OHL Preview: Knights Host Ice Dogs


The Niagara Ice Dogs travel to face the London Knights this evening, the second game in as many nights for both teams who come off a victory Thursday evening. Tonight’s game will be broadcast on NHL Network in the U.S. with puck drop at 7 p.m.

The Ice Dogs are 19-10-1-1 this season; their 40-point record attained in 31 games puts them at second place in the Central Division, just one point shy of the Barrie Colts. Meanwhile, the Knights have earned 50 points and a 24-5-0-2 record in 31 games this season, holding first place in the Midwest Division and first place in the OHL.

The Knights and IceDogs have the top two goals-for in the league, with 122 and 121 respectively.

London looks to continue an outstanding 16-game winning streak this evening, playing the team’s first game against Niagara this season. The IceDogs, meanwhile, are 6-3-0-1 in their last ten games.

Leading the way for London is right winger Seth Griffith, who has scored 20 goals and 31 assists for 51 points in 31 games. He leads the team in goals and points – also carrying third-best honors in the league in points – while center Max Domi’s 24 assists are best on the team. Just three Knights skaters do not have a plus-rating, and rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov leads the way with plus-25. Finally, left winger Matt Rupert’s 41 penalty minutes are the most on the team.

Center Ryan Strome leads the Niagara team in assists (40), points (62) and plus-minus (+35), with Brett Ritchie carrying the team lead in goals (25). Richie’s nine power-play goals are also best on the team. Strome is at the top of the OHL in points, while Ritchie and Strome are in the top three in goals league-wide.

London’s winning streak includes recent victories over Mississauga, Guelph, Barrie and Kitchener. They defeated Brampton Thursday evening, 4-3. Griffin and Rupert scored, with the other Knights tallies coming from Tyler Ferry and Josh Anderson. Goaltender Kevin Bailie allowed three goals on 24 shots faced in the win.

Niagara comes off of a 9-0 victory over the Ottawa 67s at home on Thursday evening, during which 15 of 17 Ice Dogs skaters had at least a point. Defenseman Broderick Kelly and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and assist in the win. Ondrej Kopta, Steven Shipley, Anthony DiFruscia, Trevor Peterson and Brett Ritchie each had a goal, and Ryan Strome scored twice, to lead Niagara to victory.

Goaltender Christopher Festarini stopped 27 shots for the shutout.

Tonight’s game is the first of a trio of home games for Knights; they’ll host Mississauga on Sunday afternoon and then host the Owen Sound Attack next Friday, December 14. The Ice Dogs return to action Thursday, hosting the Erie Otters before Sudbury comes to town December 15.