It’s a word the London Knights aren’t using to hearing lately: 2nd place. They’ve spent most of the last month or so as the top team in the Ontario Hockey League.
Not today. After losing to the Saginaw Spirit on Saturday night, coupled with an Erie Otters winning streak that has reached eight games, the Knights find themselves two points behind Erie.
Before the loss in Saginaw, the Knight had won four games in a row, keeping them on pace with the Otters. That included triumphs over Owen Sound, Kitchener, and Oshawa; none of those are easy teams.
Tonight, they head across the border to play the Flint Firebirds, a squad that’s been surging as of late. They have three wins in a row, including an impressive 5-2 stomping of the Kitchener Rangers on Saturday night.
London won the only meeting between the two teams in early December; Robert Thomas had two goals and three assists, en route to a 6-2 win.
They’ll want to shut down Ryan Moore, who leads Flint with 28 goals and 64 points in 49 games. That’s good enough for seventh in league scoring.
The Knights boast their own set of snipers, though; Cliff Pu’s 66 points in 45 contests puts him in fourth place in the OHL. Captain J. J. Piccinich has amassed 55 in 48, while Janne Kuokkanen has 51 in just 42.
With a win, the Knights would find themselves back for a tie with Erie for first place. But the Otters don’t seem to want to lose lately, so London will need to keep winning if they want to keep pace.
It starts tonight, at the Dort Federal Event Centre in Flint, Michigan. Puck drop is 7 p.m.