Knights roll dice in OHL draft

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:33 PM ET

The Toronto Marlboroughs and York Simcoe Express provided the favourite sons in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League draft yesterday, but it's the London Knights who went for high risk and high reward.

While the aforementioned GTA clubs combined for seven players among the top 20 picks, London took a gamble that defenceman Scott Harrington can be swayed from attending a U.S. college, which long ago scared off his hometown Kingston Frontenacs from taking him second overall.

Harrington, who plays a strong two-way game, was eventually scooped 19th by the Knights.

"Sometimes, you roll the dice," general manager Mark Hunter told the London Free Press. "He's one of the top couple of players in the draft. We'll try to talk to him and see what happens."

As expected, Daniel Catenacci of the Express went first overall to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, with no qualms about playing in the last place and far-flung Soo.

"They've treated me like gold," Catenacci said of his pre-draft meetings in the Soo.

His father Maurice, who is also the York Simcoe coach, noted the last-place Hounds still packed their building, which helped with the family's decision not to balk at the destination.

The Newmarket-based Express carried its success into yesterday when the Kitchener Rangers took defenceman Ryan Murphy third overall after Kingston went with Plan B, 5-foot-10 centre Alan Quine.

Then came a wave of Marlboroughs, 53-goal left winger Lukas Lessio (seventh, Niagara Ice Dogs), Ryan Strome (eighth, Barrie Colts), Brett Ritchie (12th, Sarnia Sting) and 6-foot-1 defenceman Stuart Percy (15th, Mississauga St. Michael's).

"We were all at our homes following the draft on the Internet and at my place, we had a little party when I was picked," Percy said. "We can't wait to play against each other in the future. But it was a big day in the organization (13 Marlies went over 15 rounds) and the four of us know we wouldn't be here without our teammates."

Murphy had a whopping 65 assists in 73 games and in the opinion of OHL Central Scouting's Tim Cherry "almost floats on the ice like a Paul Coffey". The third York Simcoe selection of the day was 67-goal winger Barclay Goodrow, 17th to the Brampton Battalion.

With the fourth pick, the Oshawa Generals went for size with 6-foot-1 Boone Jenner and then the Sudbury Wolves went far afield to Notre Dame College in Saskatchewan with stay-at-home defenceman Justin Sefton, who qualified for the provincial draft because his primary residence remains Thunder Bay.

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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