The London Knights get going following the holiday break as they host the Windsor Spitfires on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens.
The Knights went into the break leading the Ontario Hockey League in three key categories: goals for per game, goals against per game, and overall winning percentage.
London also has an astronomical percentage on the penalty kill.
They have been stuffing opposition power plays at an 89.8 per cent clip.
The Knights added 19-year-old, right-shooting defenceman Joey Keane from the Barrie Colts on Friday. London now has five NHL draft picks on their blue line. Keane is expected to be in the lineup against Windsor. If he is, he could play his first game with his brother Gerard, who was London’s third-round pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.
Connor McMichael comes in hot for the Knights. He has five goals and 11 points in his past six games.
Windsor picked up their first victory since trading goaltender Michael DiPietro to Ottawa in their final game before the break. The Spitfires defeated Saginaw when Tyler Angle set up Daniel D’Amico in overtime. Angle had tied the game with less than two minutes remaining.
The Spitfires have hit the halfway mark of their schedule at a game under .500. (15-16-2-1) They have struggled to score goals this season with 107 in 34 games. (17th out of 20 teams)
D’Amico and hulking winger Cole Purboo lead Windsor in points with 25 apiece. Big six-foot-eight forward Curtis Douglas leads the Spitfires with 14 goals. Two of those have come against London.
Sixteen-year-old rookies Jean-Luc Foudy and Will Cuylie have had excellent starts to their OHL careers and form what should be a deadly future tandem for Windsor. Foudy is the younger brother of London Knights forward Liam Foudy.
London is 2-1 against the Spitfires this season. The loss came in Windsor on Oct. 4 when Michael DiPietro recorded a 33-save shutout.
When the London Knights made a deal to get Joey Keane from the Barrie Colts, they created the latest set of brothers on their roster. The most recent was Liam and Richard Whittaker, although they only played in one regular season game together. They did combine on a goal during the 2017 pre-season. The most prolific pair of brothers on the Knights so far would be Matt and Ryan Rupert. Put their totals together and you get 574 Ontario Hockey League games played, two OHL championships and three Memorial Cup tournaments.
The Vegas Golden Knights have signed London Knights forward Paul Cotter to a three-year entry-level contract. Cotter is 19 years old and has played in 12 games for London this season and has two goals and eight points. Vegas selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Cotter finished fourth in USHL scoring last season while playing with the Lincoln Stars and had four goals and four assists in seven playoff games for Lincoln.
Canada off to a 2-0 start at World Juniors
The games were very different, but both resulted in a victory for Canada in Vancouver at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship. Knights captain Evan Bouchard had three assists in Canada’s 14-0 blowout of Denmark to open the tournament. Londoner Nick Suzuki added an assist in that game. Suzuki picked up another assist on Thursday night as Canada held on to beat Switzerland 3-2. Team Canada will play the Czech Republic on Saturday.
The Knights will play their final two games of 2018 against the Sarnia Sting. London will be in Sarnia on Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. and then will come home to face the Sting at Budweiser Gardens at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. London has a 3-0-0-1 record against Sarnia this season. Their only loss came in a shootout in Sarnia on Dec. 12.
The first game of 2019 for the Knights will take place in St. Catharines against the Niagara Ice Dogs on Jan. 3. London will be home to Sault Ste. Marie the next night.
All games can be heard on 980 CFPL, at 980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
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