Cyclones Steal Game 3 over Nationals
London Nationals HockeyGreg Bowman
The London Nationals were looking to take a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Listowel Cyclones on Sunday night with Game 3 of the series being played in London on Sunday.
Game 1 saw the Nationals score three first period goals en route to a 4-1 final to open the series with a win on home ice. In Game 2, the score was tied 1-1 heading into the third period, but the Nats rattled off two goals in less than a minute in that final frame to win 3-2. This is a rematch of the Sutherland Cup semifinals last season where the Cyclones beat the Nationals in six games before they eventually won the GOJHL title.
With Game 3 being the third game played in five nights between the two teams, it started off a little sligglishly. Passes weren’t connecting, players were going offside, and the teams split a handful of icing calls. Brayden Krieger had a nice chance for the Cyclones, splitting the defence before backhanding a shot off the crossbar. Adam Keyes would have a glorious chance of his own to respond for the Nationals, deking three Listowel defenders before losing control of the puck before he could get a shot off. Jonah White took a holding penalty late in the first period to give London a powerplay that carried over into the second, with no score between the two teams. The Nationals led the shot clock 13-6.
The second period was all Nationals. They spent a majority of the frame inside Cyclones territory, never letting them get any sustained zone pressure. London simply threw anything and everything to the net, forcing Listowel goaltender Evan Morrison to make a plethora of high-quality saves. Although he only faced six shots in the period, Zach Springer was still tasked with making some tough saves despite his team dominating. London put 15 shots on goal in the middle frame to give them 28 through two periods compared to Listowel’s six, but the game remained scoreless.
The third period finally saw some offence. Despite being grossly outshot, the Cyclones would score midway through the frame, with Steven Grant scoring on a second-chance opportunity to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The Nationals responded by ramping up their already aggressive offence. Morrison continued to stop everything he saw, and some shots he didn’t see to keep his team’s lead. Finally, with just over six minutes remaining in regulation, Josh Castle batted his third goal of the playoffs past the Cyclones goaltender to knot the game 1-1. Despite London nearly tripling the shot total of Listowel, Game 3 went to overtime.
Three minutes into the extra frame, a scramble in front of the London cage ended up on the stick of Chayse Herrfort who scored his ninth of the playoffs, making both the game and series 2-1.
London finished with 47 shots on goal but only had one marker to show for it, as they will head to Listowel on Tuesday for Game 4. Game 5 will be played back in London on Wednesday.