Knights push streak to three
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
If a poll had been taken at the beginning of the Ontario Hockey League season to see which teams would be meeting in the Western Conference Final, there’s a good chance the London Knights and Plymouth Whalers would have been at the top of the list.
A little more than a handful of games have been played for both teams and the London/Plymouth first matchup of the regular season on Friday (Oct. 12) might not be as hyped up as it once was, but still an exciting one with a 4-1 result for the Knights. The win gives London three straight victories.
The Knights started the game with a parade of penalties, sending three consecutive players to the box but were able to kill them.
When it came to London’s turn to go up a man they were able to capitalize 15 seconds into the power play with Bo Horvat taking a couple of whacks at the puck in front of the net to score the Knights sixth goal while up a man on the season.
“It was a big relief and big confidence boost to get the boys going and it carried for the rest of the game,” Horvat said of the opening goal.
The Knights only widened the gap in the second period when Horvat scored another goal off a cross-ice feed from linemate Chris Tierney.
Eight minutes later Max Domi contributed to the lead to push his goal streak to three games to tie his longest scoring run in the OHL. The second-year forward has also collected at least one point in all seven of the Knights games to bring his tally to 13—tied with Seth Griffith on the team.
Griffith also made it onto the score sheet Friday in the third period, picking up London’s second power play goal of the night and moving in as the OHL’s second leading scorer.
“Everyone’s been clicking on the team even though the lines have been kind of scattered,” Horvat said about a Knights team that has nine forwards with at least five points and only tied with the Whalers for that much offensive player production.
Going into the matchup the Whalers were the top penalty kill team, allowing just three goals on 39 times shorthanded (92.3 per cent). The Knights were able to score twice on just five power plays.
London’s goaltender Kevin Bailie proved why he deserved the starting nod Friday, despite Jake Patterson being healthy to play after not dressing for several games due to injury.
Bailie slid across the net, flashed some glove and stuck out the pads to turn away 42 shots—his best performance so far in a Hunter green jersey.
The overage netminder has made seven straight appearances for the Knights between the pipes, although it was speculated before the season that Bailie and Patterson would battle for the No. 1 spot.
“I think I’ve been improving since the season started and this obviously my best game so far, but hopefully it’s not my best game of the season,” Bailie said, earning the first star of the game.
Both teams started in the Canadian Hockey League’s Top 10 rankings before the season began, but after Plymouth opened the year with two losses they fell from the seventh spot to off the rankings.
The Knights still stand in the Top 10 chart, but despite winning two games last week they went from fourth to seventh when the national standings were released Wednesday (Oct. 10).
London will travel to Oshawa on Sunday (Oct. 14) when they take on the Generals. Oshawa is currently sitting in the fourth spot in the CHL rankings and is the top rated team in the OHL in the top 10.
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