Knights mas­tery snapped

Kole Sher­wood helps Rangers end long los­ing streak to his for­mer team

The London Free Press - - SPORTS - MOR­RIS DALLA COSTA THE LON­DON FREE PRESS Com­plete game cov­er­age at lf­press.com

KITCH­ENER — It was go­ing to hap­pen even­tu­ally.

The Kitch­ener Rangers fi­nally got a go­rilla off their back, de­feat­ing the Knights 4-2 on Tues­day night to snap a 14-game On­tario Hockey League los­ing streak to Lon­don. It was the first Rangers win be­tween the ri­vals since Dec. 29, 2015.

The teams were tied 2-2 go­ing into the third pe­riod in a game that had it’s nasty el­e­ments. The win­ner came at 7:14 off the stick of Kole Sher­wood, the for­mer Knight’s sec­ond goal of the game. He wound up with a hat trick.

It was on a power play af­ter Knights Adrian Car­bonara took a trip­ping penalty. As he was go­ing to touch the puck he slapped it the length of the ice into the empty net and earned an un­sports­man­like penalty.

Sher­wood added an in­sur­ance goal late in the third.

It was a strug­gle for both teams at times. The Knights had trou­ble de­fend­ing in their own zone in the first pe­riod, com­ing out trail­ing 2-1. The sec­ond pe­riod the Rangers gave them a lot of help by not be­ing able to stay out of the penalty box.

De­spite the loss, you don’t need to watch the Knights play to know how much of a dif­fer­ence place they are in now than they were a month ago.

All you have to do is watch them off the ice — how loose they are, how they are hav­ing more fun and how much bet­ter suited they are to ac­cept what­ever hap­pens on the ice.

That’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween the team that came into the Kitch­ener Au­di­to­rium in Oc­to­ber strug­gling with an 1-8-1-0 start to the team that beat the Rangers for the 14th time in suc­ces­sion that night, is 6-1-1-0 over its last eight games prior to Tues­day.

“Once you lose eight or nine in a row it’s pretty hard to get out Rangers 4, Knights 2 Kitch­ener goals: Kole Sher­wood 3, Adam Liska,

Lon­don goals: Alex For­men­ton 2 Next: The Knights are home to Guelph on Thurs­day, 7 p.m. of,” Knights cen­tre Cliff Pu said. “Any­one who has been a part of a los­ing streak like that knows that ev­ery­thing seems to go the wrong way. Once you get that one win, ev­ery­one starts be­ing a lit­tle more loose.

“Once you get loose you have a lit­tle fun and just re­mem­ber to play your game and not worry too much about los­ing. You just fo­cus on your game and ev­ery­thing will take care of it­self. All the guys are hav­ing fun and hope­fully we can con­tinue to do that.”

Knights as­sis­tant coach Dy­lan Hunter said be­lief in what you are do­ing is com­pounded when you win.

“It’s such a game of con­fi­dence,” he said. “When you are los­ing, once you miss a cou­ple of op­por­tu­ni­ties you are grab­bing your stick a lit­tle tighter, not play­ing the right way. You have to be­lieve in the sys­tem. You tweak your sys­tem to­wards what makes your guys more suc­cess­ful; to see what they re­spond to. You are try­ing to stim­u­late them.”

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