In almost every aspect, the London Knights’ opening weekend was extremely successful.
After an impressive 8-2 home victory versus the Erie Otters on Friday, the defending Ontario Hockey League champions left Guelph with an identical score Sunday afternoon.
“They made it a bit chippy out there,” Knights defenceman and assistant captain Tommy Hughes said of some late-game antics versus the Storm, “but our guys handled it pretty well. We got the two points and that’s all that counts.”
Although the Knights took a few undisciplined penalties early on, they regrouped midway through the game, eventually staying out of the box long enough to score eight goals.
The Midwest Division rivals amassed a combined 76 penalty minutes, including three scraps, in front of 3,375 at the Sleeman Centre. Forwards Matt Rupert and Bo Horvat, as well as rearguard Nikita Zadorov, dropped the mitts for London.
In a pair of appearances in the OHL so far, import Zadorov — who has a monstrous 6-foot-5, 228-pound frame — has already fought twice.
“I didn’t expect a Russian defenceman to do that here,” Hughes, 20, said of his hulking teammate’s aggression. “He’s really been laying the body.”
In the second romp in as many games, winger Seth Griffith provided offensive leadership by scoring twice and adding an assist. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ryan Rupert pitched in, too, notching four assists in the win.
Even Hughes, who had only managed two goals in 103 previous OHL contests, put the puck past Storm goaltender Garret Sparks. The Londoner’s second period marker proved to be the game-winner.
- Goalie Jake Patterson — flu (day-to-day)
- Goalie Liam Herbst —knee (3-5 weeks)
- Forward Jack Nevins — hip (day-to-day)
- Forward Jacob Jammes — knee (2-4 weeks)
*This post also appears in Metro London’s Sept. 24 print edition