New Look Knights Fall To Rangers
After imploding their roster over the last couple days trading away cornerstones Cliff Pu, Robert Thomas and Sam Militec, the new look London Knights welcomed the Kitchener Rangers to Budweiser Gardens Thursday night. Prior to the game, the Knights announced their new leadership group, with Evan Bouchard garnering captaincy honours while Alex Formenton, Shane Collins and Tyler Rollo were named alternates. That was about as good as the news would get for London on Thursday.
The Rangers wasted no time getting into things with Logan Stanley wiring a slap shot behind Joseph Raaymakers just under three minutes into action to give his squad the early lead. Stanley would add another just five minutes later to give him, and his team, a 2-0 lead. London seemed to get their legs underneath them after that as Cole Tymkin was able to score for the Knights to halve the lead. But with 26 remaining in the frame, Givani Smith of the Rangers tapped one home to restore Kitchener's two-goal lead going into the first intermission. The new-look Knights only registered three shots on goal in the frame.
The second period saw the Knights' inexperience come through as the Rangers took it to them offensively. Adam Mascherin extended the lead to 4-1 about midway through the frame. The Knights had their chances, but couldn't beat Kitchener tender Mario Culina.
The Rangers just had to turn on cruise control after the 2nd period to coast their way to a 5-1 final over their rivals. It was a barebones team that London dressed, and it showed on Thursday night. They only have two players who were born later than 1999, so young mistakes are going to happen. The Knights will be looking to gain some cohesion as a team and finish the season strong and show why they are one of the top franchises in the OHL, despite lacking their usual talent. The green and gold will be in action again tomorrow against the bolstered Hamilton Bulldogs when they welcome them to Budweiser Gardens for a Friday night fight.