Gazizov gets two as London Knights knock off Erie Otters 5-3

Ruslan Gazizov opened the scoring in the first period and then closed it in the third period as the London Knights defeated the Erie Otters 5-3 at Budweiser Gardens on Feb. 2, 2024.

After the Otters scored three first period goals against the Knights in Erie on Jan. 27, it was London who came out with three in the first 20 minutes on their home ice.

Jacob Julien knocked down a puck to Gazizov 8:20 into the game and Gazizov buried his 20th goal of the season.

Just 36 seconds later Max McCue’s 21st of the year made it 2-0 for London.

Pano Fimis scored for Erie to break Owen Willmore’s shutout streak and cut the Knights lead in half but Easton Cowan stretched his point streak to 16 games as he scored London’s 21st short-handed goal of the year with just 5.9 seconds left on the clock.

Story continues below advertisement

McCue picked up an assist on the play as he carried the puck deep into the Otters zone and found Cowan in front. The shot didn’t come cleanly off Cowan’s stick but Cowan beat Erie goalie Jacob Gibbons to the rebound and poked it across the goal line.

Erie challenged the play for goaltender interference but the challenge was unsuccessful and the Knights led 3-1.

The second period featured two more shorthanded goals as Malcolm Spence raced into the London zone on a breakaway to tighten the Knights lead to a goal at the 2:20 mark. Then Cowan stole a puck away from Gibbons in the right corner of the Otters end and found Denver Barkey for his league-leading seventh short-handed goal of the year and a 4-2 London lead at the end of 40 minutes.

Story continues below advertisement

After limiting Kitchener to four shots in the third period on Jan. 30, the Knights gave up only six to Erie in the final 20 minutes and Julien sent Gazizov and Barkey into the Otters end on a two-on-one and Gazizov put the puck into an empty night for the final goal of the game.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Julien ended the game with two assists and McCue, Barkey and Cowan all had a goal and an assist.

The game featured the three straight short-handed goals but neither team scored a power play goal.

London outshot Erie 29-22.

Bonk and Simpson honoured

For the second month in a row, the London Knights have a player among the OHL Performers of the Month. In fact, they have two.

Oliver Bonk was named Defenceman of the Month after recording nine of the 16 goals that he has on the season in January and added 10 assists as well. Bonk has become a fixture in front of the net on London’s league leading power play and has hit a whole other level of hockey since rerturning from the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Michael Simpson was named OHL Goaltender of the Month. The Londoner currently leads the OHL in wins and goals against average and had sparkling numbers in the first month of 2024. The overager posted five victories to go along with a 1.32 goals against average and a .950  save percentage. Simpson attended training camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2023.

Story continues below advertisement

Up next

The Knights head on the road for a pair of games against two more Midwest Division opponents.

London will be in Owen Sound against the Attack for a 7 p.m. at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre on Feb. 3.

After that the Knights head for Guelph where they will face the Storm at 4 p.m., on Sunday, Feb. 4.

London is a combined 7-0 against Guelph and the Attack. Coverage will start at 6:30 p.m., on 980 CFPL, at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

Sponsored content