The Knights Watch: Inconsistency plagues London again

The London Knights entered Friday night’s contest against the Windsor Spitfires with one thing in mind. Do not let this losing streak go past two games. Consecutive losses will happen, even for good hockey teams. However, once that streak of losses reaches three games or more, unrest within the organization is bound to happen. Unfortunately, London could not get it done against their Western Conference rivals, falling 4-2 at home.

Windsor’s Tyler Angle was the undisputed first star of the game. The Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick recorded two goals, including the OHL highlight of the night where he beat Jordan Kooy with a shot between the legs. Angle now has nine goals in 11 games. Cole Purboo and Jean-Luc Foudy scored the two other goals for Windsor.

In his return to the Knights lineup, Liam Foudy recorded his first goal of the season. Jonathan Gruden posted London’s other goal, giving him four on the year. Connor McMichael, Luke Evangelista, and Ryan Merkley all recorded assists for the Knights.

In the land of goaltending, both Jordan Kooy and Kari Piiroinen had decent games. Kooy did allow four goals on 34 shots but it’s hard to argue that he was at fault for all four tallies. Piiroinen, on the other hand, only surrendered two goals on 33 shots.

After Friday’s loss, London has fallen to 3-4-1-0 and last place in the Midwest division. Windsor improved its record to 7-3-1-0 and sits in second place in the West Division.

Slow Starts Continue to Kill Knights

Once again, the Knights failed to produce a productive first period. London struggled in almost every aspect through the first twenty minutes and was lucky to only be down a goal after one. The offense simply could not penetrate the Windsor defense, preventing any sort of prolonged attack. As a result, the Knights only registered a meager four shots on goal. Of course, that’s not going to cut it. Defensively, the team seemed a step or two slower than the opposition. Windsor beat their defenders with ease and created some decent opportunities. On top of that, London made a few careless mistakes in their own zone that could have proven to be detrimental.

London was able to erase the 1-0 deficit in the second period. So in reality, their slow start didn’t cause too much damage. However, this is a trend the team needs to break. Typically, teams that typically fail to start a game productively, struggle throughout the season.

The Second Period Remains the Best

Unlike London’s first period performances of late, the middle stanza always seems to be the team’s best. It was seen both in last week’s game against Owen Sound and Friday night’s contest against Windsor. The Knights put Windsor and Piiroinen to work, registering 20 shots and evening the score. Of course, you would like to see London cash in on more of those shots. However, it is hard to argue with the level of competing that the team possessed in the middle frame.

Another Failure to Close

Friday night’s loss was a typical display of London’s season thus far. The game essentially followed the same pattern of most of their losses. The inability to close out a game, unfortunately, falls into that framework.

Although the Knights were able to gain the lead in the third period, they could not maintain it. They allowed three straight goals, of course, resulting in their demise. Once they surrendered the lead, it was as though they called it a night. The Knights need to produce a productive full 60 minutes of hockey if they want to start recording more wins then losses.

Up Next

The Knights will look to get back on track Saturday afternoon at home against the Kingston Frontenacs. Kingston has had a rough start to the year, going 1-6-2-1 thus far.

Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images