Another big game in Kitchener for Sean McGurn leads Knights over Rangers

London Knights forward Sean McGurn is from Ottawa, Ont., but he might want to consider some real estate in Kitchener.

Good things happen for McGurn when he makes the trip to “The Creative Capital of Canada.”

McGurn had two goals and two assists in a 6-2 London win on Teddy Bear toss night at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Dec. 7.

McGurn had a goal and four assists in his other visit this year and led the way offensively for the Knights in a game that saw Tonio Stranges score twice and Luke Evangelista picked up three assists, giving the London captain 40 points as he heads to Calgary for Team Canada’s final World Junior Selection Camp.

Stranges started the scoring as he stepped into the slot and snapped a shot past Jackson Parsons just over two minutes into the game to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.

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Carson Rehkopf of Kitchener converted a pass on a power play to bring down the Teddy Bears at 11:08 of the opening period and tie the game 1-1.

Minutes later, Rangers forward Mike Petizian sped down the right wing, cut to the net and ran into London goalie Brett Brochu who appeared to be shaken up for a couple of minutes but got back to his feet and stayed in the game.

Petizian was given a two-minute minor penalty on the play and on the ensuing power play, Knights rookie forward Denver Barkey slid a gorgeous pass across the ice to Cody Morgan and he slammed a one-timer past Jackson Parsons to put London in front 2-1 headed to the first intermission.

With Kitchener back on the power play in the second period, the puck went rolling down the ice toward the Ranger end and Luke Evangelista tore off after it. Parsons left his net and got to the puck first but it hit off Evangelista and went toward the right corner of the Kitchener zone, where Sean McGurn scooped it up and banked a shot off Parsons and into the Ranger net as Parsons scrambled to get back into his crease. That had London ahead 3-1.

With under two minutes remaining in the period, Knights defenceman Gerard Keane took a shot from the right point and Tye McSorley deflected it past Parsons for his first goal in a London uniform and the Knights led by three heading to the third period.

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London tacked on two more goals in the final 20 minutes.

McGurn deflected an Evangelista point shot into the Ranger net at 8:06 and then Tonio Stranges scored his second of the game.

Cameron Mercer scored a late goal for Kitchener to close out the scoring.

Tempers flared in the third period and boiled over in three fights during the same stoppage which will leave London without Landon Sim and Bryce Montgomery for the next two games. The Rangers will be without Simon Motew and Joseph Serpa for their next two games.

All four were given game misconducts for being involved in second fights in the same stoppage.

Knights head coach Dale Hunter elected to remove Brett Brochu from the London net for the final 7:32 of the game and left Evangelista on the bench to protect them from potential injury before going to Team Canada’s World Junior camp.

Kitchener outshot London 36-29, while the Knights owned the facoff dot, winning 37 of 57 draws.

London has outscored the Rangers 16-5 in three meetings this year.

Rolofs traded to Oshawa

For the second time in less than a week, the London Knights and the Oshawa Generals have combined on a trade. On Dec. 1, London acquired overage forward Tye McSorley from the Generals for a 10th round pick in 2023. On Dec. 7, the Knights sent forward Stuart Rolofs to Oshawa for a 3rd round pick in 2024 and a 6th round pick in 2025.

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Rolofs has recorded three goals and six assists for nine points in 46 games in a London uniform. He attended rookie camp with the Minnesota Wild in 2021. The move opens up more room for players like 16-year olds Denver Barkey and Easton Cowan who are both coming off impressive showings at the Capital City Challenge in Ottawa.

Barkey won gold with Team Black (and fellow Knight/St. Thomas Star Oliver Bonk) while Cowan won a silver with Team Red.

Marner to miss time

Former London Knights forward Mitch Marner is expected to miss three to four weeks with a shoulder injury. Marner collided with Woodstock, Ont., native Jake Muzzin in practice on Dec. 3. The injury was confirmed by Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe as the Maple Leafs prepared to meet the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 7.

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Kadri continuing hit start

If you ask a hockey fan to rattle off the current top scorers in the National Hockey League, they would spit out Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid as easily as saying good morning. Given the publicity Alexander Ovechkin is getting for his start to the season and his pursuit of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record for goals, they might even give you Ovi behind door number three.

But see how long it might take an NHL fan to guess who sits fourth in NHL scoring right now. Steven Stamkos? Auston Matthews? What about an off-the-board guess of Kirill Kaprizov with the Wild?

The answer is none of the above. Londoner and former London Knight and Kitchener Ranger Nazem Kadri is fourth with 10 goals and 21 assists for 31 points in 21 games with the Colorado Avalanche. Kadri is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and right now ranks as one of the most attractive names out there.

Two more Wolves games postponed

On Nov. 30, the Ontario Hockey League announced 12 positive COVID-19 cases among players on the Sudbury Wolves. That led to the postponement of a game between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie and two games between the Wolves and the Barrie Colts.

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On Dec. 7, the OHL announced that two more games featuring Sudbury and the Soo Greyhounds would have to be made up at later dates. The games were originally slated for Dec. 10 and Dec. 12. The Wolves have suspended all team activities as well.

Up next

London will play another double-homestand this weekend. London picked up a 4-1 win over the Erie Otters and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Sarnia Sting last Friday and Saturday and will now play host to Windsor on Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 pm and then Guelph on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m.

The Knights are 3-0 against the Spitfires so far this season but have an overtime loss and a regulation loss to show for two games with the Storm.

London will be without number one goalie Brett Brochu and captain Luke Evangelista along with Director of Security Bob Martin. All three will be taking part in Team Canada’s World Junior selection camp in Calgary, Alta.

Coverage of the Knights and Windsor will begin at 7 pm on Friday on 980 CFPL, at and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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