Matvey Guskov scored twice and Joseph Raaymakers made 37 saves as the London Knights bounced the Guelph Storm 6-1 at Budweiser Gardens on Wednesday night.
“[Raaymakers] was unreal tonight,” said London defenceman Joey Keane. “We were trying to get him that shutout. It just didn’t end up happening, but that doesn’t take away at all from how well he played.”
The Knights got to the 59-minute mark in trying to shut out the Storm before Domenic Commisso banged in a rebound on a late Guelph power play.
Until then, London had found ways to dominate and also to erase back-to-back losses in Saginaw and Sault Ste. Marie on the weekend by beating another top team in the OHL.
“We were really dialed in for tonight,” admitted Alex Turko. “We knew we needed two points and we had this one circled on the schedule because Guelph is such a good team. After this weekend, it made it that much more important and to get two points was huge.”
Antonio Stranges had a three-point night with three assists and was named the third star. Guskov’s two-goal night earned him the second star and in giving up just a single goal on 38 shots, Raaymakers was named the first star.
Adam Boqvist, Josh Nelson, Joey Keane and Sahil Panwar also scored goals for the Knights.
Liam Foudy and Nathan Dunkley each had two assists.
The Knights remain five points behind Ottawa for first place in the overall OHL standings with two games in hand. the 67’s doubled up the Frontenacs 4-2 in Kingston on Wednesday.
London is now 14 points ahead of the Storm for first place in the Midwest Division. The Knights last division crown came in 2013.
The Knights weathered an actual Guelph Storm to start the game. Joseph Raaymakers made six early saves to turn a big visiting swell aside, then Matvey Guskov carried the puck past a Guelph defender and poked it at the Storm net. His first attempt was stopped, but a second flick of the stick made it 1-0 London.
Raaymakers made 37 saves, but some of his biggest came in the second period with the Knights ahead 2-0. With 1:44 to go, Nick Suzuki slid a pass to Mackenzie Entwhistle in the slot and he unloaded and Raaymakers stopped it. The save was one of two on Entwhistle in the second period alone.
With Guelph defencemen taking chances up ice late in the third, London capitalized on two breakaways and a 2-on-1 to score three goals in two minutes and one second to increase their lead to 6-0 and put the game away.
Jones recalled by Ducks
For the second time this season, former Knight Max Jones finds himself in the National Hockey League. He was recalled on Wednesday by the Anaheim Ducks ahead of their game against the Vancouver Canucks. In his first stint in the NHL, Jones played in four games for Anaheim. He, Sam Steel and Troy Terry are considered the pieces to a new young core for the Ducks, who have struggled mightily since the middle of December. Jones has 14 goals and 28 points in 40 games with the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League this season.
The Knights will play a home-and-home series with Erie beginning on Friday, Feb. 15 at Budweiser Gardens. The Otters are a team that you don’t want to sit tied with at the end of regulation time. They lead all OHL teams with a 7-2 record in overtime. They are also the shootout kings in the OHL. The Otters are 5-1 in shootouts. Only the Guelph Storm have been beyond regulation more than Erie has.
London and the Otters will play a 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon in Erie, Pa.
After that the Knights will head to Mississauga for a Family Day game on Feb. 18.