Knights face challenging teams to hold Western Conference title
Brent Lale, CTV London
Published Tuesday, March 12, 2019 5:13PM EDT
The London Knights are about to find out if they are the 'Best in the West.'
"They are statement games," says forward Paul Cotter, "We're about to show our worth and how much we've improved."
Over the next four days (starting Wednesday in Guelph), they will try to protect their lead atop the Western Conference Standings.
They will play the Guelph Storm, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Saginaw Spirit who are the second, third and fourth seeds in the conference.
"It's a good task for us," says captain Evan Bouchard. "Playing the top three teams will get us into playoff mode, so it's good for us."
London currently holds a four-point lead on the Spirit for the number-one seed in the Western Conference. The Knights have three games left, while Saginaw has a game in hand.
The two will meet on the final day of the regular season Saturday. It's a tough test for the local boys, as they are just a combined three wins, eight losses against those teams this year.
According to Head Coach Dale Hunter, these are meaningful games .
"The standings are tight so we have to play well. This will get us ready for the playoffs."
It is yet to be determined whether London or Saginaw will finish as the top seed in the West.
The Knights first-round opponent is also undetermined at this point. The bottom of the conference is so congested it could be the Erie Otters, Windsor Spitfires or Sarnia Sting coming to Budweiser Gardens next week.
Typically at this point, Knights assistant coaches Rick Steadman and Dylan Hunter will have started breaking down video of their first round opponent, but not tihs year.
"We've started going through standings and to see what the schedule looks like," says Steadman. "Erie plays Tuesday and Wednesday, so we should have a better idea by Thursday."
Captain Evan Bouchard says it's hard not to look ahead to next week's post-season opener, but they have to remain focused on Guelph Wednesday night with points essential to remain ahead of the Spirit.
"We have to bear down and be ready for it," adds Bouchard.
The Knights held just a thirty-minute practice Tuesday morning at Western Fair District. The coaches took it easy as the club is in the middle of five games in eight days.