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Knights clinch first place in Midwest Division

The London Knights came into their 11th and final games against the Guelph Storm needing one point to clinch the Midwest Division.

They didn’t know at first but it would take just one goal in 59 minutes and 56.4 seconds to get that point.

London forward and Union, Ont., native Brody Crane batted home a Cody Morgan rebound with 53.6 seconds remaining in regulation time. He got in position in front of the Guelph net and made it 1-1.

The game ultimately went to a shootout that Guelph won, but no matter what happens over their final three games the Knights have secured the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs and first round opponent Kitchener, Sarnia or the Erie Otters as they fight it out for the final two post-season berths.

The game between the Knights and Storm was as tight as the score made it look.

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A goal by Brayden Guy at the 4:50 mark of the opening period on a Guelph power play held up through the rest of the first period, the entire second period and very nearly all of the third as London attempted to push through a stubborn Storm defence to create chances that were denied 29 times by Guelph goaltender Owen Bennett. He has saved some of his best work in net this year for games against the Knights.

Bennett made five more saves in a chance-filled overtime. Owen Flores made three stops in OT and 24 overall for London.

Luke Evangelista had 10 shots on goal for the Knights but came away without a point for just the ninth time in 2021-22.

Ruslan Gazizov scored in the shootout for London. Braeden Bowman and Valentin Zhugin picked up goals for the Storm.

When Brody Crane’s attempt in the third round rang off the post, Guelph celebrated a win that moved them two points ahead of the Owen Sound Attack for fifth place in the West.

The Knights Midwest Division title is their 11th in the past 18 Ontario Hockey League seasons.

Marner leads the way in 2022

If the National Hockey League season had begun on January 1 then former Knight Mitch Marner would lead the league in scoring. The Thornhill, Ont., native has recorded 69 points in 2022.

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Marner has 25 goals and 44 assists in that span of time. If you prorate that over an entire 82-game season it works out to a total of 146 points. No NHL player has recorded that many points in a single NHL season since 1995-96 when Mario Lemieux had 161 and Jaromir Jagr recorded 149.

Read more: Owen Sound spoils London Knights’ quest for perfection in season series with 5-4 win

Evangelista, Stranges and Brochu signing autographs

On Monday, Apr. 11 the Knights will be holding a player appearance at 5 p.m. at Masse’s No Frills at 925 Southdale Rd. W., in London, Ont.

Luke Evangelista, Tonio Stranges and Brett Brochu will be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans for the first time since the pandemic began. The Knights will also be selling playoff tickets and fans will have a chance to win a signed jersey from one of the players.

Read more: The six new members of the Don Brankley Hall of Fame

Up next

The Knights will host the Kitchener Rangers on Apr. 13 as they induct six new members into the Don Brankley Hall of Fame. Bill Long, Darryl Edestrand, Dave Simpson, Danny Syvret, Tom Kostopoulos and Pat Riggin will be enshrined prior to the drop of the puck.

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London and Kitchener will be playing their final game against each other in the regular season.

The Rangers will be looking to even the season series that has been divided completely in half. The Knights won the first five games and Kitchener has won the past four.

Coverage begins at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.

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