The London Knights knew that, eventually, they were going to have to get down to just three over-agers on their roster.
That’s the rule for any Canadian Hockey League team. It’s why the OHL, the WHL and the QMJHL are often called the best developmental hockey leagues in the world.
The Knights have been playing with four 20-year-old players since acquiring defenceman, Shane Collins on October 12.
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On Friday, London pared down to three by sending forward Adrian Carbonara to the Niagara Ice Dogs in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2020.
OHL teams can only dress three 20-year-olds per game and Carbonara had played in just four games since the Knights had to begin sitting one over-ager out.
The Ice Dogs had an open spot, which will give the Maple, Ont., native a chance to play more regularly in his last OHL season.
Carbonara came to the Knights from the Barrie Colts exactly one year ago, on November 17 for a pair of draft picks. He appeared in 54 regular season games with London, scoring 11 times and adding 19 assists.
He attended rookie camp with the New York Rangers this past fall and ended up being a roommate with former Knights’ teammate, Brandon Crawley.
The Ice Dogs are one of the OHL’s youngest teams and will benefit from the experience that Carbonara has had in London and in Barrie. The veteran has 36 games of playoff experience.
The Knights will host the Saginaw Spirit Friday night in the second of back-to-back home games. London is coming off a 7-4 victory over the Guelph Storm Thursday night and memories of their last meeting with the Spirit are very fresh.
The Spirit were in London two weeks ago and although the Knights staged a third-period comeback to force the game into overtime, Saginaw won it 19 seconds later on a goal by Detroit Red Wings’ prospect, Brady Gilmour.
That was the second time in two games against each other that London and Saginaw had made it to OT. Both teams have now won once.
You can hear the pre-game show and play-by-play on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app, beginning at 6:30.
London will visit Windsor on Sunday. Coverage for that game gets going at 1:30.
After a 1-8-1 start to the season, the Knights have picked up points in 8 of 10 games and currently sit just one point behind the Erie Otters for seventh place in the Western Conference and four back of the Guelph Storm for sixth as they climb back into the picture.