The past two London Knights games have taught hockey fans a key lesson: Don’t leave early.
On Monday night the Knights and the Saginaw Spirit combined to score eight times in the third period as London won 6-5.
On Wednesday in Guelph, Ont., the Knights and Storm scored six goals total in a game that ultimately went to a shootout. Guelph won giving them the extra point in a 6-5 victory.
London now leads the Storm by eight points for first place in the Ontario Hockey League and what will almost certainly be the first or second seed in the Western Conference when the playoffs get going on April 21.
The Knights held Guelph to just ten shots through the first two periods. However, the Storm managed to score twice on a pretty passing play finished by Valentin Zhugin and on a giveaway in front of the London net that Ben McFarlane deked past Knights goalie Owen Flores.
Before the end of the second period London captain Luke Evangelista went to work with two of his four assists on the night. He helped to set up Sean McGurn on a power play and then put a puck on a tee on a two-on-one for Tonio Stranges. The teams went to the final 20 minutes tied.
Knights defenceman Isaiah George gave London the lead just 1:06 into the third as he picked a top corner over the shoulder of Storm goalie Jacob Oster to make it 3-2.
Stranges scored his 25th just under seven minutes later for London’s fourth consecutive goal and a 4-2 advantage but in a game where the goals came in waves, Guelph came back.
Three goals by Cam Allen, Braeden Bowman and Sasha Pastujov in under four minutes had the Storm back in front 5-4 with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.
The Knights pulled their goalie with just over two minutes left, won a faceoff in the Guelph end and Cody Morgan rocketed home a wrist shot for his 20th goal of the season to tie the game at 17:52.
Overtime solved nothing. Evangelista scored a nice shootout goal where he out-waited Oster. Bowman and Zhugin scored for the Storm to give them the additional point.
London outshot Guelph 33-27.
On Tappara the Finnish standings
The top hockey league in Finland is into the final week of its regular season and Tappara is trying to fend off Ilves and Jukurit for first place overall and they are being helped by two former London Knights.
Kyle Platzer played for London between 2012 and 2014 and Brady Austin was with the Knights for nearly all of the 2013-14 season when London, Ont. hosted the Memorial Cup tournament. Both have been fixtures for Tappara this year.
Former Sudbury Wolves forward Nicholas Baptiste plays for Ilves. Tappara currently leads both Ilves and Jukurit by five points.
Londoner Simpson helps stop Bulldogs streak
The Hamilton Bulldogs had their 12-game winning streak ended by the Peterborough Petes on March 15 in Peterborough, Ont. The Petes knocked off Hamilton 3-1 and Londoner and former London Jr. Knight Michael Simpson stopped 34 of 35 shots for his 15th win of the season.
Simpson made 31 of those saves over the final two periods. He was part of a Jr. Knights team that featured OHLers Brett Harrison (Oshawa) and Jordan D’Intino (Soo Greyhounds). They made the Alliance finals before being beaten by the Waterloo Warriors.
The Bulldogs win streak was almost halfway to the most recent longest streak in the OHL. The Greyhounds won 23 consecutive games in 2017-18. The Knights own the second-longest streak in league history at 24. That was set in 2012-13. The record still belongs to the Kitchener Rangers who won 25 games in a row in 1983-84.
London will meet the Saginaw Spirit for the second time in less than a week on Friday, March 18 at Budweiser Gardens. The Knights edged Saginaw 6-5 in a wild game on March 14. London and the Spirit combined for eight goals in the third period as Luke Evangelista and Tonio Stranges each record a pair of goals and a pair of assists and Owen Willmore picked up his second victory in two games.
The Knights are 2-0 against Saginaw this season.
The Spirit built a 3-0 lead at home to the Kitchener Rangers on Wednesday but lost 5-4.
Coverage will begin at 7 pm on 980 CFPL at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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