The London Knights returned to the ice for their first game in 21 days and defeated the Flint Firebirds 6-1 in London on Friday night.
Game postponements and COVID-19 protocols moved the first game of London’s 2022 schedule and a meeting involving the league and its teams was needed to decide whether or not to try to keep playing or pause the season for a period of time. The decision was made to continue and that allowed the Knights and Firebirds to meet.
It also allowed for the the season debuts of defencemen Kirill Steklov, who returned to London after beginning the year in Russia, and Logan Mailloux, who was reinstated by the OHL after being suspended for the first half of the season.
Camryn Baber made his Knights debut after being acquired from the Saginaw Spirit on New Year’s Eve.
Captain Luke Evangelista led the way offensively with two goals and two assists and was a plus-five on the night. Ruslan Gazizov scored twice and added an assist as well.
Steklov racked up three assists and showed flashes of his talent at both ends of the ice, even splitting the Flint defence on a rush that led to London’s first goal of the game.
Cody Morgan and Gerard Keane also scored for the Knights. Keane’s goal came short-handed in the third period.
Mailloux chipped in two assists and knocked the mask off the noggin in Cavallin with a hard shot in the third period. Cavallin was all right and remained in the game.
Every seat inside Budweiser Gardens was empty due to provincial restrictions but the teams pushed the pace of the game all night, combining for 30 shots in the opening period and creating chances at either end that kept Cavallin and Brett Brochu busy in their respective nets.
London outshot the Firebirds 44-28.
The Knights killed off seven Flint power plays in the game as well.
Onuska traded to Windsor
Trades between the Knights and Spitfires don’t happen very often, but one took place on Jan. 5 that sent London goaltender Matt Onuska to Windsor for a sixth round pick in 2022 and a conditional fourth round pick in 2024.
Onuska was a seventh round selection of the Kingston Frontenacs in 2018 and was acquired by the Knights from Kingston prior to the 2019-20 season. Onuska will back up Xavier Medina for the Spitfires.
The last trade between the two teams goes back to the 2015-16 season, when London traded Tyler Nother to Windsor.
Son of former Knight in overage deadline deal
Two trades were made right at the OHL’s overage trade deadline on Jan. 7 but only one involved overage players. One saw Brandon Guy, son of former Knight and Mustang, Mark Guy, sent from Sarnia to Guelph along with defenceman Ashton Reesor for forward Marko Sikic and a third round pick in 2022. Mark Guy played in London from 1988-91 and then for Western from 1991-96.
The other deal before the deadline saw the Sting acquire 2003-born defenceman Chandler Romeo from the Hamilton Bulldogs for a second and third-round pick. The non-overage trade deadline is Monday, Jan. 10 at 12 pm.
The Knights head for Kitchener to play the Rangers on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 4 pm. The game will mark the fourth meeting of the season between the teams. London has won the first three and have outscored Kitchener 16-5.
Kitchener’s last victory over the Knights came on Dec. 28, 2019.
Coverage will begin at 3:30 on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.