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Colts Can’t Handle Knights In 4-1 Loss

For the one and only time this season, the Colts traveled to London to take on the London Knights in a clash of two powerhouse squads in the OHL. The last time these two teams met, the Colts fell 6-3 in Barrie to the Knights. Both teams were a little light on their firepower, as the Colts were missing Mackenzie Blackwood and Julius Nattinen to the World Junior Championship, and the Knights were short Mitch Marner due to the same situation.

In Friday night’s battle, the top players were back in the lineup. The three top scorers in the league, featuring Colts’ Kevin Labanc, Knight’s Christian Dvorak and Mitch Marner, looked to lead the charge at the Budweiser Gardens. However, it would be similar to the previous meeting, with the Knights coming out on top. The Colts would fall 4-1, with Robert Thomas, Cliff Pu, Mitchell Marner and Olli Juolevi scoring for the Knights, while Justin Scott scored for the Colts. 

Nearly five minutes into the period, Cordell James had a chance for the Colts when he went on a 2 on 1 with Anthony Stefano. The Knights defenseman played the 2 on 1 well, forcing James to shoot, with his shot just sailing wide of the right post.

It would be the Knights who would strike first. Only eight minutes into the period, Robert Thomas would net his third goal of the season after he found the rebound in the slot and buried his 15th point on the season. Olli Juolevi and Chad Heffernan were credit with the assists.

The Colts would get their best chance of the period while on the penalty kill. After the Blackwood came up with some big saves, Mangiapane was sprung down the ice after Sadowy flipped the puck high down the ice. After Knights goalie, Tyler Parsons couldn’t control the puck, Mangiapane nearly buried a shorthanded tally. Mangiapane grabbed the loose puck, made a fake and went to his backhand, but Parsons slid just in time, making the biggest save of the Knights power play.

With less than three minutes to play in the first period, Dylan Sadowy and Justin Scott went out on a 2 on 1. After Sadowy fed Scott, Scott returned the pass but Sadowy wasn’t able to get his stick down in time. With the Colts missed opportunity, the Knights took advantage and transitioned the play to the other end. After a tough battle in the corner, Daniel Bernhardt got the puck to Pu from behind the net and Pu redirected the puck along the ice past Blackwood. Pu’s goal was his 10th of the season, giving the Knights a 2-0 lead through the first 20 minutes. The Knights outshot the Colts 13 to 9 in the first frame.

The second period would see plenty of back and forth action, but only one goal. The lone goal of the second period would come from the Knights. Mitch Marner would snipe top shelf for his 35th goal of the season. Matthew Tkachuk battled in the corner before getting the puck to Christian Dvorak. Dvorak in turn fed Marner in the slot, and Marner made a nifty toe-drag to give the Knights a 3-0 lead.

In the last minute of the second, Cliff Pu had a burst of speed into the Colts zone. Coming all the way from his own blue line, Pu sped down to the other end and got inside position before firing a shot on Blackwood. Blackwood came up with one of his 16 saves of the period to shut the door on Pu.

Then back the other way, the Colts nearly had a chance of their own when Roy Radke centred the puck to Sadowy. A Knights defenseman had the puck hit his skates, but Justin Scott was trailing the play looking for the rebound. Scott couldn’t get enough on the shot for a solid chance, and the Colts were only able to get 8 shots on net in the second period.

The third period would start with the Colts netting their first and only goal fo the game. Justin Scott scored his 20th goal of the season only two minutes into the third period. Josh Carrick fired a shot on net, and Scott cradled the puck in the slot before firing it home to make it 3-1. Adrian Carbonara would also assist on the goal. 

However, it would only take the Knights 49 seconds to net another goal to regain their three-goal lead. Seven seconds into their man advantage, Christian Dvorak won the draw and Matthew Tkachuk got the puck to Olli Juolevi on the point. Juolevi fired a shot on net through traffic and had Blackwood looking the opposite way. Juolevi would make it 4-1 for the Knights with his 6th goal of the season. 

The Colts wouldn’t be able to capitalize on the remainder of their chances and would fall to the Knights for their 18th loss of the season. The Colts held the Knights to going 1 for 6 on their power play opportunities, while the Colts weren’t able to make good on their two power play chances. Final shots on goal were 37 to 32 in favour of the Knights.

Saturday, February 20th, the Colts are back in action as they return to the BMC to take on the Oshawa Generals. For tickets to the game, visit the BMC Box Office or online at www.ticketbreak.com.

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