Knights fall in shootout
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
The London Knights were hoping for a better a result to start a grueling weekend on the right foot, but faltered in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Erie Otters on Friday (Oct. 19) to begin a three-game set in as many days.
Third time was the charm for the Otters after the Knights had dropped Erie their previous two matchups in the early season.
London, who started the shootout, had four straight shooters not score before Erie’s captain Connor Brown sealed the deal.
If London wanted to pick up another victory over the Western Conference basement team, they needed production from Max Domi and Bo Horvat —a pair selected back-to-back in the 2011 Ontario Hockey League draft as the eighth and ninth picks.
Domi has been amassing points at will and picked up another one when he lifted the puck on backhanded shot over the glove of Otter netminder Oscar Dansk to open the scoring 46 seconds into the game.
In eight games this season, the sophomore forward has picked up at least one point in every matchup to earn a team high 16—tied with teammate Seth Griffith who received an assist on Domi’s goal.
Horvat started his second season in the league a little slow, but has been a menace for opposing goalies as of late by standing in front of the net and has collected all five of his goals this year in the last three games. His streak ended against the Otters though.
Of the Knights 39 goals, Domi, Horvat and Griffith have scored 20 of them with Griffith leading the way by finding the back of the net nine times.
Knights’ Josh Anderson picked up a goal for the Knights field though, when he scored his second of the season with less than six minutes to play in the first period.
“I felt god. I just tried to get the puck to the net and it’s just too bad I couldn’t finish at the end there,” Anderson said.
London’s power play looked to have found its stride this season, but not in Friday’s game going 0-for-3 when up a man.
After picking up just five goals in 32 power play chances in the opening six games of the year, the Knights have been able to capitalize five times on 16 power plays in the last two games on the advantage going into the game against the Otters.
London played disciplined hockey in the first period by not sending a player to the sin bin, but continued their penalty kill woes in the second when Erie’s Adam Pelech tied the game on a man advantage. The Otters finished 1-for-3 when up a man Friday.
Opposing teams seem to have found some holes as of late when the Knights have been down a man. In the opening four games of the season London allowed just three goals on the penalty kill, but in the other half of the schedule (last five games) the Knights have seen seven power play goals scored against them.
“Penalties have been hurting us all year and they’re going to continue to hurt us if we keep taking them,” said Knights’ captain Scott Harrington. “(Pelech) had a nice shot I’ll give him that, but at the same time it’s important we do our best to stay out of the penalty box,”
The last time London faced off against Erie (Oct. 6), the Otters were able to find the back of the net twice on just three chances while up a man.
Kevin Bailie started his ninth straight game in net for the Knights and has made a strong case to keep the starting role with a .924 save percentage. Despite picking up the loss, Bailie stood tall on the night and blocked 37 shots.
With Jake Patterson officially healthy from a back injury since last week, Patterson will have to make good use of his time when he gets some if he wants a few more glances than the six games he played last year behind Knights workhorse Michael Houser.
London will be travelling to Barrie to play the Colts on Saturday (Oct. 19) before hitting the road again for a trek to Sudbury to take on the Wolves. London will then play the Peterborough Petes in another away game Thursday (Oct. 25), before coming back home to take on the Plymouth Whalers on Friday (Oct. 26).
“It’s a tough start to the weekend. We wanted to get this win before we played Barrie and Sudbury,” Anderson said. “We got to look forward to tomorrow and come out hard.”