Knights Eliminated From Memorial Cup

The London Knights Salute their fans before leaving the ice for the last time this year after a 7-2 loss to Guelph. - Photo by Tom Fraser

It went from a close 3-2 deficit to a 7-2 loss for the London Knights in a must win game against the Guelph Storm. The loss boots the host team out of the Memorial Cup without a win. The Storm had already secured a spot in the final before the game.

Every time the Knights looked like they were back in the game, Guelph had an answer. The Storm were carried by a hat-trick performance from Scott Kosmachuk. “It’s always good to knock a team in your own league out.” the Winnipeg Jets prospect told reporters.

London and Guelph got to know each other very well this season, Wednesday’s meeting was the twelfth between the two sides including a 5 game series in the playoffs, which the Storm also won. Ahead of the game Storm winger Brock McGinn said he was excited to have the chance to end London’s season twice in the same year. Kosmachuk echoed that saying eliminating their rival also rids the chance of having to see them in the final. “There’s history of teams like that coming back and beating the team with a bye in the final.”

The elimination leaves the host team unable to capture junior hockey’s holy grail for the third time in the last three years. “We won two OHL championships(in the last three years) but at the end of the day we didn’t accomplish our goal.” Knights Captain Chris Tierney said after the game.

After a pair of goals by hat-trick hero Kosmachuk, home town Londoner Brett Welychka made it a 2-1 game on the powerplay. That was followed in the second period by a bad bounce off the boards going off Knights goalie Anthony Stolarz and in. Stolarz was then pulled and replaced by Jake Patterson. A mad scramble later in the frame and Josh Anderson chips home a 3-2 goal that was short lived by a second Bertuzzi marker. “It’s tough when you keep climbing back but never get all the way there.” Captain Tierney said.

The Knights were unable to capitalize on a number of breaks, that lack of finishing this week will be looked back on by the team. Early on Storm Winger Zack Mitchell was kicked out for kneeing Dakota Mermis, London was unable to register a shot during four straight minutes on the powerplay.” Unfortunately the bounces weren’t going our way. It was kinda hard to get things going.” Bo Horvat said of a week where open net chances and goal mouth scrambles failed to result in a goal countless times. “The effort was there, just not in the goal scoring department.

Guelph put the game out of reach with three unanswered goals in the final period, including Kosmachuck’s third. With an undefeated record, the Storm can now continue to prepare for the Memorial Cup final on Sunday. They await the result of a semi-final Friday between Val d’Or and Edmonton.