Two second period goals by Matthew Poitras and Matthew Papais helped the Guelph Storm to a 4-1 win over the London Knights on Saturday afternoon, closing out the schedules for both teams heading into the holiday break.
The victory allowed the Storm to jump ahead of the Knights by a single point in the Western Conference standings. London does have a game in hand.
Cooper Walker got the only goal of the opening period in the reduced-capacity Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ont. It brought down the Teddy Bears in the Storm’s Teddy Bear Toss.
Poitras popped the puck through the legs of Knights netminder Matt Onuska 2:29 into the middle frame to make it 2-0.
That goal brought a goaltending change for London as Owen Flores took over in the Knights’ net.
Luke Evangelista scored for London to cut the lead in half, as he toe-dragged his way to the slot in the Storm zone and snapped the puck behind Guelph goalie Owen Bennett.
The Storm got that goal back just 34 seconds later as Matthew Papais put a tricky backhand past Flores to give Guelph a 3-1 edge.
Papais nearly had another one shortly after that, but it was reviewed and disallowed when the play was ruled offside.
Papais set up the final goal of the game in the third period as he came into the London zone and held the puck until Braden Bowman came open. Papais fed Bowman and the Kitchener, Ont. native slammed a one-timer into the Knight net.
London pushed hard trying to tie the game in the third, outshooting the Storm 11-5. They even pulled their goalie for an extra attacker with 4:08 remaining, but could not find a way through the Guelph defence.
The Knights outshot the Storm 26-21. Neither power play was able to click as they combined for an 0-for-7 on the man advantage. London had three power plays on the afternoon. The Storm had four.
The Knights played the game without forwards Tonio Stranges and Abakar Kazbekov and defencemen Ethan MacKinnon and Connor Federkow, all out with injuries.
Read more: Brett Brochu heads to World Juniors, Knights captain Luke Evangelista not on final roster
Dave Lowry now head coach in Winnipeg
Former Knight Dave Lowry was famous for taking shots as he strode across opposing blue lines between 1982 and 1985 wearing green and gold in London, Ont. Now Lowry is calling the shots behind the WInnipeg Jets’ bench.
With the surprise resignation of Paul Maurice on December 17 Lowry was elevated to the top job in Winnipeg. He has been an assistant with the Jets both this season and last season.
Taking the position puts Lowry and his son Adam into a fairly exclusive club of father-son tandems on National Hockey League teams. A few other fathers have coached their sons in the NHL but the list is not long.
There are some combinations: Lester Patrick and his sons Lynn and Muzz as head coach and players. Bill Dineen coached his son Kevin with the Philadelphia Flyers. Boom Boom Geoffrion coached his son Dan with the Montreal Canadiens in 1979-80. Sid Abel was behind the bench in Detroit when his son Gerry in Detroit. Punch Imlach had the opportunity to coach his son Brent a couple of times with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Read more: London’s Maggie MacNeil golden again
Four OHL teams in COViD Protocol
The OHL heads into its holiday break with the activities of four teams suspended due to COViD-19 protocols. The Owen Sound Attack, Kingston Frontenacs, Flint Firebirds and Niagara IceDogs all have positive cases within their organizations.
The Sudbury Wolves were set to return to the ice on December 16 against the Barrie Colts and then play the Niagara IceDogs on December 17. Neither game happened.
The OHL announced that the Wolves and Colts would not be able to play due to COViD protocols but offered no other information. The IceDogs suspended team activities the day of their game against Sudbury. The Wolves shut down team activities on November 30 after 12 positive COViD-19 cases within their team.
Sudbury is not scheduled to play again until December 29. They have had seven games postponed that will all have to be made up at later dates.
The holidays have arrived for the London Knights. They will be off from December 19-29, when they are scheduled to travel to Sarnia to face the Sting for the first of back-to-back games against the Sting to close out 2021.
London and Sarnia are set to play the return engagement on December 31 at 4 pm at Budweiser Gardens. If that game happens as planned there are new restrictions to observe. Information can be found at www.londonknights.com and www.budweisergardens.com
Coverage of the game on December 29 is set to begin at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.