Andy Schleck and his sons dropping the ceremonial puck
Beaufort Knights lose gripping home opener in overtime
The Knights put on a show to start their season opener at home: A player introduction ceremony in the dark, a legendary puck dropper in Andy Schleck - who played hockey as a 10 year old - and a packed ice rink with a crowd of over 500.
All this was followed by a more somber moment and a minute of silence for the late hockey player Adam Johnson who tragically passed away in a game on October 28 in Nottingham.
With just a couple of practices the days before the game, the Knights still had some tactical and conditioning catching up to do and it showed. They couldn't really find any rhythm against a much weaker Heist team this season. What followed was a balanced game with the hosts not showing all their skills and skating superiority.
They still managed to find the back of the net at the 8 minute mark when young defenseman Dino Mededovic scored his first of the season on a pass from Eric Wambach and captain Claude Mossong. 1-0 for the home team and the crowd was rocking. Drums and horns blazing.
Just under six minutes later, Mossong converted for the 2-0 on a feed from Wambach again. It seemed like it could be an easy night for the Knights and their young goaltender Sven Cruchten.
But those expectations were suddenly shattered when the guests from Heist exploited one of the many turnovers in the defensive zone of the men in green and scored the 2-1 just minutes before heading into the first intermission.
The second period was very similar to the first. The Knights managed to carry the puck, but couldn't really create many high quality scoring chances. Instead they kept Heist in the game by taking a total of 8 penalty minutes in the middle period. Luckily, import player Artemij Frizel scored shorthanded on a break-away with Sacha Backes and the Knights seemed to be cruising to an easy win, leading 3-1 after two periods.
But more Knights penalty trouble in the final stint gave Heist life and the guests silenced the crowd when they scored two quick goals two minutes apart to tie the score 3-3. A gripping game for sure and the crowd held their breath more than once, cheering on their local heroes. A few more quality chances by Frizel, Benny Welter and Backes but they couldn't cash in, so a tie after 60 minutes meant the game was heading into sudden death 3 on 3 overtime.
An unfortunate trip by Welter just 23 seconds into overtime made the referee award a penalty shot to the Heist captain and he didn't miss, beating Cruchten with the "Forsberg" move to end the game and handing Beaufort their third loss in four games.
It was a heartbreaking loss in front of a great crowd with many fans from all parts of Luxembourg in attendance.
The Knights will kick off their LHL Division 1 season at home against the Grand Ducs on Thursday November 9 followed by a Belgian league game against Charleroi on Saturday November 11. Hopefully a week of icetime will help the team find their bearing and get the fans back into a winning and party mood next week.