If you can score goals at one end and keep them out at the other you’ll have a whole lot of fun with the game of hockey.
The London Knights left the ice with all kinds of smiles on Sunday night after a 4-0 win over the Guelph Storm when Luke Evangelista scored his 50th goal and recorded his 100th point. Rookie goalie Owen Flores made 31 saves for his first career OHL shutout.
Cody Morgan also had a pair of goals and an assist for London and Oliver bonk chipped in two assists and Brody Crane scored his seventh goal of the season.
Evangelista 50-goal feat is a rare one — accomplished by just four other London Knights players since 2000.
He took some time to reflect after the game.
“it’s just an honour to be in such elite company,” admitted Evangelista. “I look at how far I’ve been able to come. I went from scoring zero goals when I was 16 to fifty now. It’s really cool.”
Flores was also able to reflect a bit although his look back was days instead of years.
On March 16 the Storm scored four goals in regulation against Flores in a 5-4 shootout loss by the Knights. Flores went to the London Nationals and in a week stopped 95 of 96 shots for three victories and two shutouts in three games.
“Coming into the game I knew I needed a big game after that shootout loss,” said Flores. As the game went along I felt like I had over the past two shutout wins that I had. I knew that’s how I needed to feel. It was great.”
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Flores biggest save came inside the final five minutes when he robbed Jakob McRae with a glove stop after the puck was fed out front from behind the London net.
London now leads the Storm by 13 points for first place in the Midwest Division with nine games remaining. The Knights lead Owen Sound by nine points but the Attack only have six games left to try to make up ground.
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The 50-goal club
With the success the London Knights have had and the number of players who have starred in the OHL, it might be surprising to hear that in the past 21 seasons, before Luke Evangelista accomplished it, just six other players have scored 50 goals in a season wearing a Knights uniform and two of them (John Tavares with Oshawa; Kevin Hancock with Owen Sound) scored a good number of their goals with other teams.
The duo of Rob Schremp and Dave Bolland tied each other with 57 goals apiece in 2005-06. Patrick Kane joined the 60-goal club with 62 in 2006-07 and Christian Dvorak had 52 when London won the Memorial Cup in 2015-16.
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Four Alliance teams off to OHL Cup
The OHL Cup is back for the first time since 2019. It brings together the top 20 U16 AAA teams from Ontario and the United States and four area teams have been given spots. The London Jr. Knights, Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, Huron-Perth Lakers and Brantford 99ers will kick things off when the tournament starts on March 20 at the Scotiabank Pond in Toronto, Ont.
Following the OHL Cup, all four will return to finish the Alliance playoffs with London squaring off against Elgin-Middlesex in one semi-final and the Lakers and 99ers meeting in the other.
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London will kick off a home-and-home with the Firebirds in Flint, Mich., on Wednesday, March 30.
The game will end their busiest stretch of the season. It will mark their 15th game in 30 days.
Flint has won two of the three games the clubs have played this year. They were actually the first team to beat the Knights this season after London started the year 9-0.
The pre-game show will begin at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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