Nobody wants to be on a losing streak. Especially when you’re projected to be one of the better teams in the OHL. The London Knights came into Saturday afternoon’s tilt against the lowly Kingston Frontenacs with one thing in mind, putting an end to their losing ways. Luckily London was able to do so, defeating Kingston 6-3.
Second-year winger, Luke Evangelista, contributed to London’s victory in a major way, posting a hat trick and an assist. Former Washington Capitals draft pick, Connor McMichael, recorded a goal and two assists. McMichael now has 18 points in the first nine games. Nathan Dunkley and Hunter Skinner also registered multi-point games. Dunkley notched a goal and an assist while Skinner tallied two assists. In just his second game of the season, Liam Foudy recorded his second goal. Sean McGurn, Josh Nelson, Jonathan Gruden, Alec Regula, and Matvey Guskov also registered one assist apiece.
Kingston may not have come out on top but they gave the London Knights a scare early. Dennis Golovatchev recorded his second goal of the season less than a minute into the contest. Both Francesco Arcuri and Vitali Pinchuk registered goals in the third period. Pinchuk now has four goals so far this season.
Brett Brochu returned to the crease Saturday and had a pretty quiet afternoon. He only faced 18 shots but allowed three goals. Brendan Bonello started the game for the Frontenacs but did not last past the second period. He was pulled 5:57 into the middle tilt after allowing four goals. Ryan Dugas came in in relief and allowed two more goals on 16 shots.
Nine games into the year, London is back at .500 with 4-4-1-0 record. Kingston falls to 1-7-2-1 in what has been a rough start to the 2019-20 campaign.
Luke Evangelista Leads the Way for London
Luke Evangelista has always demonstrated great playmaking abilities. He has a knack for finding his teammates with fantastic passing. However, a major aspect holding the draft-eligible prospect from moving up the ranks was his inability to find the back of the net. Before tonight, Evangelista was held without a goal in his first 35 games. Luckily, 17-year-old winger changed all of that Saturday in a very big way. Evangelista did not only register the first goal of his OHL career but his first three tallies. It is the perfect time for him to start contributing to London’s offensive efforts as the team is in desperate need of some quality scoring depth. One can only hope that the flood gates are now opened for the promising forward.
Finally Some Consistency
London’s struggles this season have come from an inability to produce a full 60 minutes of quality hockey. That was not the case tonight. Aside from allowing an early goal, the Knights were firing on all cylinders throughout the game’s entirety. London distributed the scoring as equally as you can, recording two goals in all three periods. Additionally, the Knights put 15 shots on net in both the first and second periods. They didn’t quite get to 15 in the third period but still registered ten with the game pretty much intact.
With London looking streaky more times than not through the first eight games, it was nice to see them put it all together for a full game. Of course, the key is now building off this win and continue to play with consistency in upcoming contests.
Keep a Level Head
After losing three-straight games, it was nice to see the Knights grab a victory. However, it cannot be the level of competition they faced cannot be ignored. The Frontenacs are in for a rough year filled with a lot more losses than wins. This is a game that London should have one. It’s a good first step to getting back on track but London needs to play this way against more challenging opposition.
The London Knights will be put to work next weekend with three games in three days. They will host the Saginaw Spirit on Friday, hit the road on Saturday to play the Erie Otters, and then cap off the weekend back at home on Sunday against the Niagra IceDogs.
Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images