London Knights (7-2-0) vs. Barrie Colts (7-4-0)
Tonight, 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre
THE MATCHUP: The Colts and Knights only play twice. Last year Barrie lost 6-5 in a shootout in London after Colts forward Darren Archibald forced overtime with three goals in the third. The Colts won 3-2 in overtime in Barrie.
WHO TO WATCH: One of the Colts big stars is Alexander Burmistrov, the 12th player taken in the CHL import draft. For the Knights, watch for the new power play and the hope that it works. The Knights might get a few chances to use it since the Colts are third in the league in penalty-minute average, followed closely by London.
NET WARS: Michael Hutchinson will start in goal for the Knights against the team that traded him to London in the summer. Hutchinson has been terrific and would like nothing better than to come up big against the Colts, who opted to keep 18-year-old Peter (Mad Dog) Di Salvo. In nine games, Di Salvo has five wins, a 3.52 goals-against average and .894 save percentage. Hutchinson, in six games, has four wins, a 2.64 goals-against and .922 save percentage.
URGENT CARE: The Knights are still missing defenceman Scott Harrington with a broken wrist. The Colts injury list is staggering. Overage forward Luke Pither, one of the Colts top point-getters, is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Bryan Cameron, who the Colts obtained early in the season in a trade, has been out two weeks and will miss another two weeks. Londoner Stephen Gaskin is hurt and won't dress, while defenceman Ryan Gottschalk will be out another two weeks.
HOMETOWN CONNECTION: There are several ex-Knights and Londoners off to good starts in the OHL. The most surprising may be Tony DeHart of the Oshawa Generals. DeHart was traded to the Generals and is 11th in league scoring with 16 points. Eighth in scoring is Londoner Jordan Skellett with 17 points for Saginaw. Sitting 14th is another General, first-round pick Christian Thomas, while Kitchener Rangers Chris MacKinnon, another ex-Knight, is 15th.
LEADERS: While the Knights goaltending Michaels -- Hutchinson and Houser -- are near the top of every goaltender category, the Knights lack of scoring means there are a lack of them at the top of offensive categories. Matt Ashman is 10th with a plus-7 in the plus-minus category. Zac Rinaldo, with 38, is second in penalty minutes, three behind Mike Halmo of Owen Sound, who has played three more games.
DUCATS AVAILABLE: Tickets are still available for both weekend games, especially Sunday's 2 p.m. matchup with Kingston. TSN hockey commentator and columnist Bob McKenzie will be at the game Sunday signing copies of his book, Hockey Dad, True Confessions of a (Crazy?) Hockey Parent.