Ask anyone around the London Knights organization and Luke Evangelista has been doing anything and everything that the team could ask for.
He kills penalties, he is excellent defensively, he works hard on and off the ice and his positive attitude is infectious.
Ask Evangelista and there was something missing: an Ontario Hockey League goal.
On Saturday, Evangelista changed that. The second-year forward scored his first career goal and then followed it up with two more for his first OHL hat trick and a 6-3 Knights win over the Kingston Frontenacs.
Connor McMichael and Evangelista billet together in London and it was McMichael who put the puck on Evangelista’s stick at 7:51 of the first period and Evangelista tapped it home for goal number one.
McMichael and Alec Regula combined to set up Evangelista’s second of the game to put the Knights ahead to stay very early on. Those goals erased a 1-0 Kingston lead. Dennis Golovatchev scored on the first shot of the game for the Frontenacs after he gobbled up a giveaway at the edge of the London crease.
Liam Foudy put the Knights up 3-1 early in the second period with his second goal in his second game back from injury as he scored on a Peter Forsberg-like move as he went speeding to the Kington net.
Nathan Dunkley made it 4-1 Knights with a deke of his own against his former team.
In the third period, the Frontenacs pulled to within a pair on a goal by Francesco Arcuri at 3:37 only to have Evangelista grab a puck and roof it for his third of the day and a 5-2 London lead.
Vitali Pinchuk and Connor McMichael exchanged goals before the end of the game.
Michael leads the Knights in scoring with 18 points on the season.
London outshot Kingston 40-19. Brett Brochu earned his fourth victory of the year in the Knight net.
When Connor McDavid reached 17 points in seven games this season, he joined names like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux as the only three players to accomplish the feat in the past 26 years. John Carlson of the Washington Capitals won’t get those same headlines but take a look at his stat line. The former London Knight has tied McDavid for the NHL scoring lead with his own 17-point output. Carlson did it this year through his first nine games which keeps him from being included in the elite trio of McDavid, Gretzky and Lemieux, however Carlson is a defenceman whose responsibilities extend far beyond putting up points.
If there is an early candidate for the Norris trophy, John Carlson would be it.
Making Team OHL
The Canada/Russia series has been happening since 2003 when it made its debut in London, Ont. It returns to London for the first time since then on November 11 for a game that will feature four London Knights and Londoner Ryan Suzuki. Knights goalie Jordan Kooy, forwards Liam Foudy and Connor McMichael and defenceman Ryan Merkley will join Suzuki to try to prove they belong on Canada’s World Junior team which will be coached by Dale Hunter. Mark Hunter is the General Manager of the team. Kooy will play in the game in London. The other four players will also play in the third game of the series in Kitchener on November 7.
On Team Canada’s Radar
Knights forward Max McCue and Londoner Brett Harrison will play for team Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge from November 2-9 in Swift Current, Sask., and Medicine Hat, Alta. The tournament is usually the first opportunity for players to represent Team Canada. McCue was one of London’s two 2nd round picks in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. Harrison selected in the first round of that same draft by the Oshawa Generals. The two players will play for either Team Canada Red, Team Canada Black or Team Canada White. The rosters will be announced in the next couple of weeks.
The toughest three days of the Knights’ 2019-20 schedule so far are about to arrive. London will be home to Saginaw on October 25 and then head to Erie the next day to play the Otters on Saturday, October 26. The Knights then race back home face the Niagara Ice Dogs on Sunday, October 27 at 2 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens. The weekend will feature three games in two and a half days on short rest. All part of major junior hockey.
Coverage of all three games can be heard on 980 CFPL, http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.
The pre-game show on October 25 will start at 6:30, live from Shoeless Joe’s on King Street.