Michael Simpson earned his fourth shutout of the season and Easton Cowan and Denver Barkey led the way offensively as the London Knights clinched first overall in the Ontario Hockey League with a 3-0 win over the Guelph Storm on March 24 at Budweiser Gardens.

Barkey and Cowan each had a goal and an assist. Kaleb Lawrence had a pair of assists for London.

Cowan’s first point extended his franchise-record point streak to 36 games.

Both teams came into the game knowing that one point had a great deal of meaning.

For the Storm, it meant a shorter trip geographically in the first round of the playoffs. Get a point and they would face their neighbours in Kitchener. Fail to get a point and they would be off to Sault. Ste. Marie.

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One point had even more meaning for London. After a Saginaw Spirit victory over the Soo Greyhounds earlier in the day the Knights needed a single point to clinch first overall.

The first period went by scoreless as both teams limited scoring chances as best they could.

Denver Barkey broke the ice just as a London power play ended and Barkey found a rebound to the right of the Guelph net and tucked it behind Damian Slavik who was playing his third game in three and a half days.

Later in the period Barkey set up Cowan with a gorgeous backhand pass and Cowan deposited his 34th goal of the year behind Slavik for a 2-0 advantage heading into the final 20 minutes. That play was started by two other top-notch passes from Isaiah George and then Kaleb Lawrence.

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Sam O’Reilly hit the 20-goal mark with an empty-netter with 2:42 remaining.

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The Knights outshot the Storm 27-19.

The power of the penalty kill

The Knights ended up tied for the most short-handed goals in a single season in OHL history. London scored their 28th of the year against Windsor on March 17. Both Easton Cowan and Denver Barkey had seven short-handed goals each.

Here is the list of most short-handed goals by an OHL team in one year:

29 – 2023-24 – London Knights
29 – 1989-90 – Niagara Falls
28 – 2015-16 – Barrie Colts
28 – 1995-96 – Detroit Whalers
27 – 2009-10 – Barrie Colts

Up next

The London Knights will begin the playoffs on Friday, March 29 at 7 p.m., at Budweiser Gardens.

London went 6-0 against the Attack this season. The first two games were each decided by a single goal. The Knights won the next two games in blowout fashion by a combined 18-2 and then snagged two more wins in Owen Sound to finish the season series between the clubs.

London won the season series between the teams 3-1. Flint won the very first meeting 7-4 and then the Knights came back with 5-3, 9-2 and 4-3 wins the rest of the way.

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Coverage will start at 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on Radioplayer Canada app.

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