The London Knights after having almost a flawless month of November have been mediocre through the midpoint of December. That is in part as I have discussed earlier the fact that they were missing their top players at WJC training camps. They did welcome back on Friday night defenceman Victor Mete one of the last cuts from Team Canada. Mete was a at his best as the Knights headed to the Christmas break with an easy 4-1 victory over the very young Guelph Storm. Mete lead all Knights with 7 shots on goal and was a factor at both ends of the ice on Friday. The star of the game in my opinion was 16 yr old Knights goaltender Jordan Kooy who was outstanding all evening for the Knights as he made spectacular save after save. Kooy starting only his third ever OHL game looked confident and tracked the puck well and had outstanding lateral movement, looking more like an OHL veteran than a rookie.
This victory came on the heels of a disappointing 3-1 loss in Peterborough to the Petes. A game in which London lacked the jump and offensive push we are all used to. London was outshot by the Petes, a rare occurrence for Dale Hunter coached teams. Goaltender Tyler Johnson who is expected to carry the load for the Knights in the absence of Tyler Parsons, arguably the top OHL goaltender this season looked shaky and uncomfortable playing in the Petes barn. An older building that has odd shaped corner and creates funny bounces off those boards makes most goaltenders uncomfortable in their first visit. What was noticeable watching Johnson in the London net was his failure to track the puck on numerous occasions. He has all the tools of an OHL goaltender, but as of yet has not been able to put them together. His groin injury that kept him out of the lineup for most of the season has hindered his development so far this year and as I have mentioned before do the Knights management staff feel comfortable with him as the backup to Tyler Parsons?
Also absent from the Knights lineup was first round NHL pick Max Jones who is still nursing what the Knights are calling an arm injury. So we will call it that going forward. The 11 day break that the Knights will now enjoy will allow Jones further recovery time without missing more games. London does miss his physical presence on the ice and his scoring touch on the powerplay. The Knights moved recently acquired power forward Adam Carbonara onto the top line with Cliff Pu and sensational rookie Alex Formenton. Carbonera has been a factor in every Knights game he has played in and has made Brady Pataki expendable, look for the Knights to try and move him for at least mid round draft pick.
Despite the .500 record this December the Knights remain the number 2 ranked team in the CHL and will no doubt close out the 2016 calendar year on a positive note.
TO YOU AND YOURS WE WISH YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!!!!