November 30, 2023

The London Knights outlasted the Windsor Spitfires 10-7 on Thursday night in Windsor as the Knights began three games in three nights with a victory.

Through 31 minutes and 15 seconds of hockey the teams had combined for 13 goals.

At that point the Knights and Spitfires were averaging one goal for every two minutes and 24 seconds of hockey.

There were a combined five first-period goals.

There were a combined eight second-period goals.

The third period was considerably less offensive. Only four goals. And one was an empty-netter.

It was the first time London hit double-digits in a regular season game since Jan. 22, 2017, when they defeated Niagara 11-2.

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It was about as junior hockey as junior hockey can get and the 4515 fans in attendance at the WFCU Centre loved most of it.

The Knights jumped out to an early 2-0 lead courtesy of Sam O’Reilly and Ryder Boulton. Strathroy’s Evan Van Gorp made the play on Boulton’s goal from behind the Windsor net to record his first OHL point in his first OHL game.

Back-to-back minor penalties to Jackson Edward produced back-to-back power play goals by Windsor. Liam Greentree ripped a wrist shot through traffic and then Cole Davis scored on a wrap-around and the game sat tied 2-2.

Greentree took advantage of a turnover at the Windsor blue line and was able to being the puck down the ice and find Spitfires forward Ryan Abraham going to the London net and Abraham was able to knock the puck behind Knights goalie Michael Simpson to make it 3-2.

London charged out in the second period. O’Reilly levelled Oliver Peer at centre ice and not long after later Ruslan Gazizov tied the game 3-3 on a give-and-go with Easton Cowan.

After that he Spitfires went on another three-goal tear to take a 6-3 lead.

Their trio of goals in the first period came in a span of 5:11. They scored three goals in 6:11 in the second period as Greentree connected on his second power play goal of the game and that was followed by markers from Abraham and A. J. Spellacy.

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Will Nicholl’s third goal of the season got the Knights to within a pair and then London got a big chance on the power play.

A match penalty was handed to Ethan Martin of the Spitfires at 7:40 of the second period for a cross-check on Max McCue led to a skirmish and that led to an additional minor penalty to Windsor and a 5-on-3 man advantage for the Knights.

Kasper Haltunen’s 11th goal of the year made it 6-5 on the two-man advantage and then Oliver Bonk’s first of the season tied the game before Windsor’s penalty trouble ended and the game sat tied.

Just 15 seconds after Bonk’s goal Ruslan Gazizov flew down into the Spitfires zone, cut to the net and scored his second of the night to put London ahead to stay.

The scoring then went silent for the next 18 minutes and two seconds when Kaeden Johnston gave the Knights a two-goal cushion with just over ten minutes to play.

A fourth Windsor power play goal by Alex Christopoulos at 10:47 of the third tightened the gap to a single goal once more but Jackson Edward made it 9-7 for London at the 11:54 mark and then Max McCue finished the scoring with an empty-netter.

The Knights outshot the Spitfires 39-29.

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Cowan and Denver Barkey had three assists apiece in the game. Halttunen and O’Reilly ended with one goal and two assists each.

London was 3-0for-6 on the man advantage and Windsor was 4-for-7.

Former Knight Ryan Winterton made his NHL debut on Thursday night with the Seattle Kraken.

Knights make trade with IceDogs

London and Niagara completed their third trade of the season on Nov. 9 when the Knights acquired forward Chris O’Flaherty, two 3rd round draft picks and a 4th round pick for forward Brody Crane. O’Flaherty was originally a 4th round pick of the Windsor Spitfires in 2021. He is from Chicago, Ill., and was acquired by the IceDogs in a trade made in 2022-23.

O’Flaherty is 18-years old and has four assists in ten games this season. Crane is 19 and played 136 games in London over two seasons and 12 games this year. Crane was a fourth round selection of the Knights in 2020.

Knights sign Finn Wilson

The Knights have announced that goaltender Finn Wilson has agreed to an OHL Scholarship and development agreement with the team. Wilson put up dynamite numbers in the PJHL with the Port Stanley Sailors a year ago and has followed that with a great start in 2023-24 while playing for the Georgetown Raiders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

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Wilson was born in 2006 and was a 15th round pick of London’s in 2022. Knights General Manager Mark Hunter stated that, “Wilson (and Brendan Gerber last week) both played well in training camp and earned a chance to become London Knights.” For the moment Wilson will remain in Georgetown and Gerber will continue to play for the Elmira Sugar Kings of the GOJHL. Both players are eligible to play as many as ten games this season for the Knights.

Up next

London will host the Owen Sound Attack on Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m., at Budweiser Gardens.

The teams will be playing their second game against each other in less than a week following a 3-2 win by the Knights on Nov. 4 at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. Sam O’Reilly scored the game winning goal with 17.5 seconds remaining in regulation that gave London a third consecutive win bu a 3-2 score.

The Attack have the fourth-ranked power play in the OHL this season and come into the game following a 5-0 loss to the Kitchener Rangers on Nov. 8.

Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m., on 980 CFPL, at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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