseman Mitch Jones left the game in the first period with an injury and Chris Albertini, Danny Vanderwiel, Connor Sills and JT Miller were all ejected for fighting at various points in the game.
London outshot Plymouth, 43-32.
All Plymouth scratches for the game were healthy and included Alex Nedeljkovic, Nick Malysa, Alex Peters, Tom Wilson, Stefan Noesen, Mitchell Heard and Simon Karlsson. The London scratches were Trevor Wheaton, Tommy Hughes, Max Domi, Kevin Raine, Brett Welychka, Paxton Leroux, Owen Macdonald and Jacob Jammes.
The Whalers complete the preseason Saturday night against London in St. Thomas, ON at Timken Centre. There will be no broadcast of the game.
Plymouth opens the 2012-13 regular season on Fri. Sept. 21 in Sault Ste. Marie, with the home opener the next evening against Belleville at 7:05 pm at Compuware Arena.