By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
The London Knights staff might need a third hand if they want to have an easier time to keep count of their win streak, pushing the consecutive victories to double-digits after beating the Peterborough Petes 2-0 at Budweiser Gardens on Friday (Nov. 23).
Both goals for London came off the stick of the Alex Broadhurst, sharing his usual line with Seth Griffith and Max Domi who picked up an assist each on the scores to help push the team’s win streak to 10.
The goals from the Knights rookie marks his ninth and 10th of the season and is now the fourth London player to score in double-digits.
“I was squeezing the stick a little bit. I really wanted the hat trick,” Broadhurst said. “(Griffith) and Domi, we’re having a lot of fun together. We like to make plays and we’re really creative, so it’s a lot of fun out there and hopefully we’ll keep going.”
It’s a little premature to crown the Knights as the Ontario Hockey League champs, or a team that can repeat as coming a goal away from claiming Memorial Cup supremacy, but they’re looking like the club they were heralded to be at the start of the season.
They’re definitely taking the steps in the right direction, finding themselves in the eighth spot on the Canadian Hockey League Top 10 rankings after taking a five-week hiatus from the list.
This year’s squad, with 13 regular starters from last year returning, can be compared in ways to the 2012 OHL championship team.
In 25 games London has put up 100 goals on the scoreboard, where last season’s team had 113 at this time and finished the year at the top of the Western Conference in scoring; the Scott Harrington lead squad playing at Budweiser Gardens has only seen the puck in their net 63 times so far, while the Jared Tinordi captained club with their home at the John Labatt Centre let in 70 points at this point in the season; and London currently has an 18-5-2 record, where the 2011-12 edition were 19-5-1-0.
The similarities between the past and present Knights goes beyond the stat sheet.
Both teams played with heart and grit.
The OHL champions showed perseverance by picking up nine wins in overtime and the shootout combined and only had one loss in the extra time all year.
Today’s London squad is earning their wins in the third period, coming from behind in four games in the final frame to collect big points in the standings.
The two teams both play similar a style. Both Knight teams shoot often and block their opponent’s shots without regard.
“Mark (last year’s head coach for the bulk of the season) and Dale Hunter (the current head coach) preach the same thing. Last year’s team really bought into it and we were able to have success at this and this year’s team is buying into it also,” Harrington said.
The biggest difference between the London squads is between the pipes. Last year the Knights put the heavy load on workhorse Michael Houser who ended up with OHL Goaltender of the Year award, while this time around Kevin Bailie and Jake Patterson have been sharing time in net and sit third and fourth, respectively, in goals against average with .928 and .921.
The Knights travel to Owen Sound on Saturday (Nov. 24) to play the Attack. London has already beat Owen Sound once in the win streak, when they were victorious last Friday (Nov. 16) in a 5-2 affair to claim their seventh victim in the stretch.
Find us on Facebook: London Community News