The London Knights look to take a stranglehold against the Niagara IceDogs, as they try to go ahead 3-0 in the Ontario Hockey League Championship. With a win, the Knights will be one step to clinching the OHL title and a spot in the Memorial Cup that will be held in Red Deer, Alberta.
After a dominating regular season, the Knights have mercilessly bowled over their opponents in the playoffs. While they finished third in their Conference, they were tied for first with the Erie Otters with 105 points in the Midwest Division. However, the Otters had one more win in hand which put them ahead of the Knights for first in their Division and Conference.
The Knights hold the best record in the playoffs, going 14-2-0-0 with a 0.875 winning percentage. What’s staggering is that they have 77 goals for and 35 against, good for +42 goal differential. The Western Conference Champions have a +25 goal differential over their Eastern Conference Champions opponents, the IceDogs.
Since the post-season began, it’s been a cakewalk for the Knights. Every game they’ve played, they have dominated from start to finish. Some nights, it doesn’t even seem fair. Even when their going up against teams like the Ice Dogs, Erie Otter and Kitchener Rangers, they still manage to beat their opponent at both ends of the ice.
After scoring 10 goals in two games, the Knights look to continue their dominant ways tonight, with Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner (as I like call the “Mitch-ician”) leading the way.
The OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year winner is showing no signs of slowing down, leading the league in playoff scoring in playoff scoring with 41 points and boasting plus 27 rating in 16 games played. Matthew Tkachuk and Christian Dvorak are behind him in scoring with 39 and 32 points respectively.
After a four game sweep of the Erie Otters, Marner averaged about three points a game. In the first two games of the finals, Marner had a goal and an assist in game one and two assists in game two.
The Western Hockey League’s leading scorer is Brandon Wheat Kings centre and potential first overall pick in next years draft, Nolan Patrick (27 points). Anthony Beauvillier of the Shawinigan Cataractes (28 points) leads the Quebec Major Junior League. Marner has a 13-point lead over the next leading scorer (Beauvillier).
Recently I wrote about Marner’s and the Knights domination not only in the playoffs, but this whole season.
The Knights have a roster that is capable of making a run for the top prize in the Canadian Hockey League. Even when their top guns are on the score sheet, the Knights still get contributions throughout the lineup from JJ Piccinich, Cliff Pu and defensemen Olli Juolevi and Victor Mete. Tyler Parson has been lights out as their number one goalie and he continues to be a thorn in players’ sides when he’s in net.
The Knights are inching closer to their goal to becoming the top team in junior hockey.