Friday night saw the Soo Greyhounds pay a visit to Budweiser Gardens and the London Knights. The Greyhounds are among one of the younger teams in the league and their record reflects that, playing a few games over .500 early in the season. Starting goaltender Tyler Parsons is still out with what is being called a lower body injury and did not dress, leaving the starting duties to rookie Tyler Johnson. Johnson who has struggled at times must take this opportunity to gain much-needed experience and show that he indeed belongs in the OHL. The game didn’t go as planned on any front for the rookie goalie.
The Greyhounds opened the scoring inside the first minute of the game on a weak goal and it would go downhill from there for Johnson. The Greyhounds would race out to a 2-0 lead on the strength of persistent forechecking and a Knights team that seemed to struggle being on the same page, as their passes and their playmaking was just a tick off. A rare giveaway by Olli Juolevi and another weak goal on Johnson made it a 3-1 lead for the Soo and it would get worse for Johnson as he went down in an immense amount of pain early in the third period with an apparent right leg injury and was replaced by Jr.B call up Trenton McGrail. McGrail played admirably under the circumstances, even getting a pat on the head from the Greyhounds for a great glove save.
Max Jones was another storyline for the Knights. He is without a doubt the most gifted forward on the team, but his undisciplined play cost the Knights a much-needed two points. The first round pick by the Anaheim Ducks was a thorn in the side of the Greyhounds all evening and made a spectacular pass in the slot to Janne Kuokkanen on the Knights second goal. But he went overboard at the end of the second period going at a Soo forward and he received a 10 minute misconduct, leaving the Knights best offensive forward unavailable for half the third period. Luckily the Knights managed to tie the score and take the game into overtime thanks to Cliff Pu who ran his point streak to eight games. But Jones again would take another foolish penalty with less than a minute left in regulation time and it would cost the Knights the two points as the Greyhounds secured the overtime victory on the power play.
With Parsons and possibly Johnson unavailable, it would make sense to recall Emanuel Vella to start in the game tomorrow night at home against the Sarnia Sting. This was a game that the Knights should have won, but an uninspired first half of the game and undisciplined play cost them a point. One game doesn’t make a season, but if it continues as it has at times this season changes will have to be made.