John Gibson made 46 saves and Ben Thomson and Cody Sol each recorded a goal, but it was not enough as the London Knights defeated the Kitchener Rangers 4-2 on Wednesday night.. Seth Griffith scored twice for the Knights, while Olli Maatta recorded a goal and two assists. The Knights win the Western Conference Final series in four games and will compete for the J. Ross Robertson Trophy against the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship series.
The Knights won the series in four games and will compete for the J. Ross Robertson Trophy against the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship series.
The Knights opened the scoring late in the first period as Olli Maatta continued his scoring streak with a shorthanded goal. Vladislav Namestnikov carried the puck down the wing and passed it across to Maatta who lifted it over the pad of a sprawling John Gibson to record his fourth goal in three games. Tommy Hughes was also credited with an assist on the play, his second point of the series.
London led shots on goal 18-9 through the opening 20 minutes.
Two second-period power play goals put the Knights ahead 3-0. Less than three minutes into the frame, Ryan Rupert fired a shot high over the glove hand of Gibson to collect his fifth of the playoffs. His second goal in as many contests was assisted by Maatta and Seth Griffith.
Griffith would add one of his own on the man-advantage, banking a shot off a player in front of the Kitchener net and past the goaltender. Maatta recorded his third point of the night with an assist on Griffith’s seventh of the playoffs, giving him multiple points in three consecutive games. Namestnikov was also credited with a helper – his second of the contest.
The Knights continued to out-shoot the Rangers in the middle frame, holding an 18-7 advantage.
Kitchener ended Michael Houser’s shutout bid six minutes into the final period. Ryan Murphy pass found Ben Thomson near the face-off circle and he snapped a long shot past the glove of Houser. The goal was the veteran forward’s fifth of the playoffs.
The Rangers closed the gap to one goal with 5:42 remaining in the contest. Kitchener won a face-off to the right of the London net and Cody Sol was able to settle it and chip it into the top corner over Houser. His fourth of the postseason was assisted by Murphy, who extended his point streak to six games, and Josh Sterk.
That was as close as the Rangers would get, however, as Griffith found an empty net with 1:15 remaining to make the final score 4-2 in favour of the Knights.
London finished the third period with a 14-12 advantage in shots on goal and out-shot Kitchener 50-28 overall.
The Knights were awarded the Wayne Gretzky Trophy as the OHL Western Conference Champions after sweeping the series with the Rangers. They will advance to play the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship series between the Niagara IceDogs and the Ottawa 67’s.
1. LDN O. Maatta, (5) (V. Namestnikov, T. Hughes), 17:20 (SH)
2. LDN R. Rupert, (5) (O. Maatta, S. Griffith), 2:27 (PP)
2. LDN S. Griffith, (7) (O. Maatta, V. Namestnikov), 15:18 (PP)
3. KIT B. Thomson, (5) (R. Murphy), 5:51
3. KIT C. Sol, (4) (R. Murphy, J. Sterk), 14:18
3. LDN S. Griffith, (8) (unassisted), 18:45 (EN)
1. LDN – 17 Seth Griffith
2. LDN – 2 Olli Maatta
3. KIT – 4 Ben Fanelli