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Coming up: London Knights vs Kitchener Rangers Game 2

April 22, 2012

Going into the third round against the Kitchener Rangers, there were a number of factors that leveled the playing field.  People often say that playoff games are won on the intangibles. While the Knights won the overall league regular season, the Rangers won the season series between the two teams 4-2; on the strength of John Gibson’s goaltending. London’s high-powered offence has been sputtering of late and Gibson could limit those assets further. Finally, there is the rivalry. Neither team likes the other and given the chance to eliminate their high-profile neighbours might just give Rangers another edge.

Their first round series’ were short, with London sweeping the Windsor Spitfires and Kitchener beating the Owen Sound Attack 4-1.  Both teams met some adversity in the second round when a strong Saginaw Spirit team extended the Knights to 6 and the Rangers needed the full 7 games to eliminate the heavily favoured Plymouth Whalers. That emotional 7th game finale could have played a part in Kitchener’s opening game loss to London, but they won’t admit it.

In the opening game, the Knights plan was to show that Gibson wasn’t in their heads from the regular season.  They threw everything at him for a total of 48 shots on goal. As the game wore on, it did appear that London had a little more jump in their legs. The teams traded goals with Kitchener leading into each successive period and London coming back to tie it up on timely goals from an up-til-then quiet Max Domi.  Domi had had chances in the two earlier series’ but didn’t hit the back of the net til game one of the 3rd round. An overtime period favoured the well-rested Knights and versatile Tyler Ferry became the hero with a shot from the slot after a flurry from the Rangers.

A great opening for the Knights – breaking through the ‘Gibson’ blockade and getting young Domi on the scoreboard. With veteran Greg McKegg sidelined from an injury suffered in game 6 against Saginaw, the Knights’ young guns will have to step up.  Expect to see more of Domi, the Bo Horvat, Chris Tierney and Josh Anderson line and of course, Michael Houser – the Knights’ last and greatest line of defence.

On to game 2, where London expects to see a much different effort from the Rangers.

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