The London Knights continued their extended road trip with Budweiser Gardens unavailable. This was a slow week in the OHL schedule for the Knights as they only played 2 games. Both games were against lower teams in the standings, the Flint Firebirds on Wednesday, a game in which London escaped with a 4-3 shootout victory and were outshot 46-41. Tyler Johnson was good in the net for the Knights as he was the man for both games as Tyler Parsons was rested by the Knights and did not make either trip this week. As I have mentioned in previous articles Parsons is the key for London and the Knights coaching staff has done this all season long giving Parsons breaks and letting him rest when they faced the lesser lights in the OHL.
London travelled to Kitchener to face the Rangers, a team that was sellers at the trade deadline. Oddly enough they did not trade the league’s third leading scorer Adam Mascherin a Florida Panthers draft pick. Mascherin has the tools to be a game changer and now is left to carry the Rangers on his own. The Rangers to their credit stayed with the Knights through 2 periods. With the game tied at 2, the Knights scored 3 unanswered goals to pull away with the 5-2 victory. Tyler Johnson was less than spectacular, but earned the victory shutting the door in the final period.
This year more than any in recent memory, there is a bigger gap from the teams at the top of the standings to the team’s mid to bottom of the standings. London and Erie have already clinched playoff spots and remained tied for top overall spot in the OHL with the Otters still having a game in hand. Cliff Pu remains atop the points stats for the Knights with 68 points in 47 games played and is a +28 good enough for fifth overall in the OHL. He is the only Knight in the top 20 in scoring. The flip side to that is the Erie Otters who have 4 players in the top 20 scoring including the top 2 players. Alex Debrincat leads the OHL with 96 points in only 46 games played and holds a 10 point advantage over teammate Taylor Raddysh who has 86 points in only 41 games played. Otter defenceman Darren Raddysh is the only defenceman in the top 20. He sits fifteenth with 58 points.
The flipside of the Otter stats is the Windsor Spitfires who have only Jeremy Bracco in the top 20. But realistically he shouldn’t count as he was obtained by the Spits at the trade deadline from the Kitchener Rangers. Windsor has had injury troubles all season long and can’t seem to score at the 4 goal a game clip that was forecasted as the benchmark to successfully traverse the OHL playoffs. In my opinion Erie and London are the class of the league and Windsor will probably back into the Memorial Cup with their automatic spot as host. Their only saving grace this season has been the play of goaltender Michael Dipietro. The 16 yr old goalie has battled Knights Tyler Parsons all season for top spot in the important goaltender stats. Time will tell if he has enough gas in the tank for the playoffs and Memorial Cup run.
London again is on the road on Wednesday at the Erie Insurance Arena to face the Otters. Expect one of the best games of the season in the OHL when these 2 goliaths collide. London finally returns home on Friday to host the Owen Sound Attack and look to keep at the top of standings London then heads to Kingston on Sunday afternoon to face the Frontenacs.
Don’t forget to check out my ebay store Five For Fighting Authentics for all your London Knights game worn and fan collectibles. Prices are slashed on many items especially game worn jerseys from past seasons and need to be moved.