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London Knights blank Kitchener at Budweiser Gardens

Luke Evangelista had four points and Brett Brochu picked up his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 London Knights victory over the Kitchener Rangers on Saturday at Budweiser Gardens.

Evangelista had been held off the scoresheet for the first time this season by the Sarnia Sting a night earlier in a game that he called “unacceptable.” He made sure the outcome was different less than 24 hours later with two goals and two assists.

London poured 40 shots at Kitchener goalie Jackson Parsons after the Sting had held London to 14.

The Knight power play went 3-for-7 after being stymied by Sarnia.

If the goal was to change what happened from one game to the next, London can call it mission accomplished.

The Knights started quickly as they put two pucks into the Kitchener net in the first period, even though they came away with just a 1-0 lead.

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Denver Barkey raced in across the Ranger blue line and ripped a shot wide off the end boards. Barkey followed the puck, spun and sent a beautiful pass out front to London defenceman Ethan MacKinnon, who snapped home a shot that would have given him his first goal in the Ontario Hockey League. The play was reviewed and it was ruled just offside so the goal was disallowed.

That left the Knights and Kitchener scoreless until a London power play with five minutes to go in period one.

Evangelista glided in toward the Kitchener goal on a London man advantage and scored his 13th goal to make it 1-0 Knights.

Then the Oakville, Ont., native combined with Ruslan Gazizov to set up Colton Smith on another London power play in the second period. Two passes left Smith with a tap-in at the side of the Ranger net for his ninth goal of the year and the Knights went to the third period ahead by two goals.

London pounced early in the third period for its only even-strength goal of the game just 46 seconds into the third, as Evangelista got a puck to Barkey and he found Max McCue for McCue’s sixth goal of the year. Barkey now has seven points in his last seven games.

Evangelista finished the scoring on the day at 6:45 with his second power-play goal, which was nearly a carbon copy of his first, and the Knights moved back into sole possession of first place overall in the OHL standings.

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London is 12-3-1 through its first 16 games in 2021-22 and will get right back at it in Kitchener on Sunday afternoon.

Read more: Knights goaltender Brett Brochu back in the net intent on being even better

Teddy Bear Toss set for Dec. 4

The 20th Teddy Bear Toss in London Knights history will happen at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 at Budweiser Gardens as the Knights face Sarnia. All stuffed toys collected will be given to the Salvation Army to distribute throughout the community. London’s record for bears is 10,671 set in 2012 when Seth Griffith scored the Teddy Bear Toss goal.

The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League hold the major junior record of 29,935 bears. That was accomplished in 2019. The world record belongs to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League in December 2019, when they collected 45,650 bears and other stuffed animals.

Griffith playing great

The Edmonton Oilers are getting plenty of offence this season from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The pair is sitting comfortably 1-2 in National Hockey League scoring. Should the Oilers want to go looking for more points, they can glance at what is happening on the farm. Their farm team in Bakersfield, Calif., is being led in scoring by former Knight and Teddy Bear Toss goal scorer Seth Griffith. The Wallaceburg, Ont., native has 17 points in 13 games and has registered at least one point in every game he has played this season. Griffith is in the final year of a two-way contract with Edmonton. He has played 79 NHL games with Florida, Buffalo, Toronto and Boston.

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Read more: London Knights: Back in time — May 15 and 16

New Sea Dog scores short-handed

Londoner and former Knight Jacob Chantler scored his first goal in the QMJHL on Nov. 19 against the Val d’Or Foreurs. Chantler caught up to a loose puck while Saint John was short-handed and skated in on goal. He faked a shot and then deked across the crease and beat Phillipe Cloutier in the Val d’Or net as part of a 5-1 Sea Dogs victory. Chantler played for both the Knights and the London Nationals of the GOJHL before heading east. Saint John will host the 2022 Memorial Cup in June.

Read more: Russian forward Ruslan Gazizov has arrived

Up next

The rematch. The Knights and Rangers will meet at 2 p.m. Sunday in Kitchener.

London is 5-2 on the road this season. Kitchener has been struggling at home so far, with a below-.500 record of 4-5.

Coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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