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OHL FINALS: 5-3 loss pushes London Knights to brink



PETERBOROUGH – The London Knights are giving up too many big offensive periods in the OHL final.

The Petes scored three times in the second period – their third three-goal frame in as many games – and have pushed the Knights to the brink with a 5-3, Game 4 victory before a club record 4,046 Wednesday at Peterborough Memorial Centre.

“We gave up a couple in the second and they got the lead on us,” London coach Dale Hunter said of Peterborough’s third straight comeback win. “We battled back (on two late power-play goals with the goalie out for an extra attacker) but it wasn’t good enough. We were close but not close enough.”


Hunter pulled starter Zach Bowen after allowing a fourth goal to low-scoring defenceman Donovan McCoy in the third. Owen WIllmore came on in relief but Hunter suggested not to read too much into the move.

“It was just to change momentum and get the guys going,” he said.

The Knights need to return to their stout defensive approach in a hurry. They have allowed 16 goals in the Petes’ three wins and haven’t been able to shift the momentum in time.

“We’re getting away from it right now,” said London co-captain George Diaco, who uncharacteristically has just one assist in the series. “We’re down by a couple here but it doesn’t really matter. It’s a one-game focus at a time, win one and hopefully, get home ice back.”

Is there hope left?

The Knights under the Hunters have already been in every conceivable situation in the league final. They trailed the Barrie Colts by this same 3-1 margin 10 years ago, but then won the final three games and advanced to the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon on Bo Horvat’s buzzer beater in Game 7.

One big problem this time is there haven’t been any real stirring London comebacks yet this spring. They are 0-4 when trailing after two periods in the playoffs.

The Petes keep scoring the goals that matter.

“(It’s) been huge for us at crucial times,” said J.R. Avon, who scored twice in the second. “Our firsts have been really slow, in my opinion. A goal early in the second brings us up and changed that game a lot.”

Peterborough is on the verge of the title but isn’t trying to get ahead of itself.

“I thought about (winning it) a lot but one game away doesn’t mean anything,” Avon said. “(The Knights) can do something crazy and come back. We haven’t won anything yet. We have to keep going.”

HUMPHREY TIFF: On Monday, TSN cameras caught Dale Hunter tapping violently at an iPad while complaining to the referees. On Wednesday, London forward Ryan Humphrey took an animated scolding from the Peterborough rink’s penalty box attendant, who appeared to make contact with the player while chewing him out. Humphrey was arguing vehemently about a third-period high-sticking call against him on Petes forward Brennan Othmann, who sold it well and snapped his head back.

Neither coach admitted to seeing the incident, but Hunter understood Humphrey’s frustration.

“It’s one of those things,” he shrugged. “He missed it, the ref, that’s all.”

Humphrey, who had two minor penalties in the third before being ejected, and the attendant appeared to make peace by the end of the skater’s stay in the box. The attendant patted him on the back as he left.

CONCUSSION PROTOCOL?: Humphrey’s skate collided with the head of Petes goaltender Michael Simpson in the third and it was a particularly nasty knock.

The London native went down in a heap and needed to be assessed by Peterborough’s athletic therapist. After an excruciating long delay, Simpson was deemed able to continue and, at no point, was ordered to leave the ice to enter the league’s concussion protocol.

“I asked them straight out and he took a knock and just needs some time to reset,” Petes coach Rob Wilson said. “The refs gave him that time. He’s totally fine.”

Simpson managed to hang in and make 24 third-period saves to give him 50 for the game. He was also outstanding in Game 2 at Budweiser Gardens.

“If he was unable, they wouldn’t play him,” Dale Hunter said. “That’s the rules and he was able to go. He played well after.”

The Petes are now angling for the referees to watch for the Knights barging into the crease, but believe their veteran stopper can handle it.

“He stood tall for us all year and he can take knocks,” Wilson said. “He’s not worried about that. He’s going to be fine to take that. You hope the officials see that stuff and they take care of it.

“I never saw the replay. I think it crossed but the ref said it crossed after his whistle.

BUSY WILLMORE: Owen Willmore has served as Knights backup goaltender in the series and finally saw his first action in Game 4. There was a stretch during his Sutherland Cup final run with Jr. B Stratford that he dressed for games in nine of 10 days between the Warriors and Knights. “Great time, but super busy,” the 18-year-old said. “I would be starting in Leamington one night, then in Sarnia with London two nights in a row, then back to Stratford again. I was back and forth. But It’s all just hockey. I wasn’t worried. It was fun.” Willmore won four games with the Knights last year when he filled in while Brett Brochu was out with an ankle injury and has been around the team for the past three years. “Even during the Covid skates,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity and being in the finals is not somewhere I ever thought I would be, so I’m super excited.”

AROUND THE RINK: Ryan Winterton had a goal called back that might have made the difference. After a review, Hunter said the ref told him the puck did cross the line, but it was after he blew the whistle . . .The Knights fell to 1-7 in OHL final games against Peterborough . .  . The Knights welcomed back Denver Barkey and Easton Cowan to the top line and they both scored, but lost import forward Ruslan Gazizov due to illness. Rookie Sam O’Reilly stayed in the lineup  . . . Petes forwards Avery Hayes and Othmann played in their 40th OHL playoff game. Diaco andHumphrey appeared in their 38th game while Winterton got into his 37th. Playing on two straight OHL final teams helps . . . The Seattle Kraken are the real winners of the OHL playoffs. They boast Winterton, Peterborough’s Tucker Robertson, North Bay defenceman Ty Nelson and forward Kyle Jackson and Sudbury’s shifty David Goyette among their prospects . . . Mt. Brydges native Lawson Crouse of the Arizona Coyotes scored twice in Canada’s 5-1 victory over Kazakhstan at the men’s worlds in Riga, Latvia Wednesday. He was named player of the game for the winning side . . . The Knights have been second-best on the draw this series. They lost 49-22 on faceoffs in Game 4.

Petes 5, Knights 3

(Petes leads best-of-seven championship series 3-1)

Peterborough goals: J.R. Avon (2), Owen Beck, Donovan McCoy, Avery Hayes

London goals: Easton Cowan, Sam Dickinson, Denver Barkey

Next: Game 5 is Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens.


At Peterborough Memorial Centre

Petes 5, Knights 3

First period

1., London, Cowan 8 (unassisted) 1:19

Penalty – Gauvreau, Pbo (cross-checking) 16:52.

Second period

2. Peterborough, Avon 8 (Lockhart) 1:19

3. Peterborough, Beck 8 (Othmann, Stillman) 9:50

4. Peterborough, Avon 9 (Lockhart) 11:01

Penalties – Mailloux, Ldn (cross-checking) 5:54, Lockhart, Pbo (tripping) 7:29.

Third period

5. Peterborough, McCoy 2 (Lefebvre, Robertson) 7:44

6. London, Dickinson 4 (George, Winterton) 13:59 (pp)

7. London, Barkey 10 (Mailloux, Winterton) 16:51

8. Peterborough, Hayes 11 (unassisted) 17:24 (en)

Penalties – Humphrey, Ldn (high-sticking) 5:27, Humphrey, Ldn (slashing), Lockhart, Pbo (diving) 10:32, Mayer, Pbo (slashing) 12:24, Mayer, Pbo (slashing) 15:35, Humphrey, Ldn (10-minute misconduct), Winterton, Ldn, Smith, Pbo (roughing double minor) 18:25.

Shots on goal by

London 14 13 26–53

Peterborough 16 10 8–34

Power plays: Ldn 2-4. Pbo 0-2.

Goalies (shots-saves): Bowen, Ldn (31-27) (L, 4-5), Willmore, Ldn (2-2, 7:44 of third period). Simpson, Pbo (W, 15-6).

Referees – Dave Lewis, Joe Monette. Linesmen – Dustin McCrank, Justin Noble.

Attendance – 4,046.

Three stars: 1. J.R. Avon, Petes; 2. Michael Simpson, Petes; 3. Owen Beck, Petes


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Blue Jays beat Twins on Berrios’ pitching, Kirk’s hitting, Varsho’s fielding



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — José Berríos made another solid start. Alejandro Kirk delivered a timely hit. Daulton Varsho did a little bit of everything.

The Toronto Blue Jays took another step toward a turnaround at the end of a rough month, posting their first series win in four ties in well-rounded fashion.

Berríos pitched around a season-high five walks and into the sixth inning for Toronto to beat his old team, and the Blue Jays blanked the Minnesota Twins 3-0 on Sunday.

“Hopefully, this kind of springboards us forward,” manager John Schneider said after the Blue Jays played their 17th game in 17 days.


Kirk hit a two-run single in the second inning that held up for Berríos (5-4), who has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his last nine turns after a rough start.

Daulton Varsho scored all the way from first base on Kirk’s hit. Handling center field for Kevin Kiermaier — the day after he twice had a leaping catch attempt turn into a Twins home run when those balls bounced off his glove and into the grass berm — Varsho was superb. He assisted on the third out of the fourth inning when he fielded a single and threw out Alex Kirilloff at third.

Then in the eighth, Varsho jumped above the center-field wall to take a homer away from Carlos Correa.

“For as magnified as he was yesterday, I’m thrilled that he gets to be celebrated today,” Schneider said.

Jordan Romano recorded his 12th save with a scoreless ninth, allowing a two-out single to rookie Matt Wallner. He was 2 for 2 with two walks and has reached base in eight straight plate appearances.

The Blue Jays (28-26), who are in last place in the AL East, are just 10-17 in their last 27 games.

“You’re going to go through a rough stretch at some point during the year, and for us it’s like right now,” Varsho said. “Hopefully we can get hot here and finish off the year strong.”

With Alek Manoah struggling at the top of the rotation, the Blue Jays need several more starts like this from Berríos, who was traded by the Twins at the deadline two years ago. The right-hander, who is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA in his last five starts, helped lead a players-only meeting on Thursday after the Blue Jays lost three out of four to division leader Tampa Bay.

“It’s just on us to stay back, get relaxed and try to be ourselves,” Berríos said.

Bailey Ober (3-2) finished five innings for Minnesota for the fourth time in five May starts, with seven strikeouts in a bad-luck loss.

The Twins (27-26) had their lead in the AL Central cut to one game over Detroit (25-26). They’ve led the division for 58 of 60 days this season.

“Every time the opportunities were in front of us, every time there was something we could have done, it felt like we went in the wrong direction,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.


Twins rookie Edouard Julien, a native of Quebec City, Canada, whose favorite boyhood team was the Blue Jays, had a rough afternoon. He made a diving stop of Varsho’s two-out single in the second, but he dropped the ball before he could make the throw to first. The play was ruled a hit.

In the bottom of the inning, the Twins had the bases loaded with none out — for a few seconds. Julien rounded second base too far, ignoring the runner in front of him, and was thrown out by the catcher Kirk.

“Those are mental cramps right there,” Baldelli said.


Blue Jays: Kiermaier was on the bench after being removed from the game on Saturday with discomfort in his right lower back. “All things are trending in the right direction,” Schneider said.

Twins: RHP Emilio Pagán was pulled with a strained left hip flexor after seven pitches in the seventh.


Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (5-2, 4.56 ERA) starts on Tuesday night against Milwaukee after a return home and a day off. RHP Adrian Houser (1-0, 2.25 ERA) takes the mound for the Brewers.

Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.82 ERA) pitches the opener of a three-game series at Houston on Monday afternoon. RHP J.P France (1-1, 3.43 ERA) starts for the Astros.


AP MLB: and



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Pressure mounts on both sides as Stars and Golden Knights prepare for Game 6



Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (33) stands with his team during open net at the end of the third period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals against the Dallas Stars, Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Ronda Churchill/AP)

DALLAS (AP) — Jason Robertson is frequently scoring goals again for the Dallas Stars, Jake Oettinger is stopping shots and captain Jamie Benn is about to return from a two-game suspension.

The Western Conference Final isn’t over yet, and suddenly feels much different.

After the Vegas Golden Knights won the first three games, the Stars staved off elimination two games in a row in these NHL playoffs. They are now back home for Game 6 on Monday night, looking to do it again and force a Game 7 to determine who faces the waiting Florida Panthers for the Stanley Cup.

“We put ourselves in a really tough spot, and to get to this point right now, it shows you the character that we have in our room and the belief we have,” said Oettinger, who has stopped 64 of 68 shots since allowing three goals on five shots in the first 7:10 and getting pulled from Game 3. “Even being down 3-0, the series was far from over. We’ve done our job up to this point, but unfortunately for us, our backs are still against the wall.”

Dellandrea delivers remarkable Game 5 performance to keep Stars’ season alive

Dallas is only the fifth team to extend a conference final or NHL semifinal series to a sixth game after losing the first three, and first since the 2008 Stars lost Game 6 against Detroit. Only the 1975 New York Islanders against Philadelphia, and the 1939 New York Rangers versus Boston then forced Game 7, and both lost those deciding games.

Still, has the pressure shifted to the Golden Knights, as Stars coach Pete DeBoer said would happen if his team won Game 5? Vegas lost both Games 4 and 5 after leading 1-0 and 2-1 in each of them.

“We’re playing a desperate hockey team, and nobody ever said it was going to be easy. We’ve got match their urgency and desperation,” Vegas defenseman Alec Martinez said.

“This is the Western Conference Final, right? He’s trying to make a story in the media, I think,” Knights captain Mark Stone said. “There’s pressure on both teams to try to make the Stanley Cup Final.”

Dallas will host Game 6 on Monday night at the same time the NBA’s Boston Celtics, who overcame 3-0 deficit in their conference final, are playing Game 7 at home against the Miami Heat.

The Florida Panthers completed their East Final sweep of Carolina last Wednesday. They are waiting to see if they will go to Las Vegas or Dallas for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final next Saturday.

Vegas, which led the Western Conference in the regular season with 51 wins and 111 points, has consecutive losses for the first time since mid-March. The only time the Knights lost four games in a row was at the end of January, part of a month-ending stretch when they lost seven of eight. But they are also trying to get to their second Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s six seasons, and are this deep in the playoffs already for the fourth time.

Benn was suspended after his cross-check and stick to the neck of Stone, who fell to the ice without his stick after the captains collided less than two minutes into Game 3 on Tuesday night.

The Stars came off the ice Saturday night and were welcomed by Benn dressed in a suit and tie. No. 14 will be back on the ice Monday night.

“I think what it tells you is what Jamie Benn means to them,” DeBoer said. “I think that’s a direct reflection on what the guy means to our team in that dressing room, what they’ve done the last couple of nights.”

Why Stars’ Benn deserved to be ejected for cross-checking Golden Knights’ Stone

Ty Dellandrea, a healthy scratch earlier in the series and in the lineup with Benn and Evgenii Dadonov (lower body) both out, scored twice in a span of 87 seconds in the third period Saturday night as Dallas won 4-2.

Robertson scored the Stars’ second tying goal Saturday night. He had both of their goals in regulation to twice tie Game 4 at home Thursday night, getting his first career multigoal playoff game before 38-year-old Joe Pavelski became the oldest player ever with an overtime goal for a team facing elimination.

“The fourth (win) is always the hardest, right? I mean, the season on the line, so obviously they feel that they’ve got to get it done. And, you know, it’s just as much pressure on us to keep it going, keep our composure,” said Robertson, with five goals this series after only three in his previous 20 playoff games. “All we can do now is focus on Game 6. Hopefully, ideally, we don’t go down by a goal, but if we do, we’re going to look for that same response.”


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IIHF Hockey: Canada downs Germany 5-2 – CTV News



TAMPERE, Finland –

Samuel Blais scored two goals to rally Canada to a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

It’s a record 28th world title for Canada, and its second in three years. Russia has 27 while Germany has never won the trophy.


Blais netted with a backhand 4:51 into the final period for a 3-2 lead for Canada, which was playing in its fourth straight final.

Lawson Crouse, Tylor Toffoli and Scott Laughton also scored for Canada, Peyton Krebs had two assists and goaltender Samuel Montembeault stopped 21 shots.

Toffoli stretched the lead to 4-2 from the left circle with 8:09 remaining and Laughton made it 5-2 with an empty net goal.

Canada had to come back twice in the final.

John Peterka wristed a shot past Montembeault from the left circle 7:44 into the game. It was the sixth goal for the Buffalo Sabres forward at the tournament.

Blais was fed by Krebs to beat goaltender Mathias Niederberger and tie it 1-1 at 10:47.

Daniel Fischbuch put the Germans ahead again with a one-timer with 6:13 to go in the middle period.

Crouse equalized on a power play with 2:32 remaining in the frame.

It was the first medal for Germany since 1953 when it was second behind Sweden.

The two previously met just once in the final with Canada winning 6-1 in 1930.


Defenseman Kristian Rubins scored his second goal 1:22 into overtime to lead Latvia to a 4-3 victory over the United States and earn a bronze medal earlier Sunday.

It’s the first top-three finish for Latvia at the tournament. Its previous best was a seventh place it managed three times.

The U.S. lost in the bronze medal game for the second straight year. The U.S. team was cruising through the tournament with eight straight wins until it was defeated by Germany in the semifinal 4-3 in overtime.

Rubins rallied Latvia with his first with 5:39 to go in the final period to tie the game at 3 to force overtime.

Roberts Bukarts and Janis Jaks also scored for Latvia.

Rocco Grimaldi scored twice for the U.S. in the opening period to negate Latvia’s 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Matt Coronato had put the U.S. 3-2 ahead 6:19 into the final period.

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