Ryan Suzuki and Zachary Magwood each scored twice as the Barrie Colts doubled up the London Knights 8-4 on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.
The Colts broke out after back-to-back losses to Owen Sound and Sault Ste. Marie and moved into a tie with the Niagara Ice Dogs for the second seed in the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Eastern Conference.
Magwood also had two assists in the game, playing on a line with Jaden Peca that combined for nine points against the Knights in the game, which was London’s fifth consecutive game on home ice.
Evan Bouchard added to his lead atop the scoring race among OHL defencemen with two goals and an assist for the Knights. The Oakville native now leads Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm by five points. Both are eligible for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in June.
For the second straight game, London gave up the first goal and found themselves chasing. Like they did against the Storm on Sunday, the Knights got to within a goal, but could not find a way to tie the game against a Barrie team that was aggressive and opportunistic.
How the goals were scored
Londoner Ryan Suzuki admitted before the game that he was letting his father handle the ticket requests for his first OHL game in his hometown. He gave friends and family in attendance something to cheer about just 5:05 into the first period as he scored his 10th goal of the season to give Barrie a 1-0 lead.
The Knights tied the game only 35 seconds later as a Bouchard slapshot beat Kai Edmonds in the Colts’ net.
Before the end of the first 20 minutes, Barrie took their second lead as Aaron Luchuk knocked a rebound past Joseph Raaymakers to make it 2-1.
Zachary Magwood’s 20th and 21st goals of the season increased Barrie’s lead to 4-1 by the 9:59 mark of the second period. His second goal ended up going in off a skate in front of the London net.
Bouchard cut the Colts’ lead to 4-2 with a shorthanded goal at 12:16, set up by Liam Foudy. The goal gave Bouchard his 18th goal and 62 points as he continues to lead all OHL defencemen in scoring.
Just over two minutes after that, NHL draft prospect Andrei Svechnikov restored Barrie’s three-goal advantage. Svechnikov chipped the puck into the London crease, found it and wristed it into the net.
Once again the Knights cut the lead to a pair on Jacob Golden’s first OHL goal. He went to the net from the left point and converted a Sergey Popov pass to end the second period with Barrie ahead 5-3.
London got to within a goal to start the third period as Bouchard controlled a puck inside the Barrie blue-line, faked a shot to freeze a Colts defender and then slid a pass in front to Alex Formenton, who deked to his backhand and scored his 16th goal of the year to tighten the score at 5-4.
The Colts responded with goals from Ben Hawerchuk and then from Dmitry Sokolov on a power play to go ahead 7-4.
Suzuki finished the scoring with his second of the game as he corralled a puck that took a funny hop off the end boards on a dump-in to the London zone. Before Jordan Kooy had a chance to react, Suzuki snapped the puck behind him.
Neumann’s four points in 2:29
The Kingston Frontenacs jumped out to a 4-0 first period lead on the Oshawa Generals on Friday night. They scored four goals in two minutes and 29 seconds and former Erie Otter Brett Neumann was in on every one of them. Neumann scored once and added three assists and then didn’t hit the scoresheet the rest of the night as Kingston waltzed to a 7-1 win.
Miletic named OHL player of the month
Sam Miletic started the month of January with the London Knights and ended it with the Niagara Ice Dogs. Combined, Miletic totalled 25 points in 13 games and was named January’s Player of the Month in the OHL. Miletic’s month included a whole lot of something he became well-known for as a Knight: multi-point games. The Bloomfield Hills, Mich. native had two multi-point games with London and then five more once he got to Niagara following a deadline deal between the Knights and Ice Dogs.
Nic Hague of the Mississauga Steelheads was named Defenceman of the Month, Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts was Rookie of the Month and Mario Culina of the Kitchener Rangers was named Goaltender of the Month.
Deficits are still tough to make up
Go back before some of the rule changes that made speed and skill such a part of the game we see today and any lead was tough to overcome. Former London Knight Robbie Schremp once pointed out that it was tough to score when you have to go to the net with a 200-pound guy on your back. Now, the game is a whole lot more free flowing, but comebacks can still be difficult to pull off. Take the Knights and the Colts as examples. When London has a lead after the first period, they are 16-1-0-1. When leading after 40 minutes, the Knights are 18-0-0-1. The Colts have very similar numbers. When leading after 20 minutes, they are 19-4-1-1. Barrie is now 21-1-1-0 when leading after two periods.
The London Knights visit the Sarnia Sting on Saturday afternoon for their first meeting since the trade deadline. The Sting have won 10 of their last 11 games and sit in second place in the West Division. The pre-game show begins at 3 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.