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Knights Night: Knights fighting for home ice in playoffs


Credit: ANDREW STEPHENSON OF SHAKE MEDIA AND THE LONDON KNIGHTS

The London Knights only have a few games left of their regular season before playoffs and thought it may be difficult, they still have a chance to outdo themselves.


Colin Gallant | Interrobang | Sports | March 5th, 2018



With less than a month to go in the regular Ontario Hockey League (OHL) season, the London Knights have officially clinched a spot in the 2017-18 playoffs.

But they find themselves in an interesting position.

There's almost no chance they're going to pass any of Sault Ste. Marie, Kitchener or Sarnia in the West.

Instead, they're fighting with the Owen Sound Attack for the fourth position and home ice advantage in the first round.

As of Feb. 26, the Knights have nine games to play before the post-season.

Only three of those games are at home and there are a few extremely tough matchups in there.

The Knights play in both Sault Ste. Marie and Kingston before the season is done and they host Sarnia as well.

There are a few matches against bottom teams as well, so one could assume the Knights could realistically finish 6-3 in the last nine.

With fifth-place Saginaw Spirit six points back with the same amount of games played, it's unlikely that the Spirit will pass London.

On the other hand, Owen Sound is a point ahead of London, and they're 8-2 in the past ten.

It's going to take a great final stretch in order to pass the Attack, and it looks like it will be London and Owen Sound in the first round regardless.

Unless the Kitchener Rangers (80 points) were to have an atrocious final nine, it's going to be the Attack and the Knights in round one.

But whether game one will be at Budweiser Gardens, or at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound is still up in the air.

In their last nine, the Attack have four home games, and some really tough matchups.

They face Sarnia twice, Windsor, and, like the Knights, the first place Greyhounds.

In the six matchups between the Knights and Attack this season, London is 4-1-1, which is promising.

They've also scored 22 goals in that stretch.

But, as we all know, the playoffs are a totally different story.

Last season, the Knights had home ice advantage against the eventual Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires in round one.

And it took them the full seven games to get the job done. The seventh was at Bud Gardens.

In the second round, they lost to eventual OHL Champion Erie Otters in, you guessed it, seven games. That one was in Erie.

Home ice advantage in the playoffs is important and London needs to fight for it in the first round.

With only one point separating London and Owen Sound, home ice advantage will come down to whoever plays best in the last three weeks of the season.

But make no mistake: it could be the fan advantage that determines who goes onto round two and who packs their bags.
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