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Game preview: London Knights vs Erie Otters – Sept. 15

Mike Stubbs/AM980

London Knights vs. Erie Otters — 7:30 p.m. — Budweiser Gardens, London, Ont.

Broadcast: 7:00 p.m. — AM980.ca and the Radioplayer app

The last time the London Knights and Erie Otters found themselves on the same ice, they were in overtime of Game 7 of the OHL Western Conference semi-finals in April.

Mitchell Stephens had scored with one minute remaining in regulation to send the teams to OT.

Erie outshot London 7-2 in the 10:40 that overtime lasted, but the Knights had two incredible opportunities to win the game.

The first saw Janne Kuokkanen zip right down the middle of the slot and get a shot away that Joseph Murdaca saved. Not long after that, Murdaca got caught out of his net and the Knights got two shots away. He stopped the first one, standing in the face-off circle to the left of the net. The second shot went wide. London was that close to a berth in the Western Conference finals against the Owen Sound Attack.

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However, the Otters’ Warren Foegele beat Knights’ goalie Tyler Parsons with a backhand and helped to propel Erie into the third round and eventually to an OHL championship in their fourth consecutive 50-win season.

READ MORE: Coome’s climb: London Knights’ defenceman on a new path

Outlook

The Otters have lost a great deal of offensive firepower. Foegele, Dylan Strome, Alex DeBrincat, Anthony Cirelli, Kyle Pettitt, Darren Raddysh and Erik Cernak have all moved on.

Erie will have a younger roster and will look to Kyle Maksimovich and Ivan Lodnia to make up for some of the lost scoring. Defensively, the Otters still have a steady and fairly experienced core with T.J. Fergus and Jordan Sambrook leading the way.

In goal, Troy Timpano is returning for his overage year and will be joined by an 18-year old from Kanata, named Anand Oberoi. He was a 12th-round pick of the Otters in 2015.

Mitchell Mendonca is trying out with the Otters. He is a former Belleville Bull who spent the pre-season with the Knights last year and played against the Otters twice.

The Knights

London has been off for 13 days following a home-and-home split with Sarnia to begin the pre-season. That kind of time was useful to teach systems to some of the young players, many of who will get a chance to show their skills to the coaching staff and management team over this final weekend of the pre-season.

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“The young players are going to be in situations that they might not be in if the older players were back, so you see how they react. Guys who react well allow you to know you have them in your back pocket if you need them.” — Knights’ assistant coach, Dylan Hunter

The Knights will complete the pre-season when they play the Erie Otters in Komoka on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7:00.

Here is a look at the players still on London’s roster heading into the weekend:

Goalies

1 – Jordan Kooy – Appeared in 11 games as a 16-year-old, going 8-2 with a .927 save percentage.

34 – Tyler Johnson – Posted a 3.25 GAA and .900 save percentage as Tyler Parsons’ backup last season.

Forwards

12 – Alex Turko – Eighth-round pick of the Knights in 2015. Played 10 games in London and 47 in St. Thomas in 2016-17.

18 – Liam Foudy – Knights’ first-round pick in 2016 earned more and more playing time as last year went on.

20 – Adrian Carbonara – Overage forward known for his size showed off plenty of skill a year ago. Attended Traverse City Rookie tournament with the New York Rangers.

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21 – Lucas Rowe – Knights’ first-round pick in 2017. Won the 2017 OHL Cup with the Mississauga Reps. Set up with GWG with nine seconds left.

26 – Josh Nelson – Got off to a flying start in training camp. Second-year forward possesses good speed and skill.

43 – Richard Whittaker – Put up good numbers with London Nationals last season. The puck seems to find him on the ice. Knights’ fourth rounder in 2016.

49 – Ian McKinnon – Whitby native played 17 games with Charlottetown of the QMJHL last year.

58 – Emmet Pierce – Huge winger (6’6″, 192 pounds) is just 16 and played for the Quinte Red Devils last year.

71 – Dalton Duhart – London’s third-round pick in 2017. Scored five goals in four games at the OHL Cup.

76 – Billy Moskal – GOJHL Western Conference Rookie of the Year. Was London’s second-round pick in 2016.

92 – Harrison Cottam – Lit up GOJHL Horsehoe with 62 points in 49 games. Free agent signing last December.

READ MORE: Alec Regula has joined the London Knights

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Defencemen

2 – Evan Bouchard – Entering his draft year as a late birthday. Lots of two-way skill.

6 – Riley Coome – Went from AA hockey two years ago to the GOJHL last year. Now trying to crack Knights.

24 – Andrew Perrott – Second-round pick of the Knights in 2017. Son of former OHLer and Leaf, Nathan Perrott.

44 – Ryan Bangs – London’s third rounder in 2016. Played for CCHL Champ Carleton Place Canadiens in ’16-17.

72 – Alec Regula – The Knights selected the Michigan native in the fourth round in 2016. He is 6’4 and very poised. Regula’s father, Chet, is the Detroit Lions’ team dentist.

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77 – Tim Fallowfield – Named to GOJHL’s West All-Rookie team last year while playing in St. Thomas.

Liam Robertson – Third-round selection of the Knights in 2016. Spent last year with Whitby Fury. Impressed in camp and has just signed Standard Player Agreement.

READ MORE: 11 Knights’ players head for NHL rookie camps and tournament

Players currently away at NHL camps

Cliff Pu – Buffalo – Led the Knights in scoring with 35 goals and 86 points in 2016-17.

Robert Thomas – St. Louis – Third in team scoring last year. Selected 20th overall by St. Louis in June NHL Draft.

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Sam Miletic- Pittsburgh – Led the Knights in goals a season ago with 37. Heading into overage year.

Max Jones – Anaheim – First-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks. He can play in the NHL or the OHL this year.

Alex Formenton – Ottawa – Speedy forward set for bigger role after being selected in second round by Ottawa.

Cole Tymkin – Dallas – Rainy River native, heading into second year, provides great grit and toughness.

Jesper Bratt – New Jersey – New Jersey Devils’ sixth rounder from Sweden has speed and a great shot.

Victor Mete – Montreal – Draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens will be the leader on the blue line this year.

Nic Mattinen – Toronto – Draft pick of the Maple Leafs entering third season. Big body with a big shot.

Jacob Golden – Minnesota – Brought along slowly last season, but showed enough to be drafted by the NHL’s Wild.

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