by Brandon Sudeyko (@intheoradio)
The London Knights have met their match this year. Which is something that may come as a shock to many. All season long the Knights have set the standard. They are the must beat for the title team. In a year they were to take a step back, the combination of Dale and Mark Hunter behind the bench, has made this team an OHL Championship favourite. When people ask how the West was won? The Answer should be, ‘a Plymouth Whalers domination’ or a ‘Sarnia Sting gun show’. But there may be a new answer. John Gibson.
The London Knights have been a powerhouse this season. There are 7 Knights who have 20 or more goals this season, 10 players with a +20 rating. The team scores on average 4.2 goals a game, and give up 2.7 a game. From their forwards who have skill and grit. To their defense which is big and tough. To the amazing mindboggling play of Michael Houser. How they did it this season? No one knows.
Heading into the final weekend of OHL regular season action, the Knights have 18 blemishes (17 losses & 1 Shootout Loss) on their record. Of those 18 losses, 14 goalies have defeated the Knights. Some will end the season perfect versus London. 3 of the goalies are from the Eastern Conference and the Knights will not get a chance to avenge that loss. Of the 11 other goalies to defeat London, the Knights have gotten their revenge on 10. But one goalie will go down as perfect against the Knights and having played multiple games against London. John Gibson.
Kitchener Rangers goaltender, and Anaheim Ducks prospect John Gibson is a perfect 4-0 versus London. In those 4 games, Gibson has a 2.25GAA a .950SV% and posted his First career OHL shutout versus London. The latest victory from this past weekend was one that showed a different side of John Gibson. Not only does John possess great athletic ability but he is very technically sound. Sunday evening Gibson defeated London using his technical ability and superior positioning to stonewall the Knights en route to a 1-0 victory. In previous meetings, Gibson had to rely on his athletic ability to ‘bail’ himself out when he was out of position. Even though Gibson has played below the standard he has set, Sunday evening showed the possible re-emergence of the goaltender many expected him to be.
Above I mentioned ‘how the West was won’ and the answer was John Gibson. In a perfect world, the OHL Western Conference Final would be between the London Knights and the Kitchener Rangers and it could possibly be the best matchup in the OHL playoffs. Which would then ask this question, ‘Can John Gibson continue to own the London Knights?’ A question that I desperately want answered.