The London Knights win streak just keeps going and growing and they added another victim to their list after beating the Kingston Frontenacs 6-5 in overtime at Budweiser Gardens on Sunday (Dec. 16).
The Knights didn’t make it on easy on themselves, down 5-3 with less than 10 minutes to play in regulation before Seth Griffith and Ryan Rupert both scored to send the game to sudden death with Griffith putting in the winner to extend London’s victory stretch to 21.
The Knights are now just one game away from tying the second-longest win streak in Ontario Hockey League history set by the Barrie Colts in the 2009-10 season.
“I think all the pressure is on us,” Griffith said, after netting his team-leading 25th goal. “But, I think we’ve been handling the pressure pretty good.”
Anytime you win this many games consecutively it’s impressive, but London is doing it in gritty style.
The Knights will be looking to pick up their 22nd victory in just 56 days, while the Colts managed to do it in 67.
Oddly enough though, London will have to wait 10-days until after the Christmas break before hitting the ice for their next game; Barrie had the same advantage and were able to enjoy their holiday turkey before picking up triumph No. 22.
The Knights will have faced off against 16 different teams since their mass winning ways started. The Colts played only 12 different clubs in their stretch.
London is squeaking by games, winning eight of them by just one-goal in the streak, including this past weekend when London beat Guelph 4-3 in a shootout Saturday (Dec. 15) and Owen Sound 3-2 on Friday (Dec. 14). Four of those have victories have come way of overtime or shootout.
The Colts beat their opponents by just one-point on the scoreboard in just five games with three of those in extra time and pounded their opponent by an average of a 3.3 goal differential.
“I always say we’re kind of lucky to get out of overtime. It can go any way, it’s just one shot,” Griffith said. “We don’t like to be in those positions.”
A big part of that was the Colts onslaught of offence that scored 117 goals in the 22 games. The Knights currently have 30 less scores on their streak.
London has proved they’re more than just a one-trick pony.
With defenceman Nikita Zadarov and Olli Maata missing since Dec. 9 to play in the World Junior Championship and captain Scott Harrington joining Team Canada in the international tournament, the depth was thin on the blue line this past weekend and will continue after the holiday hiatus.
Add suspensions to defenceman Kevin Raine (who missed three-games starting Friday) and forward Max Domi (who missed two-games starting Saturday) and the Knights couldn’t even fill a full lineup with several offensive players being asked to stay back and help out in front of their goalie.
In Sunday’s game against Kingston, the lack of blue liners showed with London giving up their most amount of goals since the streak started.
Barrie had given up four goals or more in four games during their win stretch.
The Knights will lace up the skates next when they take on Windsor Spitfires at Budweiser Gardens on Dec. 27. The last time the Knights took on Windsor was Nov. 1 when the Knights suffered their last loss.
“The toughest part will be just be us coming back,” Griffith said, about a Knights squad getting only one-day to prep for their next game after coming back from the break. “We just got to go into that game doing what we’ve been doing and doing all the little things right and hopefully build up some momentum.”